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!
My 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.
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
Check out our blog, where you can submit a piece if you aren’t a blogger.
Make a difference. Be the village.