Student's perceptions of compassion
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: In response to a reported lack of compassion in healthcare, healthcare agencies have highlighted the need to evaluate how compassion is dealt with during health professionals’ undergraduate training. There is a dearth of research in relation to compassion in Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) training. Aim: To explore SLT students’ perceptions and experiences of compassion during training. Methods & Procedures: The study had two parts. The first, an exploratory questionnaire, was a mixture of qualitative and quantitative questions designed to collect data regarding the perceptions of 18 members of a cohort of SLT students. The findings of the questionnaire were then explored in greater detail during a focus group made up of four members of the same cohort. The resulting qualitative data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis for emergent and super-ordinate themes. Outcomes & Results: Participants identified elements of compassion but demonstrated some misconceptions about what compassion is. They reported that it was important, but sometimes lacking in SLT due to service constraints, lack of empathy, prioritisation of the medical aspects of care and personal values. Participants felt that compassion could be learned through discussion at university and experience with patients. They indicated that formal assessment of compassion was difficult, suggesting reflection as an alternative. Conclusions: Raising the profile of compassion by addressing it during undergraduate training may increase speech and language therapists’ awareness of their own iii compassionate behaviour and the factors which impact on this. It may also lead to prioritisation of more humanistic elements of healthcare. Areas for future research have been identified. Keywords: compassion, clinical education, speech and language therapy.
BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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