Becoming a caring & compassionate practitioner

Thank you for coming here and engaging with these online learning materials on becoming a caring & compassionate practitioner.

The caring and compassionate practitioner pages are designed to help you develop skills and techniques to add to your skills in being caring and compassionate. Each page explores a different challenge that you are likely to experience in your personal and professional life.

We have developed these with the health and social care practitioner in mind, but the materials may be of use to others; just apply to your personal context as you work thought the exercises.

This page is the starting point for the care & compassion section of the website. It has three core elements for you to complete. The first is a presentation on care & compassion, defining what it is and exploring why it is important for practice. Please complete this before engaging with the other materials.

The second and third elements offer you the opportunity to reflect on the principles you have learned about care & compassion, dignity & respect and apply them to practice situations.

By the end of this page you will be able to:

  • Define care & compassion, understand what they mean in practice and how to enact these qualities in your work
  • Define dignity & respect, understand what they mean in practice and how to enact these qualities in your work
  • Understand what we mean by having a ‘transcendent lens’ and how that can help you value others and prioritise others, specifically patients/clients in your practice
  • Critically consider how care & compassion, dignity & respect can be challenged in your workplace and what strategies could be actioned to address this
  • Reflect on the experience of patients/clients and begin to really appreciate the value of care & compassion, dignity & respect in practice.

To begin please click on the image below and engage with the presentation on care & compassion. To help you with your understanding and reflections on this presentation please also read the following as much of the content is taken from these two sources:

  • Clouston, T.J. 2018. Evidencing caring values in everyday practice. In: T.J. Clouston, L. Westcott and S.W. Whitcombe (Eds). Transitions to practice in the health and social care practitioners. Cumbria, UK: M&K publications.
  • Clouston, T.J. 2018. Transforming learning: Teaching compassion and caring values in higher education, Journal of Further and Higher Education 42, 7, 1015-1024.
  • Gwella Leadership Portal HEIW, which has a wealth of resources of compassionate leadership, compassionate care, leadership and working in health and social care

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Now that you have completed the presentation on care & compassion please listen to this video by Hiro Tanaka, orthopaedic surgeon and other staff at Aneurin Bevan Health Board in Wales describing how they define care, compassion, dignity & respect in their everyday practice. As you listen please consider how they are applying the principles of care & compassion in their attitudes and values to work and their everyday relationships with patients/clients. You may not have heard or understand the term compassionate leadership yet, but it can be defined by four qualities or skills i.e.  attending to others (this includes listening); empathising with others; showing understanding to others, and helping or supporting others. Think about the skills and qualities you can observe the staff using in the video, and see if you can list them down under these headings. This will help you with the following exercise.


Click anywhere on the digital noticeboard below to share your thoughts regarding the following:

  • Can you think of three things you feel the staff did well?
  • What do you think impacted on the patients the most?
  • What do you think about Hiro’s ideas about culture change and the importance of valuing staff and reducing fear to raise concerns?
  • Reflect on how this approach could address the issues raised in the Inquiries highlighted in the care and compassion presentation.

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Finally, watch this short excerpt from a film by Amanda Waring entitled ‘What do you see’. Think about how care & compassion, dignity & respect could have been incorporated into this scenario. Specifically think through what skills, behaviours and values should have been applied and how you would enact these. What do you think the patient was feeling and experiencing? Develop a reflective piece on this using any media you like e.g. mindmaps, blogs, drawings or other creative media and add this to your professional or personal CPD portfolio.

Thank you for engaging with the materials on this page. We hope you have found these materials and exercises useful and meaningful. Now you have completed this first page of becoming a caring & compassionate practitioner please go to either the Exploring & Understanding Personal Beliefs, Values and Behaviours or Understanding why Caring & Compassionate Practice is Important pages, where you will find a presentation on the therapeutic use of self. This offers some practical skills on your journey to becoming a caring & compassionate practitioner.

To reference written materials on this page please cite:

Clouston, T.J. 2018. Becoming a Caring & Compassionate Practitioner, available at:, [Accessed: date]

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