Compassion: Wherefore Art Thou?


  • Lorna M Davin 1Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and Gold Coast University Hospital
  • Jill E Thistlethwaite The University of Queensland


compassion, care, professionalism, values


Compassion is a health professional value that has received a lot of attention recently. In this paper we consider the nature of compassion, its definition and its expression in practice. We further link compassion to patient-centred care. There is debate about whether compassion can be learned, and therefore assessed. There are similar discussions in relation to ‘professionalism’ and the effects of the hidden curriculum. We conclude that compassion is everyone’s business and that learners require early and sustained patient and client contact with time for reflection to enable the delivery of compassionate care.

Author Biography

Lorna M Davin, 1Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and Gold Coast University Hospital

Lorna M. Davin, Principal Medical Education Officer, Centre for Medical Officer Recruitment and Education,
Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Butterfield Street, Herston Brisbane, QLD 4029, Australia


Originally published by The Higher Education Academy

PBLH, Vol 2, Issue 1 (January 2014)





How to Cite

Davin, L. M., & Thistlethwaite, J. E. (2016). Compassion: Wherefore Art Thou?. International Journal of Practice-Based Learning in Health and Social Care, 2(1), 142–146. Retrieved from