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Career advice

Removing the obstacles to caring with compassion has reaped rewards

Support your colleagues and they will support you was just one of the lessons learned by the nurses involved in this fascinating project.

Can you measure and teach compassion? The publication of Compassion in Practice, the chief nursing officer for England’s vision for nursing and midwifery staff, prompted a group of colleagues to try – and based on our results, I would say that you can.

In 2013, we adapted a staff survey for nurses, healthcare assistants (HCAs) and midwives at Whittington Health, an integrated NHS care provider in north London, to ask what they thought compassion was, and how it was practised. Most descriptions and examples given suggested staff thought that compassion was emotionally intelligent communication, driven by a motivation to help the patient.

Some thought you should be equally compassionate to all patients all of the time, whereas others thought it was about noticing when a patient was in acute distress and responding accordingly.

Picture credit: iStock

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