Doing the little things: the meaning of compassionate care to Scottish student nurses

David Hunter, Jacqueline McCallum, Dora Howes

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Compassion is a topical issue in nursing, in relation toclinical practice, nurse education and policy. By reviewing the literature focusing on this aspect of nurse education, it was apparent that the experiences of student nurses themselves regarding compassionate care had received little attention. This paper describes a study which aimed to address this gap in the literature. The underpinning methodology used within the study is that of an exploratory-descriptive qualitative (EDQ) design. Following ethical approval, data was collected via individual, semi-structured interviews with fifteen student nurses across four different geographical locations in the West of Scotland. Findings identified that student nurses described compassionate care as 'doing the little things', small acts of kindness which have an impact on the patient or relative. In addition, compassion relies on communication and the building of relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalGSTF Journal of Nursing and Health Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • student nurses
  • qualitative research
  • compassionate care


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