In this short essay I will explain the reasoning for why compassion is the most important attribute for any new student midwife to display. Compassion is a feeling of pity and distress of someone less fortunate or suffering, this will include the desire to help and alleviate it (Collins Online Dictionary, 2020).
The foundation for all care guidelines for a new student midwife is implemented by the Nursing and Midwifery council (NMC). The Code for the NMC is seen as a way of reinforcing professionalism for future and existing midwives. Student Midwives emulate the code in practice with guidance from their mentors on placement (NMC Enabling Professionalism, 2020). 1.1 of the NMC code states, treat people with kindness, respect, and compassion (NMC Code, 2020). Compassion is clearly stated as a paramount element in the NMC Code and is fundamental to patient care and can be described as intelligent kindness. It can only improve patient experiences and the quality of care they receive. There is often a misconception that compassion is a weakness and is sometimes confused with kindness.
However, compassion is a quality we may innately possess and manifests itself in times of suffering and loss. The empathy we feel ignites our need to support and help alleviate those in need. It is the unfolding of moments between the interaction and relationships with others. This is shown in many ways for example listening, communicating, supporting, helping, empathising, caring, and advocating (Clifton and Steel, 2015). These relationships are from both communications silent or spoken, or even from a moment of reassuring eye contact. You do not have to speak to show compassion. Listening first, speak second. The giving and receiving of compassion have major beneficial impacts of the human physiology (Compassion/The Psychologist, 2020). Compassion negatives can be from mood and fear.
A patient’s mood has a huge impact and opens a doorway to enable compassion to flourish. This is important for a student midwife to show compassion as this leads to great relationships in practice. Midwifery Students realise the importance of positive relationships, and the importance of compassion as they advocate for mothers and are ambassadors of maternity care. Student midwives will act in a way that comforts and relaxes the patient. Compassion is shown in many ways, through body language and having polite and clear communication with patients. Compassion is great way for a student midwife on placement to get involved in the care and show understanding and gain knowledge and experience. It allows a novice midwife to be a supporting and calming influence in childbirth.
Compassion means many things to different people however, to a student midwife it makes them more resilient, kind and understanding. There is something to be said about never underestimating the power of a smile and the smallest act of kindness. Compassion is central to how others perceive their care and is the most important attribute for any new student midwife to display.