What compassion looks like to patients
Sarah Jane Palmer looks at patients' perceptions of compassion and how institutions can protect staff against compassion fatigue
Compassion is an integral part of care: the patient perception of any staff in the care setting, with particular emphasis on nurses, is that compassion would be provided. This is a valid expectation in a setting where a patient is undergoing something involving invasive treatment/experiencing a life threatening emergency – compassion is required in such circumstances to meet the basic human emotional needs of patients. However, with staff retention issues in the NHS being a constant factor in why the health service remains so understaffed, and bullying among health professionals estimated to cost over £2 billion to the NHS each year (Kline and Lewis, 2019) due to the implications it has for staff absence and staff leaving the workforce altogether, we are left facing an NHS beleaguered by dissatisfied and burnt out staff, and as a result, a lack of compassion for patients. Low levels of staff morale and high levels of compassion fatigue are key factors in this.
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