Compassion in care – Why it’s still the most important skill

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Compassion in care - Bank Partners  

In today’s modern fast-paced world filled with technology, cost cutting and media reports on how overstretched the NHS is, it could be easy to assume that the compassionate care of patients has been pushed down the list of priorities.

Some are even asking if it is a necessary skill. But, with the patient at the heart of all healthcare staff do, it is more important than ever that staff see them as people, not just numbers.

Sarah Cerezo, Nurse Interviewer at Bank Partners, said:

“Compassionate care is firmly at the top of our list at Bank Partners. We care that the nurses and midwives we recruit care, have empathy and want to make patients journeys as comfortable as possible. Many clinicians choose to do bank work to give them flexibility and allow them to get back to the bedside, be there for patients, listen to them, understand their story and make a difference. The advantage of a bank worker is they choose when they want to do this."

"The questions we ask at interview are to ensure a candidate is competent, confident and self-reflective enough to provide compassionate care with the patients’ needs firmly at the top of their to do list. We need to know that they’re confident enough to speak up for the patient and always act in their best interest."

Why is compassion important in care?

The IOM (Institute of Medicine) defines patient centred care as:

“Providing care the is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.”

It is important to realise that providing high quality care includes taking the time to listen and speak to the patient. Explaining their options and understanding how their beliefs might affect their decision whilst remaining respectful of whatever their decision might be. Essentially, showing compassion.

During their time in hospital, patients will likely be feeling vulnerable and engaging in conversations with staff will help to put them at ease and feel more confident it their decisions.

Are healthcare staff able to show compassion in care?

We asked our followers whether they feel they had enough time to show compassion in their care role and the results were surprising.

In a poll on the Bank Partners Twitter, 75% of people revealed that they didn’t feel like that were given the opportunity to show compassion in their roles.

A further 25% of people said that they only felt they were able to show compassion in their role sometimes.

What is the cost of compassion in care?

We asked our teams whether they believe that “kindness and compassion cost nothing”. A surprising 64% said yes.

In some roles that may be true, but in healthcare you need to factor in the emotional cost of their work due to the nature of the situations they will encounter. Compassion means asking staff to put aside their own grief, feelings and beliefs about something whilst still empathising and supporting patients through their decisions. It can often be a very emotionally taxing role.

Do you feel you you’re able to show compassion in your role? Let us know in the comments below.

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