Compassionate nursing

Working together with NHS Boards across Scotland, the University has promoted and shared the learnings from its Leadership in Compassionate Care Programme.

Compassion is not always easy to quantify, but it can make all the difference to the experience of a patient in hospital. Since its launch in 2008, the Leadership in Compassionate Care project has led national and international thinking on this elusive but vital element of nursing practice.

It’s little things that matter,” said Lead Nurse Stephen Smith. “We know of an elderly patient who didn’t like drinking from a plastic beaker and was eventually given a ‘proper’ cup and saucer – a detail that made a huge difference to the lady’s comfort and dignity, as well as encouraging her to maintain healthy levels of hydration.” 

nursing teachingThis work informs the entire nursing curriculum at Edinburgh Napier and helps graduates practise compassionate care as they begin their careers. 

Beacon Wards have been chosen at several of NHS Lothian’s hospitals to promote best practice. And over the last five years, learnings and findings have been shared and promoted across Scotland through programmes and workshops – particularly within NHS Boards in the Lothians and Borders. 

Our work has been showcased at international conferences – including Tartan Week in New York. And the University has also established the Simon Pullin Award – an honour created in memory of a nurse who played a key role in the Compassionate Care Programme until his death from cancer – to recognise particular achievement in the field. 

Best practice 

Edinburgh Napier has spearheaded work in compassion in nursing, with much early discussion on terminology. The very word ‘compassion’ was initially seen to criticise a failing within the system. However, the University’s work has consistently focused on best practice rather than on highlighting what’s wrong. 

Interested in this project? Contact Stephen Smith