Compassion comes in many forms of verbal and non-verbal actions and behaviors. In healthcare, we teach scripting as a “best” way to respond, express care and concern, and share information with our patients. We create processes and best practices to manage the technical application of healthcare. Yet observation of compassionate feelings and emotions may also be a motivator to feel secure and supported, to take action, and maintain a sense of hope.

I was passively listening to a television interview with a recent Biggest Loser winner. When asked what kept her motivated and inspired to lose more than 125 pounds she said, “When I saw the love and compassion in the face of my trainer, I knew I could do this.” As Larry Dossey states in his article Bedside Manner: A Case for Compassion, “Compassion can be conveyed in moments; it is not proportional to time.”

As we teach our scripting and process flows, do we include the power of a compassionate expression? Do our patients see the love and compassion or do they just hear the care and concern? Or, do they just hear the script? Do our colleagues and subordinates see and hear empathy, compassion, care and concern? How is your internal compassion enlightening your message of care and concern?

For one moment once a day, share a compassionate expression with someone you know, someone you don’t, someone who is kind and helpful to you, and someone who is not. And yourself. Let us not discount the power of a moment of compassionate expression.

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