Laurence Quirk answered on 15 Mar 2022:
Great question. A key part of empathy is imagining yourself in the patients shoes. There’s a great video which offers a good explanation around empathy and sympathy. If you google it its by Brene Brown and is called in sympathy & empathy and can be found on YouTube.
Aaliya Goyal answered on 15 Mar 2022:
Appreciating they are the experts in their journey and my job is to listen as well as to advise. Finding opportunities to connect and understanding, by taking time to find out what matter to them. Also I have been a patient myself many times so I have some understanding of the emotions some of my patients are feeling.
Jamie Hynes answered on 15 Mar 2022:
Hi again Maariya!
As a trick called housekeeping clinicians can do in between patients To make sure they’re not carrying any of the emotional baggage from the previous encounter into the next one.
Sometimes it’s hard to come to terms of the emotional content within a particular consultation and in those situations it’s wise just to take a moment and do whatever technique works such as three deep breaths, a nice cup of tea, a little snack etc in order to ensure that you’re giving the best version of yourself to the next person that comes through.
This helps me retain focus on the important aspects of active listening which is a key part of communicating the sense of compassion and understanding the context within which the patient is experiencing their symptoms.
Sally Cuthbert answered on 15 Mar 2022:
I think it comes quite naturally when working with patients. It’s hard not to feel what they are feeling. It’s about listening and really holding the emotion in the room and creating a safe space for them. So thinking about your own body language and making eye contact. I try and ensure my room is nice and soothing with a diffuser and nice lighting etc…. can make a difference
Danielle Siberry answered on 19 Mar 2022:
To me it comes very naturally, I always think how would I feel if that was me.
I do a lot of emergency contraception and understand its embarrassing coming to talk about things like that with a health professional. I always take a very gentle, caring approach and make sure they know its a safe space and there is no judgement from me. I support their decisions and help them through a tough time.
When I was working on the wards I would always give 100% because that patient is someone’s mum, someone’s sister, someone’s child. I treat them the way i would want my loved ones to be treated.
Anita Raja answered on 23 Mar 2022:
There is something called compassion fatigue , it can get very exhausting at times . However , we have been trained to reflect , recuperate and keep going .
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Samantha commented on :
Lovely question to ask, taking your time to find out what matters the most to them, what they want to get out of your telephone call that day as an example.
Anna commented on :
Listening, really give the person your full attention. It’s suprising how often in life that doesn’t really happen.
Sarah commented on :
I think it’s really important, when I have been talking directly to patients, the public and carers, to understand sometimes that you cannot actually know how they feel. I mean, there’s no way I can genuinely understand what it is like to be a teenage boy, for example. So you cannot jump to a judgement about their needs or their life, you have to really listen. And the more listening you do, as long as you keep your ears and your mind open, the more you come to understand that most people are doing their best, are mostly good, and it’s easy to feel compassion for them when you understand them.
I also think we don’t talk enough about the role of looking after yourself in this. I know I do not have as much energy for compassion and kindness when I am exhausted, frightened or ill, as I do when I am well rested, well fed and happy. It’s important to make sure that you have a team around you who will let you vent if you need to vent, who will remind you to eat and drink if you are forgetting, and who care about you, in a friendly way. I have worked in teams where people think you have to stay later and later and arrive earlier and earlier and work through lunch – and of course I am very understanding how that can happen when teams are so busy – but at that point people quickly lose the energy they need to really care about patients.