Defining compassion in a hospital setting: consensus on the characteristics that comprise compassion from researchers in the field.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Contemporary nurse, 2020, 56, (2), pp. 146-159
Issue Date:
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Aims: To seek consensus on the key characteristics that comprise compassion in a health care setting from pre-defined experts currently researching in the field.Background: Compassion is a vital component in healthcare. There is currently little consensus on how compassion is defined or operationalized in healthcare or research.Design: Modified Delphi Study.Methods: A four phase Delphi process was conducted: (1) Literature review of contemporary research (2) open ended questionnaire (n = 9); (3) content analysis results and synthesis with literature; (4) two round Delphi approach (Round 1 n = 8; Round 2 n = 6).Results: A total of 31 out of 36 statements reached consensus.Conclusions: Experts came to a consensus that compassion was a virtuous response involving awareness of and participation in the suffering of another conveyed through action intended to reduce the suffering observed. Experts placed less emphasis on compassion as sympathetic concern or pity. Compassion does not involve witnessing of the plight of another nor suffering with the patient.
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