Empathy and compassion are at the core of healthcare. Patients expect appropriate bedside manner from their providers. A recent survey indicates that 85 percent of patients value compassion in healthcare over quality care and provider expertise. How, as a healthcare provider, do you develop more empathy with your patients?
Why Increase Empathy?
Before you dive into developing more empathy with your patients, you might want to know a few reasons why compassion on the job will help you and your patients. Here are a few thoughts:
Listen to Patients
Listening to others may sound like a simple and obvious exercise, but true, focused listening can be challenging at times. Often in a conversation, we find ourselves waiting for our turn to speak and give our opinion without listening to what the other person is saying. Please make a conscious effort to listen to your patient without interrupting them.
Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Communication
It’s time to drop the cell phone and avoid checking emails while others are speaking. In communication with patients, the bulk of the message comes from not what we say, but in what is present in our voice tone and body language. if you are listening and not paying attention, you will miss a large portion of the message.
A smile is natural, costs you nothing, and is contagious. Smiling releases positive chemicals in your brain and improves your health. A smile is a fantastic small thing for you and your patients.
Call Them by Name
Hearing your name is a sweet sound that everyone loves to hear. A simple gesture such as this will go a long way in developing a relationship. Address your patients and co-workers in this fashion, and you will leave a positive impression.
Don’t Just Talk About the Weather
Getting past the surface and understanding a person on a deeper level requires more conversation than merely discussing the weather. Now, this is not to imply that you should inquire about personal matters. A great way to dig deeper is to begin by sharing your experiences and see if your patient or co-worker follows suit.
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