Workshop 7 - Health Education England

Creating compassionate learning
environments in midwifery
Kim Russell
Head of Midwifery Education
University of Nottingham
Francis Report (2013)
• Trust did not listen
• Deficiencies were not
• No attempt to tackle an
insidious culture of poor
• Disengagement from
leadership and management
• Confidence not maintained
Warning signs
• Loss of corporate memory
following reorganisation
• Outcomes other than
patient care given a higher
• The system became the
focus of activity, not the
business of looking after
C X 6 = culture change
“Deep awareness of the
suffering of another
coupled with the wish
to relieve it”
• Compassion is a feeling of pity or a warm,
caring emotion that does not involve feeling,
e.g. sadness if the other person is
sad. Accompanies an active desire to alleviate
another’s suffering.
• "People with a lot of empathy may need to
change that to compassion so they don't get
overwhelmed when confronted with
suffering." (Solon, 2012)
Promoting compassionate learning
‘Staff need time to learn,
to reflect and to reenergise and they need to
be supported by
organisations that
promote compassionate
and caring culture and
values which dedicate
time to valuing these’
(DoH, 2013)
What does compassion look like?
Use facial expressions and body language
that invite others to communicate (e.g.,
facing others, smiling, nodding head, open
Use touch when appropriate to provide
reassurance, esteem, and belonging
Express respect and appreciation for the
contributions to patient care made by
other team members
Respond with positive feedback and
support when others share feelings and
Apker, J. Propp, K.M. Zabava-Ford, W.S (2006) Journal of Professional
Nursing, Vol 22, No 3 (May– June: pp 180-189
Creating compassionate learning
environments: Ideas?
• Encourage, stimulate and foster compassion
• Create supportive learning environments where
compassion, and compassionate care flourish
• Provide students and staff with time to learn, to
reflect and to practise compassionate care skills
• Create future leaders and researchers
But…..this can only be achieved by working
Teaching and learning compassion
‘Trust and intimacy are required for compassion to
flourish’ (Gregory, 1983)
• Case-holding
• Drama and creative arts
• Teaching of emotional intelligence
• Story telling
• Quality mentorship: ‘Mentoring the next
generation of practitioners needs to be perceived
as a privilege’ (Sir Ian Cummings, Chief Executive of Health
Education England)
‘The relationship between
service and education
colleagues needs, perhaps
more than ever, to
continue to be
Bradshaw and Bagness

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