Teaching Compassionate Care

Can compassion in health care be taught? Nursing professor and UCalgary researcher Dr. Shane Sinclair, PhD, says ‘yes,’ but better training is needed.

After reviewing current compassion training programs, Sinclair and his team worked with health-care providers and patients to create a benchmark for what encompasses compassion. They then used this information to assess current training programs. He and his team think there is room for improvement.

The results of Sinclair’s review suggest compassion training needs input from patients, as they are the ones ultimately impacted. “We need to mature in our training programs to move beyond simply nurturing feelings of compassion to actually providing practitioners with tangible evidence-based clinical skills and behaviours to provide compassion to patients in a more meaningful, robust and sustainable way,” he says. 

For Sinclair, OWN.CANCER isn’t so much about dominating cancer but personalizing each patient’s care to their own needs and preferences. “In addition to a new state-of-the-art building, the new Calgary Cancer Centre means we will have a renewed focus on providing state-of-the-art compassionate care inside the building.”