Can You Teach Compassion?

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Can You “Teach” Compassion

As nurse educators, who could be a better example of teaching compassion to us than the Son of God Himself, Jesus Christ? Jesus was the ultimate teacher, healer, and lover of mankind. Matthew 9:35-39 states:

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’”(NKJV)

As Christians, Jesus Christ is our example of how to live. If Jesus could have compassion for those who He loved, so should we. We should show this compassion to our patients as we seek to help them reach healing. We should seek to teach our students how to have compassion for those that they will serve.

Compassion, or caring, can be viewed as “nursing’s most precious asset” (Schantz, 2007), a fundamental element of nursing care (Dietze and Orb, 2000), and as one of the strengths of the profession. One can think of few other professions that are known for their “caring”. But this act of caring does not come naturally to the nursing student-it must be taught. The nurse educator must seek out specific exercises to instill caring practices in the nursing student. According to Wright (2004), “Society has witnessed an increase in the power of technology, and this appears to be mirrored in nursing, where the technical and managerial aspects of care take priority over care delivery - possibly because the expansion of nurses’ role has eroded the essence of nursing.” The nurse of today is so busy with computer charting, monitoring, and the technical duties of nursing that little time is actually left for “caring” for the...
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