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Nursing with kindness and compassion

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Although kindness and compassion have long been considered synonymous with nursing, nowadays they are qualities too often notable by their absence.

In recent years, healthcare has received bad press, with many examples of lack of care for patients and their relatives highlighted by the national media. The increased focus on degree-entry nursing has led some to fear a decline in caring nurses. But there is no reason why people who are academically gifted should be uncaring and the real reason for a loss of compassion may be more complex.

It is more likely that the negative changes are a reflection of how we run organisations and what has been stripped out of nursing to promote its status as a profession.

We live in a society that values connection with others less than it values self-promotion and human qualities less than objective, measurable targets There seems to be little expectation that people should be kind to one another when success and status are measured in financial or professional terms.

Defining kindness
A broad distinction may be drawn between traditional nursing as 'caring for patients', in contrast to medicine as 'prescribing a cure or treatment'.


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