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Why is Compassion Essential in Nursing and Psychiatric Care?

Compassion is one of the most important things you can offer in healthcare. It is the building block for all your future patient interactions. If patients feel like they can be comfortable with you, they will not hold back as much information that can help you offer them the best care.

While compassion seems like something that should just come naturally, it is essential to remember that you need to feel it and express it in meaningful ways to your patients. If you are new to nursing or the world of health care, it is helpful to ask yourself if you truly provide the level of compassionate consideration that you should.

Tips for offering compassionate care

Outlined below are tips for offering more compassionate care.

Focus on the present situation and avoid letting thoughts drift to your next task

It is difficult to offer compassion if you’re thinking about other things. Focusing is harder for some people than for others. Anyone can have a difficult time focusing on a patient if they have challenges in their own life. Making eye contact with your patients helps you focus and shows you pay attention to them. Appropriate body language, nodding and responding verbally to show you are listening and empathizing.

Ask about important people and things in your patients’ lives.

A great way to provide compassionate support and set patients at ease is to ask about their families, pets and hobbies. As you ask questions, you can get to know your patients better and make them more relaxed, even if they are dealing with difficult circumstances. Who doesn’t like talking about their kids or grandkids, job or hobby?

At the same time, you do need to be aware of signs that patients do not want to talk about certain things and move on to something else. Occasionally you may encounter a patient who doesn’t like to discuss their life with you, so the best way forward is to do what you need to do while being as polite as possible.

Always use a reasonable bedside manner and an appropriate tone of voice.

Greeting a patient properly and using an appropriate tone of voice is critical. Even if you know you have to get close to someone to offer care, it is good manners to ask them before you get close or touch them. Tell them what you need to do and where you will touch them, so they are not surprised.

Not getting frustrated or making them feel stupid for asking questions. They should always feel comfortable asking for explanations. Some questions can be avoided by being straightforward about what you need to care for them.

Knowing how to empathize with many scenarios properly is essential.

In psychiatry, you will encounter patients with many mental health issues and traumas. It is your job to find a way to empathize with at least some aspect of the patient’s situation. This can be as simple as acknowledging that their situation is challenging or that they are in pain. Of course, some psychiatric health issues will be easier to empathize with than others. However, all patients will need compassion when working on their mental health.

To offer compassionate care, providers must take care of their mental health.

Those in healthcare must take care of their mental health to avoid compassion fatigue, which can affect the quality of care they offer patients and their families.

In the healthcare field, some situations can be very stressful. Offering a high level of emotional support to many people dealing with a range of mental and physical health issues can start to affect the emotional health and well-being of any healthcare worker, particularly those who offer mental health services and counseling.

Practicing the art of self-compassion is essential and takes time to learn.

Over time, any healthcare provider must take the time to practice self-compassion so they can avoid burnout and mental issues. Health professionals need to take time to do something good for themselves when they are not at the office. It is too easy to dwell on the workday and what must be faced the next day.

One must avoid getting so wrapped up in the problems of others that one stops doing things that bring them joy. Even if you just set aside a small chunk of time each day to do something that genuinely benefits your emotional and physical well-being, it can make a huge difference in your overall happiness in your personal and professional life. When you are healthier, you can offer better care and support to your patients.

Compassionate care improves patients’ outcomes.

When patients are treated with compassion, they are more relaxed and heal more efficiently. As a result, recovery times can be reduced.

It is critical to acknowledge patients’ feelings.

People want to know that they are being heard and not just having their feelings brushed aside, even if a patient is expressing something that is just anger or frustration. It should be acknowledged even if it is directed toward the care provider.

Respect the privacy of patients as much as you can

The level of care offered at a hospital can seem overwhelming. While patients must realize that providers have protocols they absolutely must follow to provide a particular group of care, it is essential to do just what is necessary. A common complaint is that care providers are in and out of a patient’s room so often that the patient feels like they have no privacy or a chance to rest genuinely. In this case, it is best to make sure the patient knows how to call for assistance if needed and then keep room visits to a minimum. Some people are more private, while others enjoy a lot of extra attention, so it is essential to know what individual patients prefer and want from their care provider.

There is a growing need for compassionate psychiatric care nurses.

Psychiatric mental healthcare is a growing field. Unfortunately, modern times have led to a rise in mental health disorders. As a result, more medical facilities need specially trained nurses to offer compassionate psychiatric mental health care to people from all backgrounds.

If you are a nurse with a BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) who might be debating a career change, an MSN-PMHNP program is an excellent way to advance your qualifications and earning potential. Spring Arbor University offers an exceptional online program that can be completed in just 2.5 years while you continue to work at your current job. The one-to-one support enables you to easily navigate your course by utilizing the highest quality resources available through expert faculty.

What are the specific duties of a psychiatric nurse practitioner?

Psychiatric care nurses provide a wide range of care, including assessing mental health, recommending treatment, offering psychotherapy, prescribing medications to treat disorders and chemical imbalances, and helping patients overcome drug and alcohol addiction.

Why should I consider an advanced degree in psychiatric nursing?

Mental health nursing offers a lot of benefits. It is a rewarding career where you help many people from all backgrounds learn to heal from mental illness by bringing the emotional support, counseling and medical treatment they need to lead a fulfilling and healthy life.

From a career standpoint, an advanced degree may help increase your earnings. In addition, mental health nursing is set to experience enormous growth and demand, offering excellent job security and potential for promotions throughout your career.

Where do psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners work?

As a mental health nurse, your skills are in high enough demand that you can find work in almost any part of the country. For example, mental health nurses may work at hospitals, correctional facilities, private psychiatric practices, substance abuse centers, schools or behavioral institutions. This means several different job options when working in this sector.


Compassion is essential for being a good healthcare professional, but you also need to take good care of your mental health to provide the best care to your patients. Patients who receive thoughtful, compassionate care feel more valued and recover more quickly.

Every healthcare worker must be compassionate to people from all backgrounds in their daily work.