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Resilience From a Stakeholder Perspective: The Role of Next of Kin in Cancer Care

Inger Johanne Bergerød
Det helsevitenskapelige fakultet, Universitetet i Stavanger

Geir Sverre Braut
Helse Stavanger HF, Stavanger universitetssjukehus

Siri Wiig
Det helsevitenskapelige fakultet, Universitetet i Stavanger



The aim of this article was to provide new knowledge on how next of kin are co-creators of resilient performance, as seen from the viewpoint of the healthcare personnel and managers. The following research question guided the study: How are next of kin involved in shaping resilience within cancer care in hospitals?


The design of the study is a case study of cancer departments in two Norwegian hospitals. Data collection included a total of 32 qualitative semistructured interviews at two organizational levels (managers and staff). The data were analyzed by ways of a directed content analysis according to Hollnagel's Resilience in Health Care framework of resilience potentials (anticipate, monitor, respond, learn).


Next of kin are involved in creating and maintaining resilience in cancer care by different kind of activities and in-depth insight into the patient's condition, which strengthen all resilience potentials of responding, anticipation, monitoring, and learning. We have identified nine areas in which next of kin are co-creators in shaping resilience. Next of kin are important stakeholders, both as safety experts and as safety resources, helping healthcare professionals provide quality and safety in the patient care process under difficult conditions. Next of kin's knowledge of the patient's history, their observation of the patient over time within the hospital, at home, and across care transitions are key elements of their contribution.


Next of kin complement healthcare professionals in all four potentials for resilient performance. The study suggests that the Resilience in Health Care framework takes into account the role of next of kin, as a stakeholder potential, because this has not previously been sufficiently considered.

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