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Having compassion for the pain and suffering of patients is an important part of being a nurse. Often considered the mother of modern nursing, English nurse Florence Nightingale became famous for her courage to show compassion for wounded patients on the battlefield during the Crimean War. Many World War II nurses lost their own lives while compassionately caring for GIs. Today's nurses continue the legacy of compassion, and understand the many benefits this trait provides for patients and their families.
Compassion and Peace of Mind
Patients who are shown compassion by the nurses who care for them are more likely to be comfortable in times of illness, pain and mental stress. Whether preparing for surgery, recovering from an injury or fighting a disease, compassion can help make pain more tolerable and ease the minds of nervous patients. Compassionate care gives patients support and confidence when they need it most.
Privacy and Dignity
Nurses who show compassion toward their patients also give them a sense of dignity during a time when their privacy is limited. For example, if a nurse knocks before entering a room, this will make the patient feel his privacy is important, even in a hospital setting. When a nurse is aware of patient concerns and feelings during certain exams and tests, she will show concern for the patient's dignity.
A show of compassion for patients' feelings and concerns will also help them to feel respected during a time of uncertainty. Nurses who take the time to explain procedures and tests and listen to patients' concerns help put their minds at ease and make them feel they are important. Showing patients that how they feel matters decreases the burden of being ill or injured. A feeling of being respected allows patients to relax and focus on getting well instead of worrying about the care they are receiving.
Effects of Compassion on the Nurse
Not only does compassionate nursing care benefit patients, it also has a profound effect on the nurses who practice this vital trait. Nurses who feel a sense of concern for their patient's well being typically enjoy their jobs more than those who focus less on the emotional side of the profession. They are more aware of the pain and fear patients go through, which gives them a sense of connection to their careers. The ability to relate to patients on a deeper level increases compassionate feelings and gives nurses who practice their profession in this manner self gratification for provided emotional support.