Aims and objectives To report findings from a qualitative study of key stakeholders’ perspectives on ‘compassion’ in the health care context. To present the ‘Framework for Compassionate Interpersonal Relations’. Background Although many research articles, health policies and health care strategies identify compassion as an underpinning value and key component of health care quality, identifying a unified definition of compassion is challenging. For Higher Education Institutions implementing ‘values-based’ recruitment processes, a clearer understanding of this core concept is vital. Design Exploratory, qualitative design. Methods Academic staff, health care students, clinicians and service users (n = 45), participated in nine focus groups where they were asked to define compassion in the context of health care. Data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. Results Four overarching themes were drawn from the data. The first theme centred on the participants’ definitions of compassion, while the second identified compassionate behaviours. The third theme related to the barriers and threats to compassionate practice and the fourth, focused on ways to support compassion in practice. Participants believed that the health care staff should be ‘consistently compassionate’, and were emphatic that compassion should not be substituted with a ‘care without engagement’ approach. Conclusions The findings concur with other research, which identifies the link between compassion and empathy and the importance of establishing meaningful connections with others. While participants in this study recognised the pressures of health care work and accepted that the expectation of ‘consistent compassion’ was not necessarily realistic, it was still seen as an important goal. Relevance to clinical practice Participants held clear expectations regarding practitioners’ communication skills and used these as a proxy for compassionate practice. The ‘Framework for Compassionate Inter-personal Relations’ may be used to promote reflection on the implementation of compassionate practice. It may also be used to highlight areas of focus when conducting values-based recruitment activities.
Bibliographical noteThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Kneafsey, R. , Brown, S.J. , Sein, K. , Chamley, C. and Parsons, J. (2015) A qualitative study of key stakeholders’ perspectives on compassion in healthcare and the development of a framework for compassionate interpersonal relations. Journal of Clinical Nursing, volume 25 (1-2): 70-79, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocn.12964. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
- clinical practice
- focus groups
- health care
- qualitative research
- thematic analysis
Kneafsey, R., Brown, S. J., Sein, K., Chamley, C., & Parsons, J. (2016). A qualitative study of key stakeholders’ perspectives on compassion in healthcare and the development of a framework for compassionate interpersonal relations. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 25(1-2), 70-79. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.12964