The 6 Cs of Nursing

In 2012 the Chief Nursing Officer called everyone who works in care to embrace the “6Cs”.

The 6Cs of nursing are:

  • Care
  • Compassion
  • Competence
  • Communication
  • Courage
  • Commitment

The purpose of the 6Cs is to ensure patients are looked after with care and compassion, by competent workers who communicate well, dare to make changes that improve care and can commit to delivering this all day, every day.

Although it is eight years since the 6Cs were launched, they are still as relevant today as they were in 2012. Healthcare changes over time with new research, policies and ideas, however, the need to look after patients with dignity and compassion always remains the same even when working in challenging, busy environments with few staff.

We would therefore like to remind all agency workers of the continued importance and relevance of the 6Cs.


Care is our core business and that of our organisations, and the care we deliver helps the individual and improves the health of the whole community. Caring defines us and our work. People receiving care expect it to be right for them, consistently, throughout every stage of their life.


Compassion is how care is given through relationships based on empathy, respect and dignity - it can also be described as intelligent kindness, and is central to how people perceive their care.


Competence it is necessary to update your knowledge and skills regularly, as well as knowing your limits whilst working as an agency nurse. You must only undertake work that you feel competent and confident in carrying out. Our workers competence is evidenced by our compliance requirements, so we ask you to keep us updated with staff evaluations, feedback and training. All this is done to ensure the highest standard of care for each patient.


Communication is essential in healthcare and is central to successful caring relationships and effective team work. Being a good listener is an important part of patient care, as is clear record–keeping, reporting and monitoring of patient records and other documentation, especially as a non-permanent member of staff.


Courage enables us to do the right thing for the people we care for, to speak-up when we have concerns and to have the personal strength and vision to innovate and to embrace new ways of working.


Commitment is vital, as the public look to healthcare workers as examples, even in our private lives. This means looking after your own health and maintaining a code of conduct in our social lives in order to be that role model. You should continually strive to provide the best possible guidance and care for your patients.