Title of ArticleCompassion, the Core Value in Person-Centred Care by Margreet van der Cingel
Type of ArticleBook Review
Author/sSusan Dyer
ReferenceVolume 12, Issue 2, Article 12
Date of PublicationNovember 2022
KeywordsCompassion, person-centred

I have had the privilege of reading Margreet van der Cingel’s 2022 book, Compassion, the Core Value in Person-centred Care, which is the result of a programme of research including a PhD and two empirical masters studies. The doctorate focused on three things: a theoretical and philosophical exploration of compassion; a study of compassion in the history of nursing; and a study of contemporary daily nursing practices. The empirical masters studies explored the role of compassion in the development of the professional nursing identity, and the strategies of novice nurses for developing and sustaining compassion (van der Cingel, 2022, p 4).

The book is split into three chapters:

Compassion throughout the ages: exploring compassion as a construct and its significance within society, as well as compassion in the history of nursing care

Compassion in care today: explores compassion as a multilayered concept; looks at the professional behaviours that demonstrate compassion, how these behaviours impact on the professional relationship and how to balance them to avoid burnout; and asks what happens when compassion is absent

Compassion, ground rule for evidence-based practice: explores how compassion influences quality care and how it can be a measure of quality care; discusses whether or not compassion can be learned; and considers compassion as a part of the nursing identity

The author uses a quote from Norma Lang in the preface of the book:

‘… if we cannot name it, we cannot control it, finance it, teach it, research it or put it into public policy’ (p vii).

Taking its cue from the quote, the book challenges the reader to name or identify compassion and reflect on how it is integrated within their own lived experience as a nurse. We are invited to deconstruct our understanding of compassion and reconstruct it into known behaviours and approaches that can be learned and shared, and finally to demonstrate that compassion is the core and underpinning value for the realisation of person-centred nursing care. Early in the book it was encouraging to see a reference to the Person-centred Practice Framework (McCormack and McCance, 2017), which is a theoretical framework that identifies the constructs of person-centred practice at the micro level and which aligns to compassion as defined and discussed by Margreet van der Cingel in her book.

This article by Susan Dyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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