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Stephen, I moved your discussion to Talent Management. You can find it here: https://communities.healthstream.com/community/healthcare-best-practices/talent-management Thanks for starting an important discussion!
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Kathleen here, I feel so strongly that in healthcare if we are not abounding in empathy we are probably in the wrong position, wrong role or wrong organization. Today the people we care for in clinics, emergency departments, hospitals, long term care, all carry some burden, and what is even more challenging, is each of us in healthcare are burdened also, ( finances, children, divorce, autism, bullying, relationships, caring for elder parents, jobs changing, more to do less then before etc) so in my opinion, we need to be empathetic with each other, our patients, their families and even our leaders and providers. we are all pilgrims in one way or another, and for those us , working in the healthcare arena, recognizing we are serving a mission, of caring for people in most vulnerable times should help us take a deep breath, pause before Judging others, and seek to understand before responding. Okay off my soap box for the hour Thanks Kathleen
I enjoyed reading your article! Empathy touches so many facets of human interaction in our day to day lives. In healthcare more than ever we have to take the time to stop, catch our breath and listen, observe and make sound decisions. Especially when it comes to our patients and co workers. Thanks for sharing Chef Bello
When I read your post I was reminded of the many conversations I've had with my new graduates in the ED Residency program, most of whom are young RNs starting their first career.
The vast majority of people who go into nursing are sympathetic to the needs and hardships of patients and families. Caring is what draws us to nursing.
As a new and young nurse, though sympathetic to families with aging parents, spouses and sick children, as time went on I experienced a palpable shift from sympathy to empathy.
I married, became a parent, my parents aged and suddenly the reality of mortality developed more of a presence in my life.
I remember losing a baby during my first year in the ED-- I was devastated and the parent's grief was horrible to watch...years later, after having my own children, the cries of a mother who lost her 2 year old nearly brought me to my knees. The visceral and primitive sound of a parent in grief makes its way directly through to your soul. That day, the consciousness of my transition to empathy was an 'aha' moment . When you actually wear the same shoes as another, you feel every aspect of the shoe...the material, the stitching, the heel, the sole...for me, it made the situation that much more difficult to navigat. I had to manage my own emotions in an effort to insure I was present for the family.
Certainly, everyone deals with life's ordeals differently, but empathy is a powerful emotion.
There is no way to totally prepare new nurses for the emotional upheaval they will experience, but today we are better at recognizing the need and facilitating debriefings and opportunities to share and support each other. I believe we have evolved to a kinder generation of leaders who recognize that 'shaking it off' is not the best road to travel.
Thanks for stimulating the conversation!
Beautifully written and straight from the heart. The "aha moment" that you articulated was so profound for me. A few months ago I had one of those moments that I would like to share with you as it relates to one of my employee's. One afternoon after lunch service I was conducting a training session with my culinary team. I am very passionate about these sessions and at times I can get a little intense. While was speaking I noticed that one of my employee's was not paying attention, so I proceeded to finish the training. Afterwards I called this employee into my office and asked her if everything was ok, she responded by saying that she wasn't feeling good. ( my intuition told me that she was not being truthful ) I elaborated on respect for the team and that not engaging is disrespectful to all of us. The following day I had noticed an article in the newspaper relating to this employee's son. The light bulb went off and I realized why this employee was disengaged that day. Naturally I cant go back in time but moving forward I look at situations like this in a whole new light. Lori, everyone has a story and we need to be more intuitive when it comes to our employee's.
Interesting topic Stephen for a world that is increasing apathetic. I find it ironic too that this is being discussed in a virtual forum which is inherently void of empathy. People have turned to social media sites out of desperation to connect with anyone. A need to share their thoughts and ideas in hopes that someone is listening. As we turn towards social media in increasing numbers and ways we loose our ability to empathize with family, "friends", fellow co-workers, management and those who work under us. We also begin to loose the ability to empathize with our patients. We want everything faster and served to us on a silver platter of our own design. We are becoming increasingly blind and deaf to everything. I often wonder if I'm losing my ability to empathize. I don't think people care what anyone has to say anymore. Maybe it's just me, but I find people walking away from me or starting conversations with other people in the middle of my conversation with them. This is happening with increasing frequency, but it has also happened all my life. I find when a manager or a boss compliments me or pays attention or at the very least shows some interest in what I have to say, very motivating. I find myself trying harder and wanting to do more all in an effort for what appears to me scraps from the table meant for the dog. Am I rambling? I guess my point is that it would be nice if we all could grow our empathy more.