1. Ford, Danica RN

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Compassionate Care Connection

I was inspired while reading "Exploring the Compassionate Care Connection" in the October/December 2010 JCN by Lori Burnell. I have been an oncology nurse for a little over 2 years and felt I was starting to become callused. I have permitted other nurses to influence the way I think and act. By participating in the gossip and judgment of others, I became what I promised I never would be. This article reminded me why I became a nurse and the difference I can make by having true compassion for others, patients and coworkers alike.


At the start of my nursing career I held a strong passion for patients and their families. I looked forward to work knowing I had the opportunity to help make a difference. I offered prayer to patients and many were open; I made time to hear their stories. Over time, my compassion has dwindled. As nurses, we become accustomed to the pain and suffering of people and we allow ourselves to lose the ability to recognize the needs of each individual.


I've heard that the difference between pity and compassion is compassion moves you to do something or to help change a situation. Burnell points out, "Compassion is a sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it" (p. 307). A clear understanding of compassion is lacking in nursing and in society as a whole. As Christian nurses, we view Jesus as the ultimate example of compassion; we are called to be like him, and be examples to others. In the everyday work of a nurse, the task-oriented climate reflects an excuse not to live out compassion. However, compassion must be priority because compassion goes beyond the physical and offers the spiritual connection. Compassion involves actively listening, offering hope, taking the time to explain, treating people as individuals, putting other's issues before our own, and, most importantly, forming a relationship.


If every nurse could embody the concept of compassion, nursing could become what it is striving to be. After all, compassion is "nursing's most precious asset" (Burnell, p. 308). I appreciate how Burnell expresses that compassion is central to many religious beliefs and is emphasized in the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics. Compassion is not just a feel good concept; it is a way of thinking, of acting and of living. Burnell suggests many ways that compassion can be explored through research. The article has renewed my desire to be more compassionate, and I hope to be a participator or even an initiator of one of the suggested research studies.


It is refreshing to read the Journal of Christian Nursing because it offers current, functional knowledge with a Christ-centered perspective on nursing and the profession. As a Christian nurse, I relate to the articles. I am encouraged and enlightened, and look forward to the next issue.


-Danica Ford, RN


St. Anthony Medical Center Rockford, IL


Practicing Column Articles Wanted

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Coming soon in JCN


* Is Spiritual Care Christian Evangelism?


* Reflective Practice: Christian and Professional Perspectives


* Faith-Based Substance Abuse Recovery Programs


* Dealing With Suffering


* Increasing Student Competence in Spiritual Care


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