Reflective accounts


A CPD article improved Rose Gallacher’s understanding of mindfulness and self-compassion and how they can enhance compassionate care.

A CPD article improved Rose Gallacher’s understanding of mindfulness and self-compassion and how they can enhance compassionate care

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What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article explored how mindfulness and self-compassion can enhance nurses’ ability to provide compassionate care. It emphasised that nurses should be aware of the relationship between caring for others and caring for themselves to enable them to support patients effectively.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

Reading the article improved my understanding of mindfulness, self-compassion and compassionate care. 

The article defined mindfulness as a non-judgemental awareness of the present moment, and suggested that it can instil a sense of inner peace, calmness and mental space. I learned that engaging in mindfulness can also protect nurses from stress and burnout, improve their resilience and enhance patient care.

The article discussed the link between mindfulness and self-compassion, and outlined five pathways for developing self-compassion: physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual.

I learned that physical methods of developing self-compassion include relaxation, exercise and eating nutritious food, while examples of mental methods include meditation, visualisation and kind self-talk. Emotional methods might involve ‘befriending one’s feelings’ by developing acceptance of them; relational methods might involve connecting with others by practising generosity and deepening friendships; and spiritual methods focus on nourishing the spirit, for example through spending time in nature or with loved ones.

How did you change or improve your practice?

I will ensure I incorporate mindfulness and self-compassion in my daily practice, using the ways to develop mindfulness that were outlined in the article. For example, if I am faced with a challenging situation, mindfulness has enabled me to change my perspective by taking a step back and observing the experience, recognising what is important and letting go
of what is not important. 

I intend to undertake mindfulness training to support my mental health, with the aim of improving the care I provide to patients in the future. I look forward to engaging in mindfulness practices and becoming a more mindful nurse who interacts and connects with others, and cares for them without feeling overwhelmed. 

How is this relevant to the Code? Select one or more themes: Prioritise people, Practise effectively, Preserve safety, Promote professionalism and trust

The Code states that nurses must promote professionalism and trust by maintaining the level of health necessary to undertake their professional role. The article emphasised that using mindfulness techniques can enable nurses to achieve this, as well as improving their mental health and increasing their emotional competence. 

Mindfulness can assist nurses to improve the care they provide, ensuring that everyone is treated with kindness and compassion – including themselves.

Rose Gallacher is a staff nurse at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow

This reflective account is based on NS877 Barratt C (2017) Exploring how mindfulness and self-compassion can enhance compassionate care. Nursing Standard. 31, 21, 55-62. 

Write your own reflective account

You can gain a certificate of learning by reading a Nursing Standard CPD article and writing a reflective account. To write a reflective account for Nursing Standard, use the NMC reflective accounts form. Complete the four questions about a CPD article you have read, writing about 700 words in total.

The authors of reflective accounts that are published in Nursing Standard receive a £50 book token. Details of how to submit your reflective account for publication are available here.

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