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Follow your (Com)Passion

Project exploring the experience of senior nursing and midwifery leaders of Compassionate Leadership

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, the RCN Foundation commissioned the King's Fund to explore the causes and consequences of poor mental health and well-being amongst nurses and midwives, including healthcare support workers and students, from across the United Kingdom.

The Courage of Compassion

The Courage of Compassion was published in September 2020, and sought to identify solutions to the issues which contributed to poor mental health and well-being across the professions. The report recommended the use of a framework called the ‘ABC of nurses and midwives core work needs.’ This aims to facilitate well-being and motivation at work and to reduce workplace stress. The ABC of core work needs involves:

  • Autonomy

  • Belonging

  • Contribution 

To complement this framework, the report also recommends changes to culture and leadership across nursing and midwifery through Compassionate Leadership (West et al, 2017). 

NHS People Promise

It has been 2 ½ years since the publication of The Courage of Compassion. There remains 39,652 nursing vacancies in the NHS alone, and newly qualified nurses continue to leave at a higher rate than any other year of experience. Capital Nurse project reports that 20% of newly qualified nurses leave their NHS Trusts within a year.

To try to address this, the NHS People Promise (2022) which is linked to the NHS Peoples Plan, includes seven elements to make a difference in improving the experience of working in the NHS. One of these elements is: “We are compassionate and inclusive.”

It was always the ambition of the RCN Foundation and the King's Fund, that The Courage of Compassion and its recommendations became part of the culture of nursing and midwifery.

We now want to find out if this ambition has come true.

Follow your (Com)Passion

The RCN Foundation have once again linked up with the King's Fund to launch an exciting new project Follow your (Com)Passion.

We want to understand how the ABC Framework and Compassionate Leadership is working for early career nurses and midwives across health and social care within the UK. We will also be exploring the experience of  senior nursing and midwifery leaders of Compassionate Leadership and their understanding of the early career nurses / midwives experiences of this.

Get involved

If you would like to be involved in this new and creative project, please download the expressions of interest form and email this to and we will be in touch with you very soon.