Compassion in Practice

Nurse taking a patient

Following extensive consultation, a new vision and strategy for nurses, midwives and care givers in England was published by NHS England at the end of 2012.

Compassion in Practice is a national programme of work led by Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England. It sets out six areas of action for nursing teams to focus on to create improvements in care for all people cared for and supported in the NHS. Although this programme is currently focused on nursing staff it has relevance and is applicable to all NHS staff.

Whilst the majority of nurses, midwives and care staff provide good to exceptional service to people in their care, this is not consistent across the board. Nowhere was this more evident than when the failings at Mid Staffordshire and Winterbourne View  were brought to light. It is fundamental that failings such as these are never repeated.

Compassion in Practice is underpinned by the values and behaviours outlined in the 6Cs: Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment. To uphold these values there are six Action Areas which aim to support staff to deliver consistently excellent service to patients. 

  • Action Area 1: Helping people to stay independence, maximising wellbeing and improving health outcomes
  • Action Area 2: Working with people to provide a positive experience of care
  • Action Area 3: Delivering high quality care and measuring impact
  • Action Area 4: Building and strengthening leadership
  • Action Area 5: Ensuring we have the right staff, with the right skills in the right place
  • Action Area 6: Supporting positive staff experience
NHS Employers is leading on the delivery of the work to support Action Area 6. The work in this area is focuses on:

  • recognising excellence and best practice in the delivery of compassionate care
  • identifying links between the delivery of compassionate care and the NHS Constitution
  • clarifying the evidence which shows the link between staff experience and quality outcomes for patients
  • showcasing examples of good practice for clinical placements of students, preceptorship and supervision
  • reviewing how we can improve the public and professional perception of nursing
  • developing support for nursing staff to raise concerns and speak up
  • highlighting the different ways trusts are listening to and engaging with their nursing workforce.
Compassion in Practice: One year on

The first year of Compassion in Practice has kicked off with great momentum, with nurses, midwives and care staff really applying and ingraining the values and behaviours at the core of Compassion in Practice in everything that they do. In Action Area 6 the following progress has been achieved.

  • First 6Cs Live! Conference was hosted on 4 July.
  • Care Makers network established and growing rapidly across the NHS and private social and care practices.
  • Planning underway to deliver national award ceremony on 25 November which recognises excellence in Compassion in Practice.
  • Scoping work to improve the public and professional perception of nursing based on the ‘image of nursing’ work.
  • Whistleblower, Helene Donnelly, from Stafford Hospital, delivers a podcast about her role as a nurse, ambassador for cultural change, and the importance of courage and confidence in raising concerns.
  • NHS England hosted a Compassion in Practice 6Cs Live! week of action.

Latest Tweets

Why Register?

Great reasons to register with NHS Employers

  • A personalised website
    Manage your profile and select topics of interest to you
  • Access your dashboard
    Bookmark useful content to help you quickly find what you're looking for
  • Get involved
    Contribute to our Talking Points discussions, comment on and rate our webpages
  • Keep up to date
    Receive the latest newsletters and media summaries

Sounds great, what next?

Register Now

Not now, I will register later

Log In