Background: compassion fatigue and burnout can impact on the performance of midwives, with this quantitative paper exploring the relationship between self-compassion, burnout, compassion fatigue, self-judgement, self-kindness, compassion for others, professional quality of life and well-being of student midwives.
Method: a quantitative survey measured relationships using questionnaires: (1) Professional Quality of Life Scale; (2) Self-Compassion Scale; (3) Short Warwick and Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale; (4) Compassion For Others Scale.
Participants: a purposive and convenience sample of student midwives (n=103) studying at university participated in the study.
Results: just over half of the sample reported above average scores for burnout. The results indicate that student midwives who report higher scores on the self-judgement sub-scale are less compassionate towards both themselves and others, have reduced well-being, and report greater burnout and compassion fatigue. Student midwives who report high on measures of self-compassion and well-being report less compassion fatigue and burnout.
Conclusion: student midwives may find benefit from 'being kinder to self' in times of suffering, which could potentially help them to prepare for the emotional demands of practice and study.
Implications: developing, creating and cultivating environments that foster compassionate care for self and others may play a significant role in helping midwives face the rigours of education and clinical practice during their degree programme.
Keywords: Burnout; Compassion fatigue; Self-compassion; Self-judgement; Student midwives; Well-being.
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