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‘Compassion cards’ given to nurses who go extra mile


A drive by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust to acknowledge and encourage compassion in delivering patient care has been recognised with a nomination for a national award.

Earlier this year, the trust launched “compassion cards”. They are awarded to those nurses who are nominated by colleagues or the public for displaying particular kindness and empathy and routinely going the extra mile for their patients.

“Compassion is probably one of the hardest things to measure in healthcare”

Julie Tunney

This scheme was the brainchild Julie Tunney, deputy chief nurse at the trust. She and the trust have been nominated for the Kate Granger Award for Compassionate Care, which is in its second year.

Ms Tunney said: “Compassion is probably one of the hardest things to measure in healthcare, so at the trust we decided to launch compassion cards as a way of marking what is such an important part of nursing.

“These are awarded to our nursing staff as recognition of behaviours such as being kind, going the extra mile and treating patients how you would wish to be treated yourself,” she said.

“We have organised celebration events twice a year to award our nursing staff with compassion cards and to date we have awarded 30 cards to staff who have displayed these qualities of excellence in care,” she added.

The trust’s chief executive, Andrew Foster, highlighted the example of a ward nurses at Good Hope Hospital who had received a compassion card. She arranged for a terminally ill patient to receive her MBE from the Lord Lieutenant of Birmingham in front of friends and family, as she was too ill to travel to Buckingham Palace.

“This was the very definition of ‘going the extra mile’ and was so appreciated by the patient and her family,” he said.

The awards, started in 2014 by chief nursing officer for England Jane Cummings, will be presented at the Health and Innovation Expo 2015 in Manchester next month.

They are named after Kate Granger, the terminally ill doctor who has worked tirelessly to raise awareness around compassion in the NHS through her #hellomynameis social media campaign.


Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

Heart of England deputy chief nurse Julie Tunney



Readers' comments (8)

  • Compassion - a virtue combining concepts such as sympathy, empathy, fellow feeling, benevolence, care, love, and sometimes pity and mercy. A deep awareness of the suffering of another accompanied by the wish to relieve it. Does that not define nursing? While I applaud the initiative, is not compassion something nurses should be showing daily?

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  • Anonymous 11-26

    I agree with your definition of compassion. It defines the role of a Nurse.
    We all need some recognition of a job well done but a compassion card makes me feel uncomfortable it could be divisive.
    A celebration twice yearly for all the staff to highlight the work done is this not enough.

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  • I actually find this concept rather offensive.
    As a nurse, I treat all of my patients as I would like to be treated. Another pathetic gimmick!

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  • Is there any money in it?

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  • Agreed 10:31 am.. A gimmick and and insult

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  • Pussy

    Before we know where we are we will have to go that wretched extra mile!! I have never heard such nonsense.

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  • Ah, thank goodness, I thought I was the only one to feel rather repulsed by this. I'm all for encouragement and recognition, such as regular thanks and as suggested here, regular celebrations but I really find this idea offensive. I provide compassionate care in everything that I do, I don't even have to think about it, I just do. This is wrong on so many levels.

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  • Agreed with the comments above. Compassion is a given otherwise people should go and do a different job. Some nurses should be singled out from others and given a compassion card. they should be focusing on the more important aspects of their jobs - there is plenty to be done.

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