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What tensions exist between professional nursing ideals and the reality of clinical practice?

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5 key points

  1. Research shows compassion, empathy, dignity and respect to be core nursing values
  2. Compassionate care results from the interaction between nurses and the organisational and social contexts of nursing
  3. Organisational culture, policy and politics can exert a damaging influence on caring values
  4. The founding ideals of the NHS have radically changed, with compassion not part of competitive markets
  5. Compassion deficit is more likely to be due to political ideology driving health policy than shortcomings in nurses’ caring values



Let’s discuss

  • What tensions exist between professional nursing ideals and the reality of clinical practice?
  • Why does failure to provide compassionate care occur?  Why do the authors of this paper blame government health policy and NHS organisational culture rather than any shortcomings of nurses or nursing practice?
  • What tensions arise between nurses seeking to deliver compassionate care and the culture of evidence-based practice in the NHS?
  • It has been suggested that the socialisation of nurses in the “real world” of care delivery creates a tension between practitioners values and the environment in which they work. Give examples of how this happens in practice?
  • How can nurses celebrate good practice?



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