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How can nurses' compassion and values be measured at interview?

  • Comments (9)

How can nurses’ compassion and values be measured at interview?

A government-commissioned review is likely to press for all new nurses and healthcare assistants to be screened for their values and ability to be compassionate, Nursing Times has been told.

The chair of the panel, high profile GP Professor Steve Field, told Nursing Times that universities should interview all healthcare staff before giving them places, and use the values in the NHS constitution as part of interviews. He said the review had discovered that at present, several nursing schools in England did not interview.

He said: “Universities should be interviewing all healthcare professionals, not just offering them courses based on their A-Level grades. I despair of nursing schools and medical schools which don’t interview.”

Professor Field also said healthcare employers should use the constitution’s values in interviews for all staff. In particular he said that more attention should be paid to healthcare assistants and other unqualified staff. The role of HCAs may receive particular criticism from the Mid Staffordshire inquiry, and there have been calls for statutory regulation of the roles.

  • Comments (9)

Readers' comments (9)

  • tinkerbell

    by attitudes. Attitude is everything.

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  • You are right Tinkerbell, attitude is everything and, generally, in interviews, you get a good idea of the person. But how can you measure compassion? Maybe you can present interviewees with scenarios to see how they react to the situation. Part of the problem i think is that, with HCAs being seen as a cost-effective replacement for trained nurses, many Trusts will be more interested in just getting people into the posts rather than looking at how compassionate or caring they are. For Staff Nurses, usually (but not always) the training will wheedle out those who do not care or show compassion.
    The other issue for me is that, sometimes it is people who have been in post for a long time and that their initial compassion and care has slowly gone as they get older, get more experience, deal with more and more pressures of the job. How do we target those as well?
    This issue is also prevalent with possible ideas of scrapping annual increments and paying performance bonuses....how can you measure a nurse's performance in that way? While an annual appraisal does it to an extent, how would you evaluate? Maybe ask all patients, before they are discharged, to rate each nurse that has looked after them? Maybe base it on the number of complaints made against them? Perhaps you base it on the type of area they work in or how much pressure they are under (ACute medicine vs. Rehab).
    I'm sorry but, while, theoretically, it is a good idea, I just do not see how you can measure someone's compassion effectively

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  • tinkerbell

    nursemorph | 18-Sep-2012 2:06 pm

    Not that i'm suggesting this approach, but there was a documentary some years ago on measuring peoples empathy.

    Paticipants were fooled into thinking that they were administering an electric shock to someone in the next room. Of course they weren't but the testers wanted to see how far they would go until they said they didn't want to participate in the experiment any longer.All they could hear as the voltage was turned up on the machine administering the shock were the screams of a person from another room.

    Strangely a lot of them went the whole hog, despite their own distress at the other persons distress as obviously felt they were 'just following orders' from the tester.

    I guess if this were a test undertaken by managers in the NHS they would all have us wired up to the EDF main supply and say it was an accident as no one realised there was actually a current going through to the guinea pig. Get rid of a few nurses by mistake from which 'lessons could be learned'.

    Must be a simpler way to measure compassion.

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  • tinkerbell

    http://www.buddhanet.net/compassion.htm

    this might be a much better approach but will take time, once we have tried meditation, requires a lot of discipline, 'wax on wax off'. (karate kid).

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  • Anonymous

    I went before a 3 person panel. I wasn't interviewed I was grilled. When they had finished with me I was sweating! I trained at a rather small school of nursing (closed now of course). I lived on site, the hospital was adjacent to the school. I was closely observed throughout my training. They knew an awful lot about me. Weaknesses could be addressed quickly, and infact some students were removed. I'm not looking back with rose tinted specs, I was a typical student. The school did have a pretty good handle on things though.

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  • Anonymous

    Surely HR and occupational psychologists are the experts in interviewing techniques and psychological testing. if anybody can devise a test for measuring compassion they would be the most qualified to do so although the successful measurement of compassion, I would imagine is highly controversial.

    At present there is probably no way to test compassion accurately other than by a thorough interview and such tests may not even be feasible on grounds of reliability, time, cost, etc.

    the next best thing would be to test for attitudes although these can change over time and also people at interviews can be very convincing though their presentation of self may not be genuine.


    A panel of expert interviewers and senior nurses or nurses with broad experience and trainers is probably the best to select the right candidates but no interview or testing is ever going to be 100% perfect.

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  • Anonymous

    How can nurses' compassion and values be measured at interview?

    If they arrive for interview wearing a big helmet, stab vest and are armed to the teeth, it is probably a good indication that nursing might not be for them. On the other hand.........


    Anonymous | 20-Sep-2012 1:53 pm

    HR are just about the biggest bunch of bar-stewards in the NHS. I wouldn't be surprised if turning up at their interview, wearing the above, was actually a requirement!!

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  • bob cat

    I don't think a 'compassion test' can be a pre-requisite in interview unless the interviewers are guaranteed to recognise compassion in a response from the interviewee. Efforts to objectify a human quality are always going to be hollow and inaccurate unless the environment is nuturing enough to allow the expression and learning of said quiality.

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