Reviews

Compassion: The Essence of Palliative and End-of-Life Care

Given recent media reports of uncaring nursing practices, the subject of compassion has become more important than ever

Given recent media reports of uncaring nursing practices, the subject of compassion has become more important than ever.

The editor of this book does not attempt to define compassion so much as describe compassionate practices from the perspectives of individuals and organisations.

Each chapter is written by a palliative care specialist and describes a range of individual cases. I identified with some writers more than others, but the range of authors gives you an insight into compassionate practice from other health professionals’ viewpoints.

A fascinating chapter on ‘sustainable compassion’, for example, describes how and why some people lack compassion and empathy when they are working with colleagues in palliative care.

Overall, the book gives an excellent and thoughtful overview on the subject, but readers with limited time can dip into specific chapters. It does not offer a formula to compassionate practice, but it does give readers much to reflect on for their own practice.

I recommend nurses buy this book for their own use, but it would also be a valuable resource for any workplace library and an essential read for anyone involved in supervision. It would be particularly useful for nurses working in specialist or generalist palliative care.

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