Save the date: Compassion conference 17.2.2021 9:00-16:00 online

The Department of Healthcare at Arcada welcomes you to join our free online conference focusing on leadership and compassion in social and healthcare on the 17th of February 2021.  All leaders, employees, researchers and students in the social and health care sector, and others interested in compassion, are welcome to join us. The event is arranged fully online. Register by 16.2.2021 - more information on how to register below! Call for abstract is open 1.12.2020-1.2.2021.


9:00-9:30 Vice principal, Henrika Franck: Opening the Compassion conference

9:30-10:15 Zoe Routh: Perspective is Power: How to develop wise and compassionate leadership in a volatile, uncertain world. Enhance compassion by understanding ourselves and others. Expand leadership perspectives so we can work better together. Explore the roadmap for developing better teams and culture. 

10:30-11:30 Ann Rudman, Nordic perspective on compassion and compassion fatigue in our healthcare workplaces.

11:30-12:30 Lunch

12:30-14:45 Parallel sessions (each presentation is 20 min, including discussion)

14:45-15:15 Poster presentation online with possibility to chat with each poster author.  

15:15-16:00 Round up. Ending the conference.



Submission for abstracts will be open 1.12.2020-1.2.2021. Submit your abstract here! Please note that you also need to register for the event here to attend.

  • Outlined poster, possibility to live feedback during the conference


  • Extended abstract (4000 word) that are approved for presentation will receive feedback in the workshops

Abstract call:

Compassion has been recognized as a key competence in order to solve challenges in future work (Sitra 2017). It is required in a large range of professional fields today, and the research in compassion is growing fast (Worline & Dutton 2017). Dutton, Lilius, and Kanov observed that “as human institutions, organizations are sites that inevitably harbor the emotional pain and suffering of their individual members” (2007:119). In their respective workplaces, people are constantly faced with difficult choices, and thus an awareness and an understanding of compassion is highly relevant in order to make sound choices ad being able to help other people.  

One way of studying compassion, is to focus on how organizational culture and practices build compassion (e.g. Kanov et al 2004). This approach is critical in understanding the processes of compassion within individuals. Otherwise, organizations might waste resources putting in place practices when individuals might be unable, or unready, to experience compassion. Further, evidence on compassion fatigue suggests that encouraging people to become more compassionate, without considering the associated self-regulatory demands, can lead to staff burnout or turnover (Boyatzis et al., 2006; Goetz, Keltner & Simon-Thomas, 2010; Miller, 2007). Understanding the psychology of individual compassion is critical for developing effective approaches to enhancing compassion in organizations, developing compassion satisfaction and avoiding compassion fatigue.

There is evidence that promoting self-care through leadership may be one way to enhance compassion satisfaction and decrease burnout and compassion fatigue (DiTullio & MacDonald, 1999). In order to identify ways in which we can understand and enhance compassion satisfaction among employees, we will study health-care and social-work organizations in Finland, by applying self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000; Weinstein & Ryan, 2010; Martela & Ryan 2015). Compassion satisfaction  is specifically important for people who work within healthcare and social work, where the ability to demonstrate compassion is a central component of day-to-day work (DiTullio & MacDonald, 1999). In this conference we would like to discuss pro-social acts, like acts of compassion, are nurtured by the satisfaction of basic psychological needs for relatedness, competence, and autonomy. Further, leadership focus is taken during the conference and how leaders can support the development of compassion satisfaction.

The themes include but are not limited to the following topics:

  • Compassion as competence.

How can individuals in different professions be taught compassion? 

  • Leadership for compassion.

How can organizations and leaders encourage compassionate acts as an employee engagement tool to enhance compassion satisfaction?  

  • Self-compassion.

How can we enhance and foster self-compassion? 

  • Avoiding compassion fatigue.

How can leadership and organizational practices support the satisfaction of basic psychological needs of employees, thereby enabling compassion satisfaction and preventing compassion fatigue? 

  • Compassion in the Nordic healthcare setting

In what ways does the Nordic welfare system/model and Nordic culture enhance or restrict compassion to blossom?




Register for the conference no later than the 16th of February 2021 here.

Submit your abstract no later than the 1st of February 2021 here. Please note that you must also register for the conference.



Please contact Head of Department Maria Forss at if you have any questions about the conference.