A concept analysis of compassionate midwifery

Diane Ménage, Elizabeth Bailey, Susan Lees, Jane Coad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)
1302 Downloads (Pure)


AimTo report a concept analysis of compassionate midwifery.BackgroundRecently, compassion has been incorporated into United Kingdom nursing and midwifery language through strategy, policy, recruitment and education. Professional standards direct midwives to practise compassionately therefore the concept of compassionate midwifery exists, although this has yet to be explored as a concept in the UK or internationally. An understanding of what constitutes compassionate midwifery has the potential to increase midwifery knowledge and improve practice.DesignConcept Analysis.Data sourcesLiterature from 1990–2015 was searched using MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO and ETHOS. Grey literature and examples of everyday usage of the concept were searched using Google.MethodsAn adapted model of evolutionary concept analysis.ResultsExplanations of compassionate midwifery were absent in the literature therefore the gathered data were evaluated in relation to elements of the compassion process: recognition of suffering, emotion, motivation and action. Compassionate midwifery is defined as the interrelations of authentic presence, noticing suffering, empathy, connectedness/relationship, emotion work, motivation to help/support, empowering women and alleviating suffering through negotiation, knowledge and skills. Antecedents and consequences were also identified and depicted in a schematic representation of the concept.ConclusionThis concept analysis provides a unique examination of compassionate midwifery and starting point for reflection on practice, education and further analysis. Empirical studies will provide the potential to take the process further by studying the experience of compassionate midwifery from different perspectives. A theory of compassionate midwifery will develop as new findings emerge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-573
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number3
Early online date16 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Ménage, D, Bailey, E, Lees, S & Coad, J 2017, 'A concept analysis of compassionate midwifery' Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol 73, no. 3, pp. 558-573, which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jan.13214 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


  • birth
  • compassion
  • concept analysis
  • empathy
  • kindness
  • maternity
  • midwife
  • nursing
  • suffering


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