What Are the 6Cs of Nursing?

6Cs of Nursing

In 2012, the 6Cs of nursing practice were developed following a series of high-profile patient care cases in England where the care provided was notably poor. After these events, a strategy based off a public investigation was created to guide nurses, midwives, and other healthcare staff members in the delivery of high-quality, compassionate care. This strategy included the 6Cs of nursing.

Like the ethical principles of nursing, the 6Cs are fundamental to nursing practice. They support nursing professionals as they deliver excellent care, ultimately resulting in improved health outcomes for patients.

The 6Cs are care, compassion, competence, communication, courage, and commitment. Together, they help make up the foundation of nursing practice as we know it today. Let’s take a closer look at each “C” individually.


The core principle of nursing practice, care is best understood as whatever techniques, therapies, or treatments nurses use to support a patient’s healing. The concept of care is multifaceted; care includes a variety of interventions, such as helping a patient bathe, monitoring a patient after a surgical procedure, or simply listening and responding to the concerns of the patient and their family. Nurses of all levels connect to patients through the care they provide.


The concept of compassion stems from the empathy nurses feel toward others. Nurses must understand how a patient feels — but the defining element of compassion is the desire to lessen the patient’s distress. Compassion takes deliberate thought on the part of the nurse, and it should be at the heart of each and every patient interaction.


As you probably already know, nurses must remain up-to-date on the latest evidence and knowledge surrounding nursing practice. It is very important for each nurse to regularly assess their knowledge base and take steps to improve it. Meeting your state’s continuing education requirements for nurses helps keep you at the top of your game. IntelyEdu can help you find courses and certificate programs that fit into your schedule.

Competence also means that each nurse should know their scope of practice within the medical system. This helps patient care continue smoothly and can guide nurses when they need to seek out help from other medical professionals.


Obviously, communication is extremely important in the nursing field. A nurse must be able to communicate with other healthcare providers in a timely, competent, and effective manner. Effective communication also aids in the development of a positive relationship with the patient. Cultural sensitivity, tone of voice, and appropriate language all help communication be more effective with each person the nurse comes in contact with.


Almost every working day, nurses must confront situations and challenges that may cause tension or fear. These situations may arise from patient care, or they may stem from interactions with other healthcare professionals. Nurses must be courageous, doing what they believe is right and beneficial for the patient in all regards. They must also have the courage to stand by the values and standards of the profession.


Finally, nurses must be committed to taking care of patients and providing the highest quality care possible. Commitment to your patient’s needs takes many forms, including a willingness to show up for your shift ready and on time, every time.

Commitment also means upholding the professional code of nursing. Working in the healthcare field can be very challenging, and each nursing professional must develop coping skills to successfully perform in their respective jobs. Commitment is key for guiding patients toward better health.

Using the 6Cs in nursing practice

The 6Cs of nursing can be used to transform the patient care experience. They should be considered in regard to each patient while being tailored to enhance the individual’s treatment plan. The 6Cs should be used to help patients retain independence while improving their health and wellbeing. Also, they can be beneficial for improving the experience of care for each patient. For example, competence helps nurses deliver high quality care and measure the impact of that care on patient outcomes. Communication can help build and strengthen leadership among nurses. Finally, commitment can be applied to help ensure safe staffing levels with nurses who have the right skills for the job.

The 6Cs of nursing should be used no matter your level of nursing education or practice area. With everyone practicing these concepts, patient care efforts will continue to improve.

Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN

Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN began writing professionally in 2016 as a way to use her medical knowledge beyond the bedside. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and worked as a registered nurse in multiple specialties, including pharmaceuticals, operating room/surgery, endocrinology, and family practice. With over nine years of clinical practice experience, her unique insights into the healthcare industry help her craft compelling content that targets both healthcare consumers and clinicians.


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