Compassion in practice

Care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

Compassion in practice is the vision and strategy for nursing and care staff drawn up by Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England (CNO) at the NHS Commissioning Board, and Viv Bennett, Director of Nursing at the Department of Health.

We strive to embed these six compassion fundamentals across every aspect of our business and the care we provide for our patients. The six Cs are not just the business of nurses and care staff, they are the business of all our health and care staff: from doctors to porters, to physiotherapists, to care workers and our managers. We work hard to ensure that they resonate strongly with both our staff and people who use our services.


Care is our core business and that of our organisation. The care we deliver helps the individual person and improves the health of the whole community. People receiving care expect it to be right for them, consistently, throughout every stage of their life.


Compassion is how care is given through relationships based on empathy, respect and dignity. It can also be described as intelligent kindness and is central to how people perceive their care.


Competence means all those in caring roles must have the ability to understand an individual’s health and social needs and the expertise, clinical and technical knowledge to deliver effective care and treatments based on research and evidence.


Communication is central to successful caring relationships and to effective team working. Listening is as important as what we say and do and essential for "no decision about me without me". Communication is the key to a good workplace with benefits for those in our care and staff alike.


Courage enables us to do the right thing for the people we care for, to speak up when we have concerns and to have the personal strength and vision to innovate and to embrace new ways of working.


A commitment to our patients and populations is a cornerstone of what we do. We need to build on our commitment to improve the care and experience of our patients, to take action to make this vision and strategy a reality for all and meet the health, care and support challenges ahead.