Ash M, Harrison T, Pinto M, DiClemente R, Negi LT A model for cognitively-based compassion training: theoretical underpinnings and proposed mechanisms. Soc Theory Health. 2021; 19:(1)43-67

Aslan H, Erci B, Pekince H Relationship between compassion fatigue in nurses, and work-related stress and the meaning of life. J Relig Health. 2022; 61:(3)1848-1860

Baas MAM, Scheepstra KWF, Stramrood CAI, Evers R, Dijksman LM, van Pampus MG Work-related adverse events leaving their mark: a cross-sectional study among Dutch gynecologists. BMC Psychiatry. 2018; 18:(1)

Back AL, Rushton CH, Kaszniak AW, Halifax JS “Why are we doing this?”: clinician helplessness in the face of suffering. J Palliat Med. 2015; 18:(1)26-30

Balogun J, Johnson G Organizational restructuring and middle manager sensemaking. Academy of Management Journal. 2004; 47:(4)523-549

Cross LA Compassion fatigue in palliative care nursing. J Hosp Palliat Nurs. 2019; 21:(1)21-28

Dewar B Cultivating compassionate care. Nurs Stand. 2013; 27:(34)48-55

Duarte J, Pinto-Gouveia J, Cruz B Relationships between nurses’ empathy, self-compassion and dimensions of professional quality of life: A cross-sectional study. Int J Nurs Stud. 2016; 60:1-11

Durkin M, Beaumont E, Martin C, Carson J A pilot study exploring the relationship between self-compassion, self-judgement, self-kindness, compassion, professional quality of life and wellbeing among UK community nurses. Nurs Educ Today. 2016; 46:109-114

Egan H, Keyte R, McGowan K ‘You Before Me’: A qualitative study of health care professionals’ and students’ understanding and experiences of compassion in the workplace, self-compassion, self-care and health behaviours. Health Prof Educ. 2019; 5:(3)225-236

Figley CR Compassion Fatigue as Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder: An Overview. In: Figley CR : Taylor and Francis Group; 1995

Gilbert P The origins and nature of compassion focused therapy. Br J Clin Psychol. 2014; 53:(1)6-41

Gustafsson T, Hemberg J Compassion fatigue as bruises in the soul: A qualitative study on nurses. Nurs Ethics. 2022; 29:(1)157-170

Halifax JGRAC E for nurses: Cultivating Compassion in Nurse/Patient Interactions. J Nurs Educ Pract. 2014; 4:(1)121-128

Halifax J A heuristic model of enactive compassion. Curr Opin Support Palliat Care. 2012; 6:(2)228-235

Jasper MBoston MA: Cengage Learning Inc.; 2013

Litz BT, Stein N, Delaney E Moral injury and moral repair in war veterans: A preliminary model and intervention strategy. Clin Psychol Rev. 2009; 29:(8)695-706

Mannion R Enabling compassionate healthcare: perils, prospects and perspectives. Int J Health Policy Manag. 2014; 2:(3)115-117

Mills J, Wand T, Fraser JA On self-compassion and self-care in nursing: selfish or essential for compassionate care. Int J Nurs Stud. 2015; 52:(4)791-793

Neff KLondon: Hodder and Stoughton; 2011

NHS England, NHS Improvement. Professional nurse advocate A-Equip model. 2021. (accessed 30 August 2022)

Nursing and Midwifery Council. 2015a. (accessed 18 August 2022)

Nursing and Midwifery Council. 2015b. (accessed 18 August 2022)

Perez-Bret E, Altisent R, Rocafort J Definition of compassion in healthcare: a systematic literature review. Int J Palliat Nurs. 2016; 22:(12)599-606

Peters E Compassion fatigue in nursing: A concept analysis. Nurs Forum. 2018; 53:(4)466-480

Sacco TL, Ciurzynski SM, Harvey ME, Ingersoll GL Compassion Satisfaction and Compassion Fatigue Among Critical Care Nurses. Crit Care Nurse. 2015; 35:(4)32-42

Schön D The Reflective Practitioner.Routledge: Oxon; 1991

Shea S, Samoutis G, Wynyard R Encouraging compassion through teaching and learning: a case study in Cyprus. J Compassionate Health Care. 2016; 3:(1)

Stoewen DL Moving from compassion fatigue to compassion resilience Part 4: signs and consequences of compassion fatigue. Can Vet J. 2020; 61:(11)1207-1209

Straughair C Exploring compassion: implications for contemporary nursing. Part 1. Br J Nurs. 2012; 21:(3)160-164

Sun N, Wei L, Shi S A qualitative study on the psychological experience of caregivers of COVID-19 patients. Am J Infect Control. 2020; 48:(6)592-598

Tierney S, Bivins R, Seers K Compassion in nursing: solution or stereotype. Nurs Inq. 2019; 26:(1)

Todaro-Franceschi VNew York: Springer Publishing Company; 2013

West M, Eckert R, Collins B, Chowla R Caring to change.: The King's Fund; 2017

West MAUK: The Swirling Leaf Press; 2021

Yarnell LM, Stafford RE, Neff KD, Reilly ED, Knox MC, Mullarkey M Meta-analysis of gender differences in self-compassion. Self Ident. 2015; 14:(5)499-520

Delivering compassionate care in nursing

02 October 2022
Volume 33 · Issue 10


Compassion is a cornerstone of nursing practice. Lindsey Lister and Catherine Best look at the effect of compassion fatigue and how this can be overcome

Compassion is essential to the delivery of good patient care. However, due to the demands faced by the nursing workforce, many are at risk of compassion fatigue. Cultivating self-compassion can promote resilience and there are several models of compassion which can encourage compassion in the workforce. Compassion training may be needed to support nurses.

In healthcare, having the ability to demonstrate compassion enhances patient care, creating a higher level of trust, resulting in the sharing of information that can lead to greater understanding and more accurate diagnosis (Mannion, 2014). Synonymous with the nursing profession (Straughair, 2012), compassion is defined by Perez-Bret et al (2016) as:

‘the sensitivity shown in order to understand another person's suffering, combined with a willingness to help and to promote the well-being of that person, in order to find a solution to their situation’.

Essentially, the aim being, to alleviate suffering.

However, encountering others’ suffering leaves healthcare professionals such as nurses at risk of compassion fatigue (Sacco et al, 2015), a phenomenon defined as:

‘the formal caregiver's reduced capacity or interest in being empathic or bearing the suffering of clients’ (Figley, 1995).

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting Practice Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for general practice nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month