Monday, 27 February 2012

Thinking about compassion

I've been a bit quiet on the blog for a couple of reasons - returning from my trip to Australia and catching up, thinking about how best to engage through the blog with the wider academic community, and considering what I want to say about what I have been reading recently regarding compassion and education.

It seems to me that most commentators disconnect compassion from education. It is almost as if it is (probably) ok to educate nurses to degree level, but we mustn't forget about compassion (the implication for me is that compassion and education are two separate entities). I can't think of any educator that I know who would not consider that compassion/caring/attitudes/professional values etc etc were not an integral part of the degree level education that we offer students. I firmly believe that compassion should be part of the overall academic development of a student - graduate attributes reflect certain characteristics and for nursing it seems absolutely appropriate that we name this as something that we aspire to with all our graduates. I fully appreciate that nursing students need to have certain inherent characteristics. But I also strongly believe that a good education (in the university alongside practice) can assist students to develop compassion as part of an overall evidence-based approach to working with patients and others in practice.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

In the land down under

Have recently arrived in Sydney Australia for the second phase of my study tour (phase 1 was Seattle). I've met up with some excellent colleagues at University of Technology Sydney. We may be on the opposite ends of the globe, but we all seem to be grappling with similar issues. I was interested to hear about UTS's push to increase research capacity within what was once a mainly teaching focused organisation. They seem to be having great success in this - through established researchers and the development of new researchers. I look forward to finding out more.

I've had a chance to hear a bit more about pre-registration nursing education in Australia and the most striking difference that I have found so far is that students do around 860 hours clinical practice in UTS over their 3 years (as opposed to the 2300 hours required in the UK). I'm looking forward to meeting with colleagues to discuss practice and some of the challenges that I've already heard about - not least the capacity in practice to take students.

The sun isn't shining, but Sydney is warm and welcoming!