Compassion in the time of Coronavirus

In these unprecedented times, it is essential that health-workers around the world are supported and equipped to deal with the daily challenges they face, and those which are still to come, both professionally and personally, physically and emotionally. 

Since the onset of COVID-19, we have witnessed many acts of human kindness and compassion. Our new way of life has prompted the creation of new encounters that demonstrate the power of human compassion and shared experience. 

Compassion is something that is core business to the nursing and midwifery community. Our acute sense of empathy and deep desire to help others is often one of the forces that drives us towards these professions, and it guides our behaviour and the care we give through every moment of our careers. Since the onset of COVID-19, nurses and midwives around the world have stepped forward and willingly placed themselves in areas of support and care, standing together regardless of role, seniority or locality and ensuring that throughout the trauma of these difficult cases and high patient load, the patient retains their one important identity – their humanity, whilst also retaining their own. 

In spite of the multiple and heavy challenges of the coronavirus and the new physical restrictions we face, we are still managing to create connections through acts of kindness and compassion.  Whether through individual or collective acts, from local and international donation to volunteers supporting key workers, to the simple act of clapping as a community to show our support and respect for our frontline workers, people around the world have found new ways to show that they care.  

We know that the battle with this pandemic is likely to be long, and in order to protect the world’s populations, it is vital that we as health-workers show ourselves the same compassion we offer to our patients. To avoid burnout, to stay healthy in mind and body we must practice self-compassion, self-care. We all know the importance of putting on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else, but how often do we as nurses and midwives take a minute to put this into practice? 

Over the coming months, Nursing Now will provide tools for the nursing and midwifery community, especially for Nightingale Challenge employers and participants, which aim to boost and support both physical and emotional well-being. From expert-led webinars on the art of self-compassion to providing access to poetry and expressions of support from around the world, we hope to use our global connections to fuel the collective response to COVID-19. For our efforts to be sustainable, it is now time that we show ourselves the same compassion that we offer to those in our care.