What are the 6 Cs and why are they important?

16 December 2021 By Michael Bowyer

​If you’re already well into your nursing career then you will be very familiar with the 6 Cs of nursing and it should be something that comes very naturally to you! If you’re new to the concept then it’s they are a very important part of nursing you should frequently bear in mind. Their purpose is to ensure patients are looked after with care and compassion every day. While the healthcare landscape may evolve over time with new research, emerging tech and innovative ideas, these six standards are a constant that remain the same.

As they are an important set of values for all health and social care workers, we thought we’d provide a little refresher on why they play such a pivotal role in helping you provide exceptional care to your patients and excel in your nursing career. No matter how busy your shift is or how challenging a new environment, stick to the 6 Cs to ensure you continue to do what you do best!

Why were the 6 Cs of nursing introduced?

The 6 Cs – care, compassion, courage, communication, commitment, competence - are a central part of ‘Compassion in Practice’, which was first established by NHS England Chief Nursing Officer, Jane Cummings, in December 2017.

They were introduced as a way of articulating and defining the values which need to underpin the culture and practice of healthcare organisations delivering care and support. They are

What are the 6 Cs of nursing?

Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system and are hugely important to the NHS in the UK. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that there are more individuals working in the nursing field than in any other healthcare profession! To ensure each and every nurse is operating under the same set of values, the 6 Cs were put in place as a national strategy for care, and can be defined as:

1. Care

Care is at the core of what nurses do and the care they deliver helps to improve the health of our entire community. Patients receiving that care expect it to be specific to their needs and consistent throughout every stage of their lives.

2. Compassion

The relationships that nurses build with their patients are based on empathy, respect and dignity. It can also be described as intelligent kindness and is central to how people perceive their care.

3. Courage

Courage enables nurses to make the right choices throughout their career and do what’s best for their patients. It’s up to nurses to speak out if they have concerns and have the personal strength to easily adapt to each new environment and overcome any challenge that is thrown at them.

4. Communication

Communication is essential to a nurse’s success, as it enables them to build caring relationships with their patients and work well with their colleagues as part of a team. Listening is also just as important when it comes to caring for your patients, as they need to be kept informed about decisions but also feel they are being heard.

5. Commitment

Nursing professionals have a commitment to their patients and this helps them take the necessary steps to improving the quality of care they receive and ensuring they have a positive care experience.

6. Competence

Competence means that those in a caring role must have the natural ability to understand their patient’s health and social needs and have the relevant expertise, clinical, and technical knowledge to deliver effective care and treatments based on research and evidence.

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