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The Importance of Empathy

Caregivers are task oriented, which is understandable as there is a lot to do in a short amount of time. But I want you to take a moment and picture yourself in the following situation:

You develop an excruciating headache, feeling like your skull is splitting down the middle, and your vision is blurred. You sit down and notice that a group of your coworkers are surrounding you, asking you questions about your medical history. You ask yourself – what is happening to me?

Your vital signs are taken, and your blood pressure is 280/170. As someone in healthcare, you know that is dangerously high and now the anxiety kicks in. Am I dying? Am I having a stroke?

The ambulance comes and takes you to the nearest emergency room with sirens on. This HAS to be bad. You’re scared.

Once in the emergency room, there is a hustle and bustle of nurses and physicians coming and going. Asking questions that your mind just isn’t able to answer. They take you to get a CT scan, they do a lumbar puncture, they put in IVs and start one asks you HOW are you FEELING? The physician enters and says, we can’t find anything wrong, but we will continue the IV medications to see if that will work. And the room goes empty. You sit there with your thoughts, not knowing what is wrong, still in pain, alone.

I ask you to consider this situation because this happened to me. All I wanted was for someone to hold my hand, talk to me, just be there. I wasn’t even told anyone’s names!

Our residents are vulnerable, scared, and in a facility. Every person wants to feel safe and not alone. I ask you to think about this as you are trying to get everything completed during your shift. You will feel more rewarded if you can connect with a resident and make them feel better about their day!

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