Nursing faculty are facing challenges in facilitating student learning of complex concepts such as compassionate practice. Compassion is a stated expectation of Registered Nurse (RN) and student nurse practice, and yet how it is enabled and learned within the challenging environments of university and health service provider organisations are not yet understood. There is currently an international concern that student nurses are not being adequately prepared for compassion to flourish and for compassionate practice to be sustained upon professional qualification. In order to investigate the experiences of nursing faculty in their preparation of student nurses for compassionate practice, an exploratory aesthetic phenomenological research study was undertaken using in depth interviews with five nurse teachers in the North of England. Findings from this study were analysed and presented using embodied interpretation, and indicate that nurse teachers recognise the importance of the professional ideal of compassionate practice alongside specific challenges this expectation presents. They have concerns about how the economically constrained and target driven practice reality faced by RNs promotes compassionate practice, and that students are left feeling vulnerable to dissonance between learned professional ideals and the RNs' practice reality they witness. Nurse teachers also experience dissonance within the university setting, between the pressures of managing large student groups and the time and opportunity required for small group discussion with students that enables compassion to develop in a meaningful and emotionally sustainable way. Teachers also express discomfort due to a perceived promotion of an 'unachievable utopia' within practice, identifying how the constraints within practice could be better managed to support professional ideals. The nurse teachers within this exploratory study identify the need for strong nurse leadership in practice to challenge constraints and realign the reality of practice with professional ideals, and the need to foster student resilience for maintaining the professional ideals of compassionate practice. This exploratory study promotes the use of embodied interpretation for shared understanding of phenomenological research findings.
Nurse education today