To excel in the healthcare field, exhibiting empathy is essential. As you care for patients, you’ll encounter various issues and circumstances surrounding their physical and mental conditions. Being empathetic to patients and their families will allow you to provide top-quality patient care, even during their most difficult times. If you’re lacking this important quality, here are some ways to develop a sense of empathy and make a more positive impact on your patients:
While it’s easy to constantly think ahead – especially during busy times – part of being empathetic involves staying present with your patients and actively listening to their needs and concerns. Taking time to address their questions and make them feel comfortable with their care can be one of the most powerful ways to demonstrate empathy and a commitment to your patient’s health and well-being. In addition to listening skills, non-verbal solid communication (including direct eye contact and appropriate hand gestures) will reinforce to patients that they have your undivided attention.
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Put yourself in the patient’s position.
A major part of empathy involves relating to patients and putting yourself in their shoes during their care. While you may never know exactly what they’re going through, you can reflect on their situation and put yourself on the patient’s level. This will help you gain insight from your patients’ perspectives, allowing you to deliver services in a more understanding and caring way.
Embrace patients’ families.
Communicating with patients’ families is as important as the care you give patients themselves. Because families often play a role in the ongoing care of patients, involving them in a patient’s care plan and showing a willingness to answer their questions will ultimately put everyone more at ease. Remember, family members are often emotionally overwhelmed with elevated anxiety and concerns. From offering regular updates to listening closely to their feelings, embracing patients’ loved ones is one of the most underrated ways to show empathy as a healthcare provider.
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