Title of ArticleA reflection of my experience of compassion and vulnerability in nursing
Type of ArticleCritical Reflection on Practice Development
Author/sMarie Matriano and Rebekkah Middleton
ReferenceVolume 10, Issue 1, Article 9
Date of PublicationMay 2020
KeywordsBeliefs and values, commitment, nursing profession, responsibility, student nurse, vulnerability

Background: There is acquiescence in the nursing profession that patient demand must be met and patient turnover accomplished within a minimal/rushed timeframe. The growing and complex healthcare needs of an ageing population mean moments of vulnerability and unhurried care provision are now often looked upon with disapproval and discomfort, when such moments should be celebrated for their altruism and humanness.

Aim and objective: The aim of this article is to share a critical reflection on compassion and vulnerability in nursing. An exploration of the influence and significance of vulnerability in the nursing profession will shed light on the experiences of a student nurse during clinical placements.

Conclusion: By allowing themselves to become vulnerable, contemporary nurses will be better able to establish a work ethic focused on delivering person-centred compassionate care and a high level of patient safety. This enables compassionate care to be offered despite the common emphasis on patient turnover, and suboptimal workplace cultures.

Implications for practice:

  • Allowing vulnerability is important for nurses as it helps to ensure a true understanding of self, and facilitate personal courage in healthcare environments
  • Vulnerability enables nurses to explore the essence of raw and undiluted nursing care that can be given to patients. It enhances our experiences with patients, families and colleagues, allowing a truly person-centred approach to practice
  • When we look into ourselves first, we have a much greater sense of knowing what to give to others. By facing uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure, we can truly commit to our own reconstruction and consider how we are person-centred in the workplace

This article by Marie Matriano and Rebekkah Middleton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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