COMPASSION is a trait that should be a part of all of our personalities.  it should be embedded in our DNA. What drives you to feeling and doing the right thing in work and play?

Have you noticed that the word “COMPASS” is the root word in “COMPASSION”? it is well known that a compass is an instrument that is used for navigation. Its arrow, the gauge,  has led many to their destinations without the use of satellites and computers.  Is there an internal COMPASS guiding all of us to feel COMPASSION?

The Merriam- Webster dictionary defines Compassion as a “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress, together with a desire to alleviate it”. Not only is one aware of what another is experiencing, they want to do something about it. “I feel your pain. What can I do to help you or let me help you?”

Recently, in reviewing the medical chart of a resident in a long-term care facility, I came across a note written by a nurse. The nurse documented in the medical records “She talks when she wants to”. The resident was one that had a stroke that left her with impaired verbal communication abilities. The stroke affected the left brain, leaving the resident with the inability to express herself verbally consistently.

Can you imagine the frustration of this resident… not being able to communicate her needs, not having the audible sounds that came out of her mouth form words consistently in a manner that was understood by the recipient?

What about the nurse? Did she need education or additional training on Strokes and caring for those with Aphasia (inability to use language to communicate)? Had she developed “Compassion fatigue”? Had the nurse’s compass broken?

As a part of sensitivity training, I have always emphasized to trainees or new employees to “put themselves in the other’s shoes”. Employ empathy. Imagine that resident to be your loved one. Imagine that resident to be your “Nana or Pa Pa”, the one that gave love to you, the one that kissed your boo boos away, the one that thought you did no wrong. How would you want them to be treated? Treat that resident as you would want your Nana, Pa Pa, or your mother of father to be treated, if they were in similar circumstances.

Don’t run the risk of losing your sense of compassion. Give your compass a check-up! Use your internal compass to guide you to feeling and doing!

COMPASSION- I know what you are experiencing; I want to help!

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