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Caring is a hallmark of quality care. While nurses take care of patients every day, they are also expected to be caring and have genuine concern for others. Teaching nursing students to actively care requires a pedagogy that goes beyond demonstrating caring activities. Physical action or verbal testimonies can be evidence of care, but they are not sufficient to indicate authentic caring. Nursing students can be taught how to care through practice in the art of caring. The following activities can be used to foster an attitude of caring: (1) Require students to perform a self-awareness of caring evaluation by responding to questions such as follows: Are you a caring person? What does that mean? (2) Be a storyteller. Personal stories from nursing educators' experiences can have an impact on students. (3) Have students interview patients and ask them, "What does caring mean to you?" (4) Ask students to reflect on 3 acts of kindness during each clinical day and share them during postconference. (5) Include 1 caring intervention such as avoid assumptions on the patient's care plan. This promotes an empathetic understanding from the patient's perspective. (6) Require a weekly personal caring plan; students identify 3 caring behaviors to demonstrate during clinical practice, describe implementation, and evaluate the patient's response. Nurse educators can also ask the patient, "How did the student make you feel today?" (7) Role play a statement or situation and have the student respond. The other students observe and evaluate verbal/nonverbal communication. Was authentic caring demonstrated?

 

Submitted by: By Peggy A. Shaw, MSN/ED, BSN, RN, Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Columbus, Ohio, mailto:pshaw@mccn.edu.