A really interesting article on how this hospital in Auckland are using empathy in a very practical way to help and support clinical staff to better understand the experience of a patient, published in the Stuff, Health section:
“Ensuring patients have a good experience in hospital not only helps them feel happier, it also helps them get better quicker. That is one of the key reasons why Waitemata DHB, in north and west Auckland, has a policy to enhance patient experience. The ordeals that patients went through was top of mind in the last week of April, the DHB’s annual Patient Experience Week.
One of the key events of Patient Experience Week was an Empathy Zone, where staff and visitors could experience what some patients go through
Mental illnesses and the delirium experienced by many patients was simulated with a headset playing distracting voices. Visual, auditory and physical impairments were also simulated.
“It’s been really good: I didn’t realise that people go through these things on a daily basis and it really makes you think about putting yourself in their shoes. ” Said associate director of patient experience Ravina Patel saying the Empathy Zone was a great learning experience.”
The work that this Aukland hospital is doings is really interesting as professionals who experience the workshops that I run, go through a similar experience, but in terms of the emotional impact, particularly within the role of complaints. With many complex emotions, especially surrounding loss of some description, within complaints, and particularly in health and social care, where the outcome is so vital for learning lessons and meaningful resolutions, it is vital that staff can recognise and interpret the emotional experience of another. Vital if they are to work in a holistic way and understand the needs and expectations of those they work with. This means hearing the ’emotional data’ as I call it and sometimes challenging their own preconceptions of what is being felt and experienced.
Feedback from Cheryl Herbert, GP Practice Manager “A great and thought provoking day, I thoroughly enjoyed it, myself and colleague spoke of nothing else all the way home.”
Feedback from Keir Gill, Senior Manager, Compliance and Improvement“The perspective, understanding and skills I have gained from this training will be used to enhance our organisational approach to handling difficult conversations and improve how we respond to the emotional needs of our users…I feel confident in saying that we can all learn something deeply important from her both professionally and personally. I am incredibly grateful to have crossed her path.”
I come from a back ground of counselling and psychology and have studied and experiences in real terms the powerful impact of being listened to…or not, for over 25 years, I have walked the walk, not just talked the talk. My training and consultancy offers an authenticity, honesty and transparency, enabling staff to identify with the subject matter and to learn valuable skills for their professional role and their own well-being. I can work with your organisation on conferences, and workshop days and offer mentorship for individual staff members and teams.
For full details of the workshops I run, see my training page on my website:
Original news source, including video of the Empathy Zone: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/92033294/experiencing-patients-struggles-all-part-of-hospital-empathy-zone-in-auckland