Compassion in Action - anything but woolly
It might look like I was beaming here with pride…I was proud. Really proud.
I was also actually uncomfortable (& much worse going up on stage to pick up the award). Although I’m very chatty & outgoing somehow I still hate being the centre of attention. Really hate it. I’m the one who takes weeks off work around big birthdays to avoid any fuss! I also avoid a lot of effusive praise so the paragraph below took (quite) a few big deep breaths.
It’s the nub, the centre of what I do & what I can offer you so I had to take those breaths. How else are you going to find the non-medical techniques that can help you move on or thrive, on top of the clinical expertise?
People think of compassion as fluffy & woolly. It’s not! Truth is it can be the polar opposite. It’s more than sympathy or empathy. It recognises the suffering of others & then crucially takes action to help. It requires awareness, empathy,, distress tolerance, courage, intention, strength & persistence. It requires a high EQ (Emotional Intelligence score - interestingly my sister has the highest ever IQ in the UK, my strength is in the EQ).
One of our senior nurses went on a course where they said that all clinicians know a maverick - someone who (really really) pushes the boundaries to do the best for each individual patient.
I was quite upset she thought immediately of me initially - the explanation & the person
who recounted it may me really proud on reflection. Much more than
THAT is where I bring something genuinely different.
Doctors focus on empathy & diagnosis & treatment.
Compassion is going on the journey with you & finding help specific to you.
Doctors used to be taught early on not to get too involved with patients, to follow the medical
model. Problem is we’re all complicated & different the medical model can diagnose & treat some things.
Even in the most medical conditions it can only address part of it.
Health coaching & psychological support on top of the medical expertise is the whole package.
Some patients have almost purely medical issues, some have almost purely psychological ones.
Here’s the thing though. Medical issues cause psychological responses & psychological issues also
show medical or somatic (bodily) symptoms. Mostly, most patients are somewhere between the two with a mix of medical & psychological.
So we need to treat the psychological to really support don’t we? Don’t we?!