The 5 C’s of Caring

Sister Simone Roach’s 5 C’s of caring – commitment, conscience, competence, compassion, and confidence - are highly applicable to the nursing profession. It’s fairly straightforward to grasp the meaning of the 5 C’s, but it takes time and effort to ensure they are consistently applied in the workplace. The benefits of doing so include better work relationships, improved patient relationships, and increased likelihood of career advancement. Below are ways you can apply the 5 C’s in your daily life as a nurse.


The life of a nurse can be challenging at times, commitment to patients cannot be sacrificed. Nursing staff members must continually dedicate themselves to putting their best foot forward. The act of committing yourself to work means going above and beyond normally expected behaviors and pledging to uphold strong values.

In addition to providing a focus for daily activities, commitment to your career also involves continually improving one’s knowledge and skills. One way to do this is by seeking out higher education. Pursuing an online nursing degree is an excellent way to gain a higher level of understanding about the profession. The devotion toward furthering your education will improve your capabilities and enhance the level of care delivered to patients.


Delivering the best possible care to patients involves a resilient sense of moral responsibility born of a strong conscience. Conscience helps guide your actions even when focus on stress or personal matters can challenge the consistent application of best practices. Adherence to your own conscience will always help to put you on the right course.

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses adds another dimension to the idea of care with conscience – the concept of working consistently on another’s behalf, and “representing the concerns of the patient.” Moral practices don’t just arise from a strong internal sense of what’s right; they also come from a continued focus on empathy and putting yourself in the patient’s shoes.


There are a number of ways nurses can demonstrate competence in the workplace. Consistently arriving to work on time and presenting yourself in a professional manner is one way. Another is to hold yourself to a high standard of excellence when fulfilling daily tasks, regardless of the behavior of others or the circumstances. It is also important to ask for help or clarification when there is uncertainty about a specific duty or method, rather than attempting to move forward if you are unsure.

It’s important to continually improve your skills in order to develop competence. A BSN online program is an option that provides the knowledge needed to deliver the best care while keeping up-to-date with new industry developments. Learning is a lifelong activity that will serve nurses well in the ever-evolving health care field.


Having compassion is essential for anyone in the health care profession as it takes compassion to give patients a positive experience. Compassionate nurses empathize with their patients and provide kind and considerate treatment at all times. In return, they may receive an inspiring sense of human connection and affirmation of the importance of their work.

The more that nurses nurture their sense of compassion, the more compassion grows (and the greater positive effect it has on patient care and work relationships). The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing recommends using nurse mentors, or new-nurse groups, to help individuals develop skills that expand the impact of empathy in hospitals, medical centers, and other health care organizations.


Confidence is the aspect of caring that ties the other 4 of the 5 C’s together. It takes confidence in personal skills and knowledge to act with commitment, follow conscience, consistently act in a competent manner, and express compassion, even in the most difficult of situations.

Confidence in experiences, education, and skills will ensure that nurses continually put their best foot forward. A confident nurse can help patients and family members deal with difficult news, and a strong sense of self will invoke positive change in patient care.

Your nursing career can climb to new heights by earning an RN-BSN degree or a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Saint Mary.