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Building compassion literacy: Enabling care in primary health care nursing

Published:October 02, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2015.09.004

      Summary

      This paper introduces the concept of compassion literacy and discusses its place in nursing within the general practice setting. Compassion literacy is a valuable competency for sustaining the delivery of high quality care. Being compassion literate enables practice nurses to provide compassionate care to their patients and to recognise factors that may constrain this. A compassion literate practice nurse may be more protected from compassion fatigue and its negative consequences. Understanding how to enable self-compassion and how to support the delivery of compassionate care within the primary care team can enhance the care experienced by the patient while improving the positive engagement and satisfaction of the health professionals. The capacity to deliver compassionate care can be depleted by the day-to-day demands of the clinical setting. Compassion literacy enables the replenishing of compassion, but the development of compassion literacy can be curtailed by personal and workplace barriers. This paper articulates why compassion literacy should be an integral aspect of practice nursing and considers strategies for enabling compassion literacy to develop and thrive within the workplace environment. Compassion literacy is also a valuable opportunity for practice nurses to demonstrate their key role within the multidisciplinary team of general practice, directly enhancing the quality of the care delivered.

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