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Self, interpersonal and organisational acts of compassion amongst nurses during times of acute stress: A qualitative analysis

journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-09, 02:43 authored by R Abrams, A Conolly, E Rowland, R Harris, Bridie KentBridie Kent, D Kelly, J Maben
Background: There is a global shortage of nurses and new strategies are required to recruit, support and retain this staff group. Organisational culture can have a significant impact on staff wellbeing and commitment. Recent years have seen attempts to foster a compassionate culture across healthcare systems. However, little is known about how nurses initiate self-care and how they feel cared for by their organisation, particularly in times of acute stress and need. Aims: This paper aims to address the research question, ‘In what ways do nurses experience compassion (or not) during times of acute stress?’, identifying where and how compassionate acts were enacted by individuals, within teams or organisations. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 UK National Health Service (NHS) nurses in a longitudinal qualitative study (between March 2020 and September 2022). Results: Three themes were derived from our narrative analysis including: (1) Learning and practising self-compassion; (2) The presence and absence of interpersonal compassion; and (3) Organisational (non) compassionate acts. Findings indicate that self-compassion requires permission and discipline, often being unfamiliar terrain for nurses. Interpersonal compassion can buoy nurses during challenging times but can often be absent across teams. Nurses’ experiences of organisational acts of compassion were limited, and they often felt de-valued, unsupported and replaceable. Conclusions: Compassionate acts are enacted across three levels (self, team and organisation). To retain staff, particularly in acutely stressful or challenging situations, organisations, and those responsible for nursing management and policy need to foster a systems-based approach to compassionate culture.

History

Journal

SSM: Qualitative Research in Health

Volume

5

Article number

100437

Pagination

1-8

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISSN

2667-3215

eISSN

2667-3215

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Publisher

Elsevier