Resilience Engineering, Safety, and Implications for Pediatric Care

  • Christopher NemethEmail author
Patient Safety (M Scanlon, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Patient Safety


Purpose of review

Resilience is a concept that has become popular recently that evolved from studies of the natural environment and is used to refer to many different applications, from individuals, to communities, to systems. Resilience engineering (RE) has been developed to better understand system performance in high-risk sectors including healthcare and to use that understanding to develop promote safer operations by improving an organization’s ability to adapt. This paper describes resilience, the practice of resilience engineering (RE), and their role in pediatric care.

Recent findings

Work by Wears, Perry, Cook, Woods, Hollnagel, Fairbanks, and colleagues show the scale and scope of effort needed to understand and cultivate ways to adapt care in order to meet demand, particularly when confronted with unforeseen challenges. A case study of a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) bed management and another of PICU between-shift hand-offs provide examples of how the RE approach can be used to develop an understanding of current and potential ability to adapt pediatric care that is grounded in data.


Pediatric care can benefit from the RE approach, particularly through rigorous study of actual care settings.


Resilience Resilience engineering Safety Research methods Intensive care 



The author is grateful to Erik Hollnagel, PhD, Richard Cook, MD, David Woods, PhD, and Robert Wears, MD for their insights and inspiration.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Christopher Nemeth declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Applied Research Associates, Inc.AlexandriaUSA

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