About Developing Empathy in Caregivers

Self Management for Empathy

Healthcare leaders are questioning: How do we help our teams develop empathy? Is it possible? How does our culture influence them? Why are some units transcending scores for patients rating compassionate caregivers,  the unit environment itself exudes caring?  Do empathetic behaviors look different for each nurse?

Empathy does impact clinical outcomes–and the decision to connect with patients involves personal development and self-management, along with skill development.

These steps will aide nurses and other team members to develop empathy and their own methods to connect, be authentic and present, thus instilling the confidence in both the healer and the person receiving care, that they can and will heal:

  • Learning to walk into another person’s story, actively listening– and think about/feel what they are experiencing,
  • learning visual and behavioral cues,
  • body language, and
  • phrases that help all focus on emergent priorities as well as longer term needs,
  • while care planning begins.

The Relationship & Results Oriented Healthcare Planning and Implementation Manual (lulu.com) features an entire chapter on healing encounters and how to teach them.

This video clip is a resource to review: http://youtu.be/qA_jfw3-UMg

Another excellent resource is an audio from ITunes or CD of Care for the Journey: the Healing Encounter by Dr. Christina Puchalski and Gary Malkin.

Caring, being fully present in a focused healing moment, is a gift to each individual.

Caring is an intentional action that conveys physical and emotional security and genuine connectedness with another person or group of people.  Caring validates the humanness of both the caregiver and the cared for.  Karen Miller

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