Compassion: Wherefore Art Thou?

Lorna M Davin, Jill E Thistlethwaite


Compassion is a health professional value that has received a lot of attention recently. In this paper we consider the nature of compassion, its definition and its expression in practice. We further link compassion to patient-centred care. There is debate about whether compassion can be learned, and therefore assessed. There are similar discussions in relation to ‘professionalism’ and the effects of the hidden curriculum. We conclude that compassion is everyone’s business and that learners require early and sustained patient and client contact with time for reflection to enable the delivery of compassionate care.


compassion; care; professionalism, values

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Originally published by The Higher Education Academy

PBLH, Vol 2, Issue 1 (January 2014)



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ISSN 2051-6223