#hellomynameis COMPASSION! #1000Speak

It’s really, REALLY nice when you learn you’ve been doing something right all along. Not just something mundane, but something important, which could make a huge difference to someone’s day. And it’s such a simple thing – subject of many a riddle:

What belongs to you but you give it to other people countless times a day? Your name!

1000SpeakMy attention was caught today by a campaign in England to promote compassion amongst healthcare professionals, after one of their own – Dr Kate Granger – felt she had been treated very poorly by some of the people involved in her own care (she is a terminally ill cancer patient, in addition to being a hospital doctor) and decided that she wanted her legacy to be that healthcare professionals in the UK would introduce themselves when first meeting a patient.

This little act – of sharing your name, when you (the professional) have your patient’s details (and they never know how many we have) right at your fingertips, and they know absolutely nothing about you – is kind, compassionate, and really just old-fashioned GOOD MANNERS. Yet sadly, it isn’t the case that everyone does it, or has a clue how much of a difference it can make to someone’s day, especially when (potentially, if you work as a healthcare professional) the person you’re seeing is particularly vulnerable at the time.

I should hope that it takes relatively little imagination to begin to understand the anxiety and confusion of trying to manage life when you, or someone you love, is sick and need some form of treatment. I hope that you haven’t experienced the loneliness and dehumanisation of being treated by cold, indifferent medics; not knowing who they are or what their role, only that they’ve come to deal with you. I hope that you’ve encountered warm, friendly individuals, willing to engage with you from the offset and work together with you to achieve the best possible outcomes.

I hope that you have been shown compassion. It humanises. It matters.

I beseech you – if you work in the medical field, or are a healthcare provider of some sort, please take a couple of moments to introduce yourself to your patients. It can make all the difference to them, and transforms you from ‘the professional’ into ‘the person’.

Your name is a gift. Pass it on.

HelloMyNameIs“Hello, I’m Lizzi, and I’m your photographer”
(Usually gets a laugh when I introduce myself *grins*)

1000 Voices for Compassion are getting ready to MOBILISE across the Blogosphere (and beyond) on February 20th.

Because we want to tell everyone that compassion MATTERS.

Join us on twitter and instagram with the #1000Speak tag

Come and be part of the endeavour on Facebook

Check out our blog, where you can submit a piece if you aren’t a blogger.

Make a difference. Be the village.

Speak up!

47 thoughts on “#hellomynameis COMPASSION! #1000Speak

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  3. Pingback: #hellomynameis COMPASSION! #1000Speak | 1000 Vo...

  4. Wow that is kind of sad.
    That is the VERY FIRST thing we are taught in nursing school and you say it with a smile even if you heard that the patient was a complete asshole at triage.
    Why? Because one simple smile, one act of kindness can change an attitude, thus change the entire course of someone’s stay…
    Second thing is
    “Don’t kill your patient.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amen to that! I have a patient tomorrow who looks potentially tricksy. I’mma kill him with kindness.

      And SO MUCH YES, because when you’re seeing a person in a professional capacity, they’re usually not there because they’re whole and healthy, so there might be a whole gamut of anxious emotions coming into play for them and making them cranky, and being aloof won’t help.


  5. Great post, Lizzi. Compassion really matters in the health care profession. A simple introduction can put a patient at ease, for sure. Lucky for me I have had little experience with hospitals and docs because I’m healthy. Prayer shout out! I always say that when I speak of my health. I feel very fortunate.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This reminds me of a book I read a while ago – Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin. She an American doctor who became demoralised with mainstream practice – if I remember correctly, her final straw was a patient sending her a letter explaining how she’d felt when Lissa had stood with her hand on the door during the entire appointment.
    Anyways, Lissa Rankin realised she was not doing what she’d set out to do – be a healer. She was also very interested to understand why some people recover really well and others don’t, so began gathering research. She discovered that many things affect the outcome, including the patient’s attitude (no surprise) but also the doctor’s attitude. If a doctor is friendly, encouraging, and hopeful for the patient’s recovery, then patients are more likely to recover.
    Rankin dropped out of mainstream medicine and eventually started a new practice where she approaches things in a very different way.
    So, the point of this long ramble is to say that you are helping patients, not just to feel better emotionally, but possibly even physically, when you show you care! Well done you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand the patient’s ire, though, and kudos to Rankin for taking all the feedback on board and making changes. That’s awesome. Is she on Twitter? Bet she’d be a good voice for #1000Speak.

      As to this initiative, yes…I think Dr Granger has an excellent idea of how to re-establish the nature of CARE in the NHS and this is so simple, and as you say, potentially so effective.


  7. Pingback: SHE CHARMED MY HEART | hastywords

  8. I have found through numerous hospitalizations and appointments with Bridget that the doctors (and professionals) that not only introduce themselves but call you something other than “mom” are the ones that truly get what their job is: Taking care of the total patient and not just the ailment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that’s a really interesting thought. I’d not considered the knock-on, but yes – how to address other family members. I suppose sometimes with my patients, if they come with someone, I’ll still introduce myself and sometimes get an introduction back, and if not, we just muddle through.

      But yes – the whole patient, AND their family, need to be taken into consideration.


  9. It goes deeper than this. Ask the person how they would like you to address them. The world changes but I was brought up to always call older people Mr or Mrs; all the use of first names is relatively recent. Familiarity is an assumption made by many professionals. It’s even trickier with Christian names which are often shortened. Just because a family does this, doesn’t mean strangers can. I hadn’t appreciated how big a deal this can be until I asked a young woman what she preferred. Her Mum was blown away because no one had ever asked before. My personal bug is being called Madame – makes me feel so old!!! BTW your post was worth losing sleep over. And another BTW I had to google FRIST the other day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhhh did Google have it? Apparently Urban Dictionary does, but I STILL haven’t looked it up!

      It was worth losing sleep over. I hope Dr Granger gets her legacy. It’s a damn good one. Kudos to her.

      I have sheets of paper with my patient’s details on. Unless they’re under 16 then I’ll use their title and last name. Fortunately I don’t have longer with them than about 20 minutes, and I only need to use their name when calling them to come forward for their appointment. But a handful of people will ask me to use their christian name. I work with mainly older people, and I just don’t think it would be respectful to address them by their first names.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is just such a great movement… and how meaningful it can be to humanize yourself when caring for others who need to feel HUMAN. YES. People in the health care profession need to meet the needs of others medically, yes- but even more importantly is the personal care of their hearts. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. HI, I’m Lisa and I have slept the sleep of the tired people. I am now feeling less like I’m having a flare. Hallelujah!
    I have been out-fristed by a very worthy opponent here today. And frist is on Urban Dictionary? That’s awesome.
    And yes, names matter. I was just talking with Zilla about how important it is to get someone’s name correct when meeting them or talking to them and how important it is to give yours clearly in return. What a coincidence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I STILL haven’t looked on UD, but that’s what Clark told me.

      I’m SO SO VERY GLAD you slept the sleep of the tired people 😀 YAY to less flare-y. That’s BRILLIANT NEWS 😀

      I like that you chat with Zilla about stuff like that. I think so, too. And I have to say, SPELLING as well…the number of people who write me Liz/Lizzy/Lizzie, as though I somehow didn’t know how to spell my own name…oy! Winds me up a little, but it’s my issue not theirs, I guess.

      I think one of the most outrageous things I’ve borne witness to was a person who couldn’t pronounce a Korean lady’s name, so she dubbed her with an anglicised version and introduced her to the rest of the workers as the new name. I didn’t find out for YEARS that this had happened, and by then everyone had accepted the lady under the anglicised moniker. *sigh*


  12. Well, hi, Lizzi, it’s so nice to meet you, I’m Val. Simple words that make such a difference. Being involved in the octogenarian’s healthcare has allowed me the dubious pleasure of meeting all of his doctors as well as mine and my husbands. I must say the simple act of the doctor connecting by introducing himself/herself and being polite, certainly does ease lots of tension and increase confidence in the medical professional.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Val 🙂

      It makes a huge amount of difference, and since the beginning of my training (for my current job) I’ve been making sure I introduce myself by name, after a friend commented that she’d been seen by someone else in my team, and had really found it difficult that they hadn’t introduced themselves. She said she’d felt as though she were just a body in a system designed to get retinal screening done. And that really stuck with me. I don’t like the idea that my negligence could make someone’s experience so bad, or my lack of good manners make them feel so demeaned.

      I’m glad that you’ve had plenty of doctors who HAVE introduced themselves, whilst you’ve been taking care of the octogenarian.


  13. I’m Helena and I’ll be your dilettante for the duration of the flight. Which means I’ll do whatever I damn well please, and if you have any requests, let me know, because I’m not afraid to try new things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • *glee* Hello Beth, you slacker! Yes, Lisa’s been very hot off the mark lately, but I think she got tired and is probably (hopefully) sleeping the slumber of the very peaceful, tired people.

      It’s a great message, and one I’m going to try to keep going. It matters HUGELY, especially when the people you see are a bit worried about what might happen. Puts them at ease and makes the appointment go better for both of us. I always feel bad if I forget to introduce myself now!

      Liked by 1 person

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