Truly, patient-centred care is more than just providing technical excellence during the course of a treatment. The technical part of the job is vital, of course, however, complete care means that the caregiver also brings their humanity to the patient, by being genuinely present, kind, and attentive when they are with them.
Even without face-to-face patient contact, you still have a direct and fundamental impact on the recovery of a patient, and you can still provide compassionate care. Whether you’re at the bedside, or behind the scenes – in a leadership role, in the lab, on the hospital board, or on the IT side – your work, and your ability to be proficient, up-to-date, vigilant, and caring with your work, is compassionate care, and makes a crucial difference in the quality of care a patient receives.
I survived two life-threatening car accidents, one in which I sustained second and third degree burns on over 50% of my body. This experience gave me intimate familiarity with what it feels like to be a patient…and what it takes to heal. Many of the most profound moments in my healing journey took place in a matter of mere seconds when a provider showed me that they cared. I firmly believe, and I often say: “Compassion heals the places that medicine cannot touch”.
Had it simply been about the procedures and treatments and technical skills required to treat my wounds, yes, I likely still would have recovered. But it was the moments of true compassion from my caregivers that elevated my experience to something I can only describe as beautiful. When a care provider looked me in the eye and let me know that they truly saw me, or put a supportive hand on my back, or took the time to gently hold my hand – those moments showed me the power of kindness and love. Their quiet, simple humanity made me feel connected to the people around me at a time when I was scared, in pain, and at my most vulnerable. Those moments completely transformed my recovery.
When patients feel connected to the people who are caring for them, it helps them remember that pain and joy can exist side by side. In those terrifying and confusing moments in a hospital emergency room, or a treatment room, or a waiting room – kindness reminds someone who is suffering that alongside struggles and adversity there is still good to be found.
My message is simple: people who work in health care matter, not just because of what you do, but because of who you are. Your presence and your energy – the very thing that makes you, you – matters so much when it comes to patient-centred care.
Providing this kind of care is a conscious decision. At any moment, in any circumstance, regardless of your role, you can choose to be the healer in the room. You can decide to be the one to bring kindness into a discussion, to take three seconds and look into the eyes of someone who is suffering, to show up fully for the person standing in front of you. You have the power to change the energy in a room, to help uplift everyone and be the bright light they need in a moment of darkness.
The arena of health care is sacred. Those who step into that space, whether they are a patient, a family member, or a health care provider, can be transformed through deliberate acts of compassion and kindness.
I celebrate every health care provider. You are the healers of the world. I honor you for the role you play in caring for others. You have the power to change lives in such a profound way every single day, and have the opportunity to bring so much goodness into this hurting world. From my heart, I thank you.
© Allison Massari All rights reserved.