Community mental health nurses' understanding of compassion: a naturalistic, interpretative approach.

Research paper by Kim K Barron, Graham G Sloan, Ruth R Deery

Indexed on: 17 Feb '17Published on: 17 Feb '17Published in: Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing


There is increasing emphasis in policy, research and practice in the UK and internationally on the importance of caring in health care. Compassion needs to be at the core of all health care professionals' practice. Recently health care has received negative attention through media and government reports which cite a lack of compassion in care RATIONALE: The concept of compassion has received limited attention in community mental health nursing.Based on data taken from semi-structured interviews with community mental health nurses this paper aims to describe interpretations and perspectives of compassion to gain insight and development of its meaning METHOD: A naturalistic, interpretive approach was taken to the study. Semi-structured interviews with nine mental health nurses were analysed using Burnard's (1991) 14-step model of thematic analysis FINDINGS: The research illuminates the complexity of compassion and how its practice impacts on emotional responses and relationships with self, patients, colleagues and the employing organisation. Participants identified difficulties engaging with compassionate practice whilst recognising it as a driving force underpinning provision of care IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Mental health nurses need to be supported to work towards a greater understanding of compassionate care for clinical practice and the need for self-compassion. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.