Compassion and its benefits are currently being researched in the field of Positive Psychology and Social Psychology. Compassion is the identification with another’s suffering and often includes the desire to do something to help them. Compassion allows us to connect and through that connection, we develop an increased motivation to relieve their suffering.
- For the past 5 years, The Compassionate Birth Project has been running Compassionate Care tutorials with 4th and 5th year UCT medical students. The purpose of the tutorials has been to provide both a listening platform for the medical students and experiential exercises which focus on self-care, identification of a personal compassionate mentor, empathy, labour support and on the value of self-worth.
- The feedback from the students has been overwhelmingly positive. The most common reflection during feedback (over 90% of students, who are given an open mandate for reflection and are not asked to reflect on specific questions), is that the midwives need a similar form of compassion training so that they will treat their patients better in labour.
- The provision of compassion tutorials as an intervention can be scaled up for more in-depth, long term benefit, and can be adapted and modified to suit any aspect of maternity/labour ward care, or any members of the maternity care team.