Language of Caring
Congruent with our mission to deliver excellence and compassionate care, every person, every time, we have been focusing on one skill every 6-8 weeks to instill the practice of these heart skills that help us express our caring to our colleagues, our patients, and our patients’ families. Each of us has the ability to positively impact the patient experience with our interactions.
Starting with the Practice of Presence and Acknowledging Feelings, we learned that these two skills are powerful in communicating empathy with others. Practicing presence enables us to totally focus on the connection with the other person; acknowledging feelings enables us to listen to understand and, therefore, validates the other person. These two skills, when used successfully, enables us to open the channels of communication. The third skill we’ll focus on is Showing our Caring Non-Verbally. This, too, builds on the practice of presence; the less present we are, the more poorly we perform and the more likely it is that we will miss important emotional cues and behaviors expressed by the person with whom we are interacting. Did you know that body language is most often controlled by the subconscious mind? The body, left to its uncontrolled actions, will most often reveal the attitude and feelings from deep inside. This gives us a question for discussion: Why does this make the foundational skill of practicing presence so important? Truth reveals itself more clearly through our actions than through our words. Take time to clear your mind and demonstrate full presence; others are constantly reading us and forming opinions and feelings by observing our nonverbal behaviors. When the words we use do not match our body language, then we are not seen as being genuine or truthful.
Join your Language of Caring champions in exercises to reinforce showing caring non-verbally. These three modules are online in MyLearning catalogue under The Language of Caring with each of the skills listed above. Don’t miss out! Make sure you complete these three modules to get credit on your MyLearning transcript!
Staff Reflections on Language of Caring Skills
“I realize that one can show their presence in doing simple and small things that we do to make people feel special – letting people finish their sentence as they answer our questions, repeating back if clarification is needed and acknowledging feelings they might be sharing.”
—Harpreet Gujral, Program Director of Bariatric Surgery
“I have completed the module, Language of Caring: The Practice of Presence. After completing the module, I have realized how easy it is to focus on the day-to-day tasks during a shift without really being present in the patients’ eyes during my interactions with them.
One way that I ensure that I practice presence is by always introducing myself to the patient and asking them how their day is, how they are feeling, and what they would like to accomplish while I am caring for them. I do this without anything in my hand (medications, water, phone, etc) and without the computer in the room. I then explain how we can achieve that goal and then what else is on the itinerary for the shift. Looking at the patient in the eyes without any disruptions (phone calls, computer charting) at the beginning of the shift is very important in building rapport and really getting to know what is important to that particular patient during the shift ensures that adequate care is being provided. When family and/or visitors are in the room I always acknowledge them and ask them how they are doing, if they have any questions, etc. I often find asking questions that aren’t specific to medical care can also be a nice way to get to know the patient and their family members/friends; it shows that I want to have a conversation with them and I do care about them. If the television is on, I will ask them about the show or program that is playing — I will discuss weather, their children or grandchildren, where they live, what they do/did for a living. This further connects me with the patient, and their anxiety and tension from being in the hospital usually decreases.
Taking an extra 5 minutes at the beginning, middle and end of my shift for one-on-one conversations with my patients is very therapeutic, not only for the patients but for myself. I enjoy talking and learning from them.”
—Megan Ott, Nursing PRN
Language of Caring Champions Celebration
Our Language of Caring and Pathway to Excellence Champions were celebrated at a reception in September. Guests enjoyed back massages, jazz music, gifts, and samples of great healthy food options. Thanks to this team for supporting Sibley to be the best it can be!