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Title: Needing permission : the experience of self-care and self-compassion in nursing
Author: Andrews, Hannah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 9565
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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In the National Health Service (NHS) there appears to be a culture of substantial change, with many nurses highlighting the impact of this on their own wellbeing (BPS, 2014). Reports following negative healthcare experiences, such as those reported at Mid Staffordshire (Francis, 2013), led to a number of initiatives emphasising the importance of nurses delivering compassionate care. However, there is a dearth of literature focusing on how nurses care for themselves as they try to provide compassionate care in a challenging job within a climate of constant change. The literature places a focus on the more negative aspects associated with providing care such as compassion fatigue, burnout and vicarious traumatisation, rather than on nurse's ability to look after themselves through self-care and self-compassion. The purpose of this study is to focus on experiences of self-care and self-compassion in nursing and how these experiences may relate to compassionate care giving. Constructivist Grounded Theory was used, and purposive and theoretical sampling were utilised to recruit nurses working within two NHS Trusts in the UK. Semi structured interviews were undertaken with 30 nurses from general, mental health and learning disabilities and at different levels of seniority. Data analysis was conducted in line with the Constructivist Grounded Theory approach as suggested by Charmaz (2014) and resulted in the emergence and construction of three concepts: 1) 'Hardwired to be caregivers' - vocation versus role 2) Needing a stable base and; 3) Managing the emotions of caring. All three concepts were then linked with a core process: needing permission to self-care and be self-compassionate. Nurses needed permission from others and from themselves in order to be self-caring and self-compassionate. An inability to do this appeared to impact upon their own wellbeing and compassionate care giving to others. Nurses in this study described how they struggled particularly with self-compassion. Helping nurses to be proactively more self-caring and self-compassionate may increase their ability to manage emotions and prevent some of the more negative consequences of nursing such as burnout and compassion fatigue. Participants identified that if they had formal permission (e.g. within nursing guidance) to look after themselves then they would be more likely to engage in it and benefit from self-care and self-compassion. Future research within this field is recommended in order to gain an understanding of the effects of self-care and self-compassion initiatives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RT Nursing