The past few weeks of my constant sojourns to a hospital has sensitized me not only to the bitter truth’s of life but also to the significance of soft skills practice of the healthcare staff.
Surprisingly ; we all loose our hard gained and well preserved personality when we move to the other plane ( pass way ) . From a Mr. A / Ms.P we end being just ‘ bodies to be taken care of . When undergoing treatment as well the patient is barely aware at times of the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. In such cases the relatives often receive and react to most of the communication.
Being heavily invested in dealing with people ; the void created in Human Emotions seeing suffering pain and death so closely should not impact the levels of empathy expected by the healthcare staff . The empathy needs to encapsulate the following key pointers for all the health care professionals:
Keep it cool !! – We all know that the environment healthcare professionals work in is extremely stressful . It calls for efficient management of stress by keeping a positive mental attitude. When the stress gets to you ; undertake some of the techniques you picked up from the last stress management workshop. Remember sometimes it helps to just Take A Walk !!
Coach and Delegate – In one of the cases I observed off late , was a scenario when the sequential shifts got to one of junior staff and it started showing up in her handling of In-Patients . Her supervisor immediately took her away to a nearby seating area and the first thing I overheard him saying to the staff was ; “ You are doing a very good job !! “ with a further inputs on how to improve things thereon . Beautiful example of coaching . In this environment what also comes in handy is the delegation of work to ensure work distribution without increasing the patients and their families’ anguish.
A word for the doctors … in general – The hospitals and clinics carry a plethora of emotions and the most prominent is that of HOPE !! While patients do not crib about the cold and mechanical way of the doctor pushing his stethoscope , their hurried ways of examination, impatient handing over of prescription and irritation at the sound of any query ; a gentle smile can make a lot of difference . As mentioned earlier ; do not let the HOPE be nipped in the bud.
Appreciate – From the housekeeping staff at the hospital to the Directors ; we would like to believe that everyone is doing their bit to make sure that the patient service is at it’s best . While the staff out there is not only struggling with stressful situations they also most of the time end up serving a very diverse patient base. The essentials of non-verbal communication comes in handy here . In the midst of all this a simple word of appreciating can go a long way !!
The patient service attitude and skills are paramount in the current times. Healthcare service providers should start designing process which revolve around Patient experience and satisfaction. To design and implement these processes and practices, the industry would require professionals who are not just technically strong but are sensitized towards the anguish of the patients and their ‘ near and dear’ ones.