Stakeholder perspectives of compassion in nursing: The development of the compassion strengths model

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Aims: To explore stakeholder perspectives of compassion in nursing. Background: Studies show that nurses’ compassion can be characterized by 11 characteristics. A growing body of research illustrates how courses aimed at teaching nursing students about compassion can be effective. Including the views of key stakeholders in the design of these programmes is recommended, yet the number of studies that have explored this are limited. Design: This study used a qualitative exploratory design, applying a directed content and thematic analysis to the data. Methods: Key stakeholders (N = 34), including nurse educators, nursing students, registered nurses and service user/patients, were recruited between September 2016 - July 2017. Focus groups and semi-structured one-to-one interviews were conducted. Data were transcribed verbatim. Directed content analysis and thematic analysis were applied to transcripts to address two separate research questions. Results: In relation to question 1, ‘What are the characteristics of a compassionate nurse’? eight themes: (a) character; (b) self-care; (c) connection; (d) empathy; (e) interpersonal skills; (f) communication; (g) competence; and (h) engagement, emerged from the content analysis. For question 2, ‘How can compassion be taught to nursing students’? there were five separate themes that emerged from the thematic analysis: (a) beliefs about teaching compassion; (b) motivation; (c) the 5 W’s needed to teach compassion to nursing students; (d) barriers to compassion in practice; and (e) compassion requires strength. Conclusion: The findings of this research support previous research into compassion in nursing. The Compassion Strengths model may serve as a framework for nursing students and nurses’ compassionate practice. This may also assist nurses internationally to develop further research in this vital area.




Durkin, M., Gurbutt, R., & Carson, J. (2019). Stakeholder perspectives of compassion in nursing: The development of the compassion strengths model. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 75(11), 2910–2922.

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