Retired Nurse VP/CNO Challenges Leaders to Promote Compassionate and Respectful Care

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Jim Murphy’s recent post on the importance of respect and compassion in creating ideal healthcare organizations sparked some dynamic discussion among healthcare executives on several LinkedIn groups.  In and of itself an exciting journalistic outcome and there was much wisdom in the comments.

For instance, Linda RanLinda Rankinkin, RN MSN who has a distinguished career path in nurse/healthcare leadership shared “Compassionate care is essential to providing safe patient care which should be the top priority of all healthcare staff. Patients/families may be reticent to make needs known when they do not feel their caregivers are caring. And, caregivers may be more likely to discredit concerns patients raise when they lack compassion and respect.”

I asked if she would elaborate on her thinking and she provided a host of valuable questions for Confident Voices in Healthcare Blog that HC and Nurse leaders can use to reflect, discuss, and promote these values.

“All leaders should ask themselves:

  • What do I do to demonstrate and promote compassionate care not only for patients but for staff as well?
  • Do I talk about compassionate care and respect when orienting new employees?
  • Do I focus on these elements when reviewing patient and employee satisfaction survey results?
  • Are compassion and respect values in my organization?”
  • What does my organization do to help staff renew themselves?
  • Do we offer renewal retreats for staff?
  • Do we staff as well as we can and do we avoid asking staff to work overtime or do double shifts?
  • Do we offer counseling to staff after a crisis (especially important for ED staff/physicians)?
  • Are compassion and/or respect found anywhere in your organization’s Mission, Vision, or Values statements?

For Nursing Leaders, especially those who have or are working on Magnet or Pathway to Excellence designation, I would add the following questions:

  • Are compassion and/or respect prominent in my Nursing Philosophy?
  • Do I provide an adequate orientation for all new employees, especially new graduates?
  • How do I/we recognize excellence in nursing care by individual staff?
  • Do I provide a strong shared governance program for nursing staff?
  • When reviewing nursing unit P.I.’s do I include the turnover of patients (as well as nurse to patient ratios) as one of the key criteria in determining what staffing a unit really needs?”

Thanks for your insights, Linda.  The more we talk about respect and compassion, the more we’ll ensure it’s presence!  (If you have a philosophy or stories you’d like to highlight via a blogpost please write to me at

Linda Rankin, RN MSN-Adjunct Professor

Retired V.P. Patient Care Services for Asante Health Systems, Linda held thirty plus years of progressively more responsible positions in healthcare organizations including key roles in operations, support management, strategic planning, education and organizational development, employee development/training, project management and labor relations.

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