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Trust launches compassion principles to guide care


Nurses at a trust in Norfolk have agreed 12 core principles to guide their nursing practice and stress a focus on compassion.

The principles will be posted on walls in all wards across the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn Trust, every nurse will be given a copy and they will be used when recruiting new staff.

The principles are part of a three year plan for developing and running the trust’s nursing and midwifery services.

Associate chief nurse Val Newton told Nursing Times the principles were drawn up after consulting nurses across the trust, from staff nurses to the chief nurse.

They include meeting the individual needs of patients, developing effective leadership, and respecting privacy and dignity. Ms Newton said they emphasised compassion.

She said: “It’s important that patients feel sure nurses are skilled, but also that they have compassion.

“As nursing becomes more academic, it’s important that nurses and patients know that kindness and compassion is the starting point for nursing.”

The principles were launched this month during a visit to the trust by chief nursing officer for England Dame Christine Beasley.

The final report of the Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery, published in March, recommended that all nurses should make a six point pledge to provide high quality compassionate care.

The 12 principles

The 12 principles – now posted visibly on all of the hospital’s wards - pledge high standards of patient-focused care on:

• giving patients a ‘positive’ experience

• having a highly skilled workforce

• respecting privacy and dignity

• providing safer care to young people

• using clinical audit to evaluate the quality of patient care

• working in partnership across the health/social/voluntary community

• attracting high caliber NHS recruits

• reducing health inequalities

• putting patient safety first

• meeting the individual needs of patients

• developing effective leadership

• developing a ‘woman-centred’ maternity service delivering the highest standards of mother and baby care.


Readers' comments (10)

  • Phil Dup


    More paperwork generation from the school of the totally pointless - compassion is something most people have inherently - thats how society ticks along daily without breaking down into lawless violence and anarchy.
    Most of us in this job have compassion - lets face it we dont do it for the glamour and status !

    How many Committee meetings of the Clipboard Carrying Brigade did it take to come up with this load of toss ?

    Maybe the money spent on all this could employ a hands on front line Nurse for a few weeks to help out on criminally understaffed wards where its hard to appear compassionate when one is physically running between patients to try and sort out six or seven commodes / bedpans all at the same time !

    Yet another 'initiative' from some damned ' CV decorating ' senior nursing types who cant wait to wear civvy clothes and get their own office. Grrrr.......

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  • Once upon a time I thought that everyone surely knew I was a compassionate, caring, gentle person because I had chosen to be by someone's side when they were at their worst. Not so. I find that we have to announce it to the world every chance we get.
    My hypothesis is that there are so many narcissists and sociopaths in the world, many humans have become too suspicious and guarded. They won't just trust you because you are in uniform.
    I also think standardization is great. What are the definitions of love, empathy, sympathy, and kindness? How do we tell the new generations what we have been all about?

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  • Peter Goble

    Alice, I'm sure someone will do an extensive literature review of definitions of love, empathy etc and get an MA, we may even see it published here for further comment in six months time.

    As Phil comments, it is indeed a load of demeaning twaddle, and it only serves to make Joe and Jill Public more cynical than they already are about the rampant corporatism and spin extant in the NHS.

    Ah, the sublime beauty of standardisation! If I were Victor Hugo, I would be dreaming about standardising the length of drop of the guillotine, and the number of corporate heads that would fill a basket!

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  • I can not believe that these people actually think that the public will be reassured or convinced by these words of wisdom!! that they will receive better care, it is also demeaning to nurses just what have we been doing ????????????????????????? it will only cause more distress to the profession as a whole i beleive that i am a compassionate nurse
    what really makes me sick is the amount of money these idiots probably spent on this spin, putting notices on walls,(im sure that will reassure the public it wouldnt reassure me ) its actual doing that counts, teaching, showing by example are these people going to come on wards and into service areas, i dont think so,
    no wonder morale is at rock bottom when you get managers, spin doctors with nothing better to do that waste money, they need to come into the real world and realise that the general public and that includes us all as service users are not as stupid as them !!!!!!!!!!

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  • Peter well said i would love to help you work out the maths on that one and the size of the basket LOL
    only its not really funny is it

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  • Yet more paperwork, when do we get time to actually care for the patients?

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  • I feel I am increasingly on a different planet to these people. Just because I have filled in a piece of paper does not mean I have done something/am compassionate. In fact the more pieces of paper I have to fill in, the less time I have available to fulfill my patients' individual needs. Come to that, if all patients are individuals, with individual needs, and nurses are individuals with individual qualities, how on earth does across the board standardisation help? Either you are compassionate or you are not, no amount of pieces of paper are going to change that.

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  • this subject never fails to intrigue me, partly the wholesale defensive responses and partly the resulting deflection from having an actual discussion about compassion.
    I agree that management often have a completely different agenda for publishing stuff like this, usually as a way of battering the staff, and absolutely agree with the feeling of needing 6 arms and a broom up your *** to clean the floor as you go. Hard to express a compassionate nature there!
    However I also notice that people respond to the question by preceding it with 'of course...we all have compassion'. Or we have it or we don't as a black and white issue, like a light switch?
    It often seems talked about in terms of it being a certified skill or something we don't have time for. My understanding of it is that its something we are/embody and become, needs nurturing and how we feel and the judgements we make, gets in the way of it. And that's not dismissing the criminal understaffing issues at all.
    The thing I'm really interested in is how do we know we are compassionate. Do we ever ask who has been on the end of what we do in the name of compassion, or are we brave enough to ask colleagues for feedback, or are we really brave and look really honestly at our feelings in situations and have the guts to admit the uncomfortable stuff, because I think its this that gets in the way of the compassion being expressed.

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  • BTW Phildup anarchy is not the equivalent of chaos and lawlessness as you quote but a bona fide political system if you care to research it. Actually v interesting, organised and accountable.

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  • Compassion and being compasionate to others not just to your patient but to other human being is the basis of the value of human kind. It should be thought to people who doesnt know or perhaps believe in it. Or to those who forgotten to be human. Even animal loves their off springs what more of human being who can't show compassion and being compasionate to others. Yes you can teach how but weather they are is another issue, yes you can measure but does it reflect the real thing. Sincere; it is the whole idea of compassion.

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