Conference to focus on importance of caring and compassion in nurses’ work


The need to place a renewed focus on the importance of caring and compassion for patients in the development of nursing as a profession will be discussed at a conference in Dublin this week.

Dr Catherine Darker, assistant professor in Health Services Research at Trinity College, said there needed to be a discussion within the nursing profession on how to balance the importance of taking the time to take care of the needs of the patient, with the growing demands of stretched staffing resources and managerial, audit and specialist clinical duties.

The conference, titled Careful Nursing – Sensitive, Competent and Professional Nursing , is being held by the Adelaide Hospital Society this Thursday, with the aim of placing a renewed focus on the importance of caring in the development of nursing as a caring profession and the advancement of the careful nursing model.

“Nursing in Ireland and internationally has changed so much over the last five to 10 years. As a profession, nurses have taken on more responsibility in increasingly specialised clinical and audit duties and also the technological advances associated with patient care.

“This is all good but there is one potential downside – time is being taken away from bedside care which has adverse effects on the patient,” said Dr Darker, who organised the conference.

She said patients, families and the profession all recognised the need for more compassion and caring in nursing.

Florence Nightingale
Dr Therese Meehan, adjunct senior lecturer in nursing at University College Dublin, will address the conference on the careful nursing philosophy and model

she has pioneered. Careful nursing has its origin in the work of early Irish nurses, some of whom played a key role in assisting Florence Nightingale during the Crimean war.

“It emphasises the importance of creating a safe and compassionate healing environment. It fosters trustworthy collaborative practice among health professionals and highlights the need for nurses to care also for themselves and one another,” she said.

The results of a pilot project of the careful nursing model in a ward for the elderly at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin in 2012-2013 showed enhanced standards of patient care and increased control of nurses over their own practice.

Funding has been provided by the Dublin Mid-Leinster Nursing and Midwifery Planning and Development Unit for a three-year careful nursing project at St Vincent’s.

The Careful Nursing conference : Thursday , 9am- 4.30pm, at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, the Gas Building, 24 D’Olier Street, Dublin 2.