Exploring senior nurses' understanding of compassionate leadership in the community.

Research paper by Sulekha S Ali, Louise L Terry

Indexed on: 07 Feb '17Published on: 07 Feb '17Published in: British journal of community nursing


Developing compassionate leadership is a priority since high profile failings in older people care have come to light. Little is known regarding how compassionate leadership is perceived in community health care organisations. The aim was to understand how leaders and senior staff within a Community NHS Trust perceive compassionate leadership and its importance. This qualitative study employed semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Purposive sampling was used to recruit nursing leaders (n=11) within one Community NHS Trust. Leading and caring with compassion are particularly important in the community. Compassionate leadership involves role modelling, person-centred care and compassion towards staff not just patients. A concept of 'gritty compassion' was identified which could lead to a loss of compassion. Community organisations need compassionate leaders who lead with their heads and their hearts and ensure that patients, clients and families feel cared for not merely treated.