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Compassionate care is a crucial aspect of clinical nursing practice. It is defined as an act of providing empathy, sympathy and emotional care to the patient (Sinclair et al., 2017). It is one of the important standards of “professional standards and codes of nursing practice.” It is a competency skill which requires high level of emotional intelligence, feeling empathy for the patients and being able to meet their emotional needs through the acts of caring (Babaei & Haratian, 2020). It emphasized on having an active listening and developing a therapeutic relationship with the patients. However, due to lack of adequate staffing and increase in the elderly population in Australia, it is found that there is increase in the burden on nursing staff and they feel burn out due to tremendous workload and pressure to provide care. This state of burn out is called compassion fatigue and is evident in daily nursing practice (Ruiz-Fernández et al., 2020). By giving out more than they have in terms of emotional and moral support, nurses face a challenge in dealing with patients effectively due to emotional as well as physical exhaustion. This is also termed as negative cost of care or a secondary traumatic stress. This hampers the delivery and the quality of care. It is essential that the nurses continue to abide and adhere to the standards of care but its also crucial that there is a workforce resilience and adequate staffing to meet the high rising demands of the human resources in hospitals, care clinics and most importantly the aged care facilities or homes, because the elderly population requires more support and compassion, especially those who are suffering from a chronic prolonged illness, any terminally-ill condition or a disability. As a nurse, I feel obliged to provide compassionate care to all of my patients, no matter how challenging the situations are, as it is necessary to improve the treatment outcomes and patient experience and satisfaction (Sinclair et al., 2017; Su et al., 2020).

Analysis of theme

Two important themes of compassionate care in case of Ian are effective leadership quality and team work (Emich, 2018; Fischer, 2016). When the health of Ian started deteriorating even after being to the hospital thrice, he did not improve and went to a residential aged care facility, completely distressed of his condition, he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also called COPD. The care coordinator helped Ian to get back to the hospital and connect with the multidisciplinary team, which included a dietician, a physical therapist, a consultant (Bessen et al, 2019). There he was diagnosed with an acute and severe urinary tract infection. Ian started to feel better and started to have a daily exercise routine. He was out of depression and In the Ian’s story, he narrates if it had not been the care coordinator nurse, who noticed that there was something more than COPD and that Ian needed a holistic care, without which he states, he would have been dead. Both, team work and effective leadership are very important in providing effective care to the patient and improving the quality of their life (Ruiz-Fernández et al., 2020). Leadership skills helps in clinical decision-making process (Fischer, 2016). When the care co-ordinator took Ian to the hospital and involved him with the multidisciplinary team, they took up his case from the start and did all the tests and he was diagnosed with urinary tract infection. Because of Ian’s complicated history of spinal injury, his treatment journey was complicated. When he was hospitalized three times earlier, he was misdiagnosed as a case of COPD. His self-management skill is now improved and he is able to take care of himself in a better and efficient way. In Ian’s words- he is back on track again. Due to the effort of the clinical care coordinator and the leadership quality, Ian’s life could be saved (Hofmeyer et al, 2018; Nolte et al., 2017; NSW, n.d.).

Present Evidence

Ian is an elderly patient with a history of injury to the spinal cord, along with COPD and recently diagnosed UTI (urinary tract infection). Ian started deteriorating even after being to the hospital thrice, he did not improve and went to a residential aged care facility, completely distressed of his condition, he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also called COPD. The care coordinator helped Ian to get back to the hospital and connect with the multidisciplinary team, which included a dietician, a physical therapist, a consultant. There he was diagnosed with an acute and severe urinary tract infection. Ian started to feel better and started to have a daily exercise routine. He was out of depression and In the Ian’s story, he narrates if it had not been the care coordinator nurse, who noticed that there was something more than COPD and that Ian needed a holistic care, without which he states, he would have been dead. After the correct diagnosis and treatment, and compassion and comfort care, Ian started to show signs of improvement, his self-management skill is now improved and he is able to take care of himself in a better and efficient way (Henderson & Jones, 2017; NSW, n.d.).


Compassionate care is important to provide a patient centred care and to build a therapeutic relationship with the patients. In clinical nursing practice, it is very common to see the compassion fatigue owing to the increase in the burden on the healthcare system. To ensure adequate delivery and quality of care, workforce resilience must be provided to the nursing staff to avoid burn out or compassion fatigue. It is crucial to the profession of nursing and will help in reducing the nurses’ turnover in all healthcare facilities. Leadership and collaborative work approach are two of the main themes of the compassionate care. It is through developing these two themes that a nurse can exhibit true competency skills and adhere to the guidelines of professional standard in nursing as well as the nursing code of ethics.


Babaei, S., & Haratian, M. (2020). Compassion satisfaction and fatigue in cardiovascular nurses: A cross-sectional descriptive study. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research25(3), 212.

Bessen, S., Jain, R. H., Brooks, W. B., & Mishra, M. (2019). “Sharing in hopes and worries”—a qualitative analysis of the delivery of compassionate care in palliative care and oncology at end of life. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being14(1), 1622355.

Emich, C. (2018). Conceptualizing collaboration in nursing. In Nursing Forum (Vol. 53, No. 4, pp. 567-573).

Fischer, S. A. (2016). Transformational leadership in nursing: a concept analysis. Journal of advanced nursing72(11), 2644-2653.

Henderson, A., & Jones, J. (2017). Developing and maintaining compassionate care in nursing. Nursing Standard (2014+)32(4), 60.

Hofmeyer, A., Toffoli, L., Vernon, R., Taylor, R., Klopper, H. C., Coetzee, S. K., & Fontaine, D. (2018). Teaching compassionate care to nursing students in a digital learning and teaching environment. Collegian25(3), 307-312.

Nolte, A. G., Downing, C., Temane, A., & Hastings‐Tolsma, M. (2017). Compassion fatigue in nurses: A metasynthesis. Journal of clinical nursing26(23-24), 4364-4378.

NSW Government, (n.d.). Agency for Clinical Innovation. Retrieved from

Ruiz-Fernández, M. D., Pérez-García, E., & Ortega-Galán, Á. M. (2020). Quality of Life in Nursing Professionals: Burnout, Fatigue, and Compassion Satisfaction. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health17(4), 1253.

Sinclair, S., Raffin-Bouchal, S., Venturato, L., Mijovic-Kondejewski, J., & Smith-MacDonald, L. (2017). Compassion fatigue: A meta-narrative review of the healthcare literature. International journal of nursing studies69, 9-24.

Su, J. J., Masika, G. M., Paguio, J. T., & Redding, S. R. (2020). Defining compassionate nursing care. Nursing ethics27(2), 480-493.

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