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Monday 24 October 2016 Instagram
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Compassion in practice: the 6 Cs

Compassion in practice: the 6 Cs

The CNO's '6 Cs' are Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment.

Having effective leaders throughout all care givers (so not just nurses but including all allied health professionals, healthcare assistants etc…) is also key to the delivery of this strategy – are you a leader? Could you be a leader?

Thinking about your own career, who would your role model be as a leader? Mine is the ward sister on the very first ward I experienced as a student nurse. She was central to how the ward ran; knew all the nurses and auxiliaries, got to know student/pupil nurses (yes – I am old enough to remember the enrolled nurse programme), and also knew the consultants very well and what made them tick – including how they took their coffee and what their favourite biscuits were.

That ward sister was inspirational. She was a true leader who ran her ward very well and had the respect of all those who worked there. She had great systems and processes set up to ensure the patients got the high quality care they should, ensured learners got the all the experience they needed in a supportive way, found time to develop her own team, and was fully committed to her ward.

All of this seemed to be done without any effort and she had the respect of all the staff who worked there: nurses (qualified and student), auxiliaries, domestics, ward clerk, medical students and medical staff.

All of the staff who made up the team were leaders in their own way, including the students: it may have been doing the night-time drinks round (with cocoa or ovaltine made with frothy hot milk), or ensuring Mr Smith got his dressing changed on time, but all these bits added up to the efficient running of the ward, which delivered high quality care.

Looking at the 6 Cs, I believe the first ward I worked on very easily ticked all those boxes – can you say this now for the area you work on? Some of you will say yes but I bet a lot of you say no. Why is that? Is it because not everyone takes on the responsibility of being a leader? Surely now that we have technology and first-class medicines, dressings and supplies available to help us, this gives us more time to care, develop professionally and be there for our colleagues, patients/families and the organisation you work for?

If we are to take on the strategy from the CNO and embrace the 6 Cs we will certainly need some of the courage she talks about. 'Go back to basics,' I hear many people cry, or get rid of the paperwork, or perhaps start to respect each other again. However we address the 6 Cs, we have to make decisions that will ensure all the patients we see/have influence over (for those who may not be direct care givers) are given the best possible care that they deserve.

I urge you all to look at the strategy, even if it is just the 6 Cs, and look at your practice and evaluate how you work and look to change six things, one for each of the Cs – however small the changes may be.


I agree with this article whole heartily and I am also old enough to remember the old nursing systems. I believe I also encountered the 6 c's during the start of my training in 1981 and my early career .
Maybe the move away from traditional school of nursing tuition was the start of the decline , maybe we are recruiting the people with impressive academia that are unable to embrace the value of true nursing compassion.
Nursing is a vocation not just a career structure . I certainly have encountered huge gaps in basic nursing care from student nurses. I feel we do need to go back to basics and embrace our profession and offer learners as well as trained staff the opportunity to be the best they can!

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