Using Compassion and Kindness to Promote Better Patient Outcomes

Provided by Grand Canyon University

What does it mean to be a good nurse?
From understanding complex medical concepts to making a wide variety of patients feel comfortable, nursing can certainly be a challenge. The best nurses are able to treat all patients with kindness and compassion while meeting their medical needs. They’re able to be a light in an often overwhelming and lonely hospital environment.

In fact, it’s been shown that nurses who empathize with their patients actually promote better patient outcomes. A consumer health survey from McKinsey discovered that empathy is a major driver of patient satisfaction. That means being a good nurse extends far past bedside pleasantries. It includes recognizing the individuality of each patient and their circumstances. By treating each unique patient with a high level of care, you can cultivate a sense of trust and empower patients to share important details about symptoms, side effects and more.

How to Empathize with Your Patients
From 2016 to 2026, it’s predicted that there will be a 15 percent rise in registered nursing jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We need to educate all nurses – both current and future – on the importance of empathizing with patients to promote better patient outcomes. This includes taking each patient’s situation, perspective and feelings into account, along with communicating that understanding and acting on it in a helpful way. By going through those steps when beginning to treat a patient, you’re more likely to be attuned to their specific needs and earn their trust throughout the process. This can be beneficial when it comes to encouraging your patients to ask questions, get involved in care decisions and speak up about problems.

Fortunately, many schools are beginning to incorporate lessons that focus on compassion and empathy into their curriculum. This provides a more well-rounded education for new nursing graduates and better prepares them for unique aspects of their role.

Why Compassion Improves Patient Outcomes
By taking a few simple steps to show patients that you care, you can improve their overall well-being and ease their anxiety. As a nurse, you have the ability to brighten the health care experience for patients who are in pain or sick and surrounded by strangers and medical equipment. Anything from eye contact and a smile to pulling up a chair to listen to their story can make a major impact for your patient.

When a patient receives compassionate, individualized care, they’re more likely to:
• Recover more quickly, which means a shorter hospital stay
• Be more likely to tolerate pain and discomfort
• Have a positive attitude toward recovery
• Comply with post-discharge instructions

Clearly, kindness and compassion can go a long way in patient care.

If you’re interested in sharpening your health care skills and patient care knowledge, GCU offers a RN to BSN online program for nurses with an associate degree or diploma certificate in nursing. We can help you take your career to the next level in the fast-paced health care field. Some of the core classes in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Grand Canyon University cover topics such as nursing leadership and effective communication as well as ethical and spiritual decision-making in health care.

Visit to request information about GCU’s RN to BSN program, as well as check out scholarship opportunities and other benefits. To learn more about nursing with purpose, visit GCU’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions’ blog here.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at Please note, not all GCU programs are available in all states and in all learning modalities. Program availability is contingent on student enrollment. Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (800-621-7440; Important policy information is available in the University Policy Handbook at, while reserving its lawful rights in light of its Christian mission, is committed to maintaining an academic environment that is free from unlawful discrimination. Further detail on GCU’s Non-Discrimination policies can be found at The information printed in this material is accurate as of NOVEMBER 2018. For the most up-to-date information about admission requirements, tuition, scholarships and more, visit ©2018 Grand Canyon University