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Staff experiences of compassion on acute inpatient wards

Pem, S. (2021). Staff experiences of compassion on acute inpatient wards. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


There has been a growing body of research focusing on the efficacy of the compassionate mind approach and its integration into mental health services. However, there has been limited research exploring its applicability for inpatient service users, and less so for staff nurses working in this area of mental health. This study presents the findings from a larger qualitative study that explored staff nurses’ experiences of compassion in an acute inpatient setting in order to get a baseline understanding of how they experience compassion in their workplace. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with seven staff nurses who were currently in employment and analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The findings yielded two main themes comprising of ‘Perspectives of Compassion’ and ‘The Conflict Within’, and suggested that staff nurses oscillated in what, compassion is in general, what they perceive it to be, and how they experience it in their work. Nurse participants appeared to have a desire to engage in care and compassion, towards patients, as they understand it; but that this desired flow of compassion is modulated against the backdrop of when to engage, disengage and when to compassionately come back. The complexity of their experience appeared to be influenced by individual, professional, interpersonal, and psychological factors within the context of an acute inpatient ward. The results were contextualised using theoretical frameworks from the Compassion Mind Approach and Psychological Flexibility. The findings could add to the evidence base underpinning staff training programmes and shed light on how compassion can be integrated in the inpatient system as a whole.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Selene Pem thesis April 2021 EWDP Redacted.pdf]
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