Defining Empathy


“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Atticus Finch

Empathy is deeply valuing other people and developing understanding of what others are feeling through shared experience. To be truly empathetic, you have to raise your awareness of the emotions and needs of those around you, and put yourself into their shoes. Empathy goes beyond the caregiver-to-patient relationship. Colleague-to-colleague empathy is crucial.
Empathy among colleagues requires recognizing the commonalities that transcend the silos of our departments and roles. When people come to work, they bring their whole lives with them.
Pain and struggle in relationships and difficulties at home are all part of the person’s life. You don’t have to get into people’s personal lives in order to be empathetic. Show kindness, recognize what is happening, and see the emotional impact that it would have on anyone. By identifying the feelings that would come to ourselves in that situation, we are prepared to extend
compassion, caring, and kindness to them. Empathy requires retaining sensitivity to the humanity of people. It is very easy to become desensitized to people and their day-to-day struggles, but by choosing to value people and reach out to them on a human level, we create an environment of empathy where patients and colleagues can thrive.

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