Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Mary-Anne Andrusyszyn

2nd Supervisor

Carroll Iwasiw

Joint Supervisor


The purpose of this study was to explore nursing students’ understanding and enactment of resilience. Stress is considered to be a major factor affecting the health, well-being, and academic performance of nursing students. Resilience has been extensively researched as a process that allows individuals to successfully adapt to adversity and develop positive outcomes as a result. However, relatively little is known about the resilience of nursing students. A constructivist grounded theory study design was used. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with 38 nursing students enrolled in a four-year, integrated baccalaureate nursing degree program at a university in Ontario, Canada. Face-to-face interviews were conducted from January to April 2012. The basic social process of pushing through emerged as nursing students’ understanding and enactment of resilience. Participants employed this process to withstand challenges in their academic lives. This process was comprised of three main phases: stepping into, staying the course, and acknowledging. Pushing through also included a transient disengaging process in which students were temporarily unable to push through their adversities. The process of pushing through was based on a progressive trajectory, which implied that nursing students enacted the process in order to make progress in their academic lives and to attain goals. Study findings provide important evidence for understanding the phenomenon of resilience as a dynamic, contextual process that can be learned and developed, rather than a static trait or personality characteristic.

Included in

Nursing Commons