It is a common idea that workers in the health care field are intelligent. As a result, many people who choose to be doctors and health care workers value knowledge. Schools focus on acquiring knowledge in the appropriate areas and place value on high test scores. Although it is essential for healthcare workers to be knowledgeable about their field, many people overlook the importance of compassion in healthcare.

Why is Compassion Important?

When people seek out healthcare, they are often going through significantly stressful events. They or a loved one may be undergoing a procedure, receiving a new diagnosis, or spending significant amounts of time receiving care. Healthcare workers need to have compassion for their clients by understanding what they are going through and how to respond.

What does this Look Like?

Compassion in the healthcare setting may look different depending on the situation. Different situations call for a different emotional reaction, among other concerns. Here are some examples of how it may look daily. 

Providing Support: For people who are going through a significant life event, it’s crucial to provide emotional support. This starts with empathy and a general understanding of what the person is going through. It also means being a safe place for the patient to share their thoughts and concerns. Although it’s essential for a healthcare worker to provide this support, it is also necessary to know when to refer to a therapist or counselor.

Giving Space to Talk: Providing emotional support is giving the patients and their families a space to talk. Often in healthcare, there is a significant focus on educating patients and their families that workers forget that those involved need to talk and share concerns.

Active Listening: When families are talking, it is important to listen actively. Healthcare workers should not only give the time and space for patients and their families to talk but should also practice listening without interrupting. This will allow them to feel safe in sharing concerns.

Addressing Concerns: Once a patient or family member has shared concerns, it’s essential to take action. Address the concerns quickly and professionally.