Research Output
A constructivist grounded theory study to explore compassion through the perceptions of individuals who have experienced nursing care
  Aim: To explore compassion from the perceptions of individuals with personal experience of nursing care. Background: Although compassion is considered integral to professional nursing, increasing reports of care experiences illustrating a lack of compassion have challenged this. Despite political and professional guidance to reaffirm compassion as an underpinning philosophy of contemporary nursing practice, this provides limited insight into what compassion may involve. Contemporary evidence to inform understanding of compassion predominately arises from the professional perspective. This knowledge gap supported the rationale to explore compassion from the individual perspective. Design: Constructivist grounded theory, underpinned by the theoretical perspectives of symbolic interactionism and social constructionism. Methods: Data was collected via eleven individual interviews, a focus group discussion and three additional individual interviews during 2013-2015. Initial and focused coding, constant comparative analysis, conceptual mapping, theoretical memos and diagrams supported data analysis until theoretical sufficiency was determined. Findings: Inter-related data categories emerged: Self-Propensity for Compassion, Attributes for Compassion, Socialising for Compassion, Conditions for Compassion and Humanising for Compassion (core category). Conclusion: Compassion is a complex phenomenon, constructed by individuals through their personal experiences of nursing care and life experiences in the social world. In this study, participants perceived that compassion was fundamentally embodied by experiences of a humanising approach to nursing care. These humanising experiences were thought to be influenced by biological, psychological and socio-contextual factors. The study provides additional insight into compassion that requires further investigation with individuals in other care contexts, nurses and health care professionals.

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  • Date:

    05 April 2019

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  • Funders:

    Historic Funder (pre-Worktribe)


Straughair, C., Clarke, A., & Machin, A. (2019). A constructivist grounded theory study to explore compassion through the perceptions of individuals who have experienced nursing care. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 75(7), 1527-1538.



constructivist grounded theory, compassion, experiences of care, humanising care, individual perceptions, nursing, qualitative research

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