Dr Jones Bonofiglio Photo 300

Teaching and learning compassion and self-compassion in nursing

Dr. Kristen Jones-Bonofiglio

Award: Phoenix Project Fellowship (2017)

Co-Sponsor: Lakehead University

  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Medical education and curricula
  • Provider wellness/resilience

Kristen’s work investigates what compassion looks like in contemporary nursing practice, a key dimension of which is considering how we can better teach compassion in healthcare education. Can we teach compassion as a skill, much like we teach people how to give an injection? 

Compassion is difficult, but in some ways it’s the most important aspect of health professionals’ work. Kristen’s research explored how we teach and learn compassion and how we can evaluate it within classroom and clinical settings. 

During her fellowship, Kristen brought nursing students, educators, and clinical instructors together for focus group sessions. They discussed how they employ compassion in nursing practice and their personal lives. Then, she held a three-day digital storytelling workshop. At the workshop, participants created videos about teaching and learning compassion. Using video made it easy to bring complex ideas forward in a personal way. The videos can help future students understand why compassion is meaningful and important. 

Kristen’s fellowship also examined self-compassion as a foundation for well-being and compassionate care. She feels that self-compassion is the way to nurture and sustain resilience. She hopes that we will highlight its importance for first-year nursing students as well as for graduate students and those in clinical practice. She highlighted recommendations for responsive curricula on compassionate nursing care—for the self and for others.


Hear Dr. Kristen Jones-Bonofiglio talk about her work