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Compassion of nurses to be assessed

Chief Nursing Officer wants nurses assessed on their compassion as well as technical skills

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 04 December 2012

Nurses should be assessed on the level of compassionate care they offer to patients as well as their technical skills, the Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings is expected to say later today.

Ms Cummings will launch Compassion in Practice - a three-year strategy for nursing – during the CNO’s annual conference in Manchester.

She is expected to say that the context for health care and support is changing with people living longer, many are elderly with multiple and complex needs and in some places sometimes the care they receive is poor: “Such poor care is a betrayal of what we all stand for.”

She will ask NHS organisations to review their culture of care and staffing levels as well as generating new ideas to measure patient feedback.

The publication of the Compassion in Practice strategy follows an eight-week consultation, which involved more than 9,000 nurses, midwives, care staff and patients and stresses the importance of 'the 6Cs' – care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “We continue to hear too many stories of patients being let down at the very moment they need care and compassion.

“We need to reassure the public that we are working hard to build a compassionate culture right throughout the health service.

“Nursing professionals play a key role in making this happen, but it goes wider than this. Care and compassion is everyone's responsibility. Every member of NHS staff – from the ward to the board – should be satisfied that the care aspects of the treatment they provide are as high as the medical aspects.”

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