Compassion – good for everyone

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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27 April 2019 09:18
 

Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence that Caring Makes a Difference
https://www.amazon.com/Compassionomics-Revolutionary-Scientific-Evidence-Difference/dp/1622181069


Does Taking Time For Compassion Make Doctors Better At Their Jobs?
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/04/26/717272708/does-taking-time-for-compassion-make-doctors-better-at-their-jobs

In their new book, Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence that Caring Makes a Difference, Trzeciak and Mazzarelli lay out research showing the benefits of compassion, and how it can be learned. One study they cite shows that when patients received a message of empathy, kindness and support that lasted just 40 seconds their anxiety was measurably reduced.

But compassion doesn’t just benefit its recipients, Trzeciak and Mazzarelli learned. Researchers at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania found that when people spent time doing good for others (by writing an encouraging note to a gravely ill child), it actually changed their perception of time to make them feel they had more of it.
...
Compassion also seems to prevent doctor burnout — a condition that affects almost half of U.S. physicians. Medical schools often warn students not to get too close to patients, because too much exposure to human suffering is likely to lead to exhaustion, Trzeciak says. But the opposite appears to be true: Evidence shows that connecting with patients makes physicians happier and more fulfilled.
...
Instead, he says, he applied the techniques he’d been studying, including spending at least 40 seconds expressing compassion to patients. “I connected more, not less; cared more, not less; leaned in rather than pulled back. And that was when the fog of burnout began to lift.”


Here is scientific evidence that shows the importance and power of compassion, for both the recipient and the giver. 

Previously on another thread I described the impact that a doctor’s compassion had for me when I needed it.  Hopefully studies like this can lead to greater emphasis and a better understanding of our basic human needs. 

 

 
 
nonverbal
 
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27 April 2019 11:53
 

An important slice of the corporate world seems to have begun to see glimpses of profitable benefits of compassion. I was pleasantly surprised at how gently I was treated by all hospital staff at the nearby Kaiser facility when I had outpatient surgery last February. The surgery was similar in nature to an operation I’d had 11 years ago at the same facility, and I was impressed at the vast improvement since 2008. Prior to this newly awakened sensibility, staff was never exactly rude but also not exactly compassionate, whatever that entails in medical situations.

My best guess is that Kaiser management, after collecting countless millions of evaluation forms from their patients, came to the realization that gentle and caring treatment results in better success in surgical recovery which translates to fewer expensive difficulties people like EN get called in to assist with.

I hope this is a trend that’ll eventually enlighten more bean-counting corporate geniuses.

 
EN
 
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EN
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27 April 2019 11:58
 

Compassion from doctors is also a good defense.  When doctors connect with their patients, the patients are much less likely to sue them or turn them into the board when something goes wrong.  Compassion pays. ‘Tis more blessed to give than to receive, because giving leads to more receiving.  In the case of patients, what the doc receives is grace and forgiveness if something goes wrong.  If there is no connection, the patient has no problem contacting a lawyer.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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27 April 2019 12:50
 

I suppose it’s a positive sign if managements and hospital boards recognize that there are benefits to treating people well.  However, genuine compassion is an individual, one-on-one thing that can’t be faked if the primary motive is monetary; I think most people know the real thing when they encounter it.  My hope would be that such a trend would be led primarily by medical schools and health professionals themselves with a less cynical goal of providing the best care for patients and their hands-on care providers.

 
 
nonverbal
 
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27 April 2019 13:20
 
Jan_CAN - 27 April 2019 12:50 PM

I suppose it’s a positive sign if managements and hospital boards recognize that there are benefits to treating people well.  However, genuine compassion is an individual, one-on-one thing that can’t be faked if the primary motive is monetary; I think most people know the real thing when they encounter it.  My hope would be that such a trend would be led primarily by medical schools and health professionals themselves with a less cynical goal of providing the best care for patients and their hands-on care providers.

If compassion can be corporatized to any significant extent, wouldn’t that be something to appreciate whether or not it’s supported by commercial gain?

[ Edited: 27 April 2019 13:23 by nonverbal]
 
nonverbal
 
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27 April 2019 13:22
 
EN - 27 April 2019 11:58 AM

Compassion from doctors is also a good defense.  When doctors connect with their patients, the patients are much less likely to sue them or turn them into the board when something goes wrong.  Compassion pays. ‘Tis more blessed to give than to receive, because giving leads to more receiving.  In the case of patients, what the doc receives is grace and forgiveness if something goes wrong.  If there is no connection, the patient has no problem contacting a lawyer.

Good point. Many people, especially senior executives and their accountants, seem to forget how strong human connections can be, even between people who’d never previously met. So far, it’s an under-tapped potential for most businesses.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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27 April 2019 14:14
 
nonverbal - 27 April 2019 01:20 PM
Jan_CAN - 27 April 2019 12:50 PM

I suppose it’s a positive sign if managements and hospital boards recognize that there are benefits to treating people well.  However, genuine compassion is an individual, one-on-one thing that can’t be faked if the primary motive is monetary; I think most people know the real thing when they encounter it.  My hope would be that such a trend would be led primarily by medical schools and health professionals themselves with a less cynical goal of providing the best care for patients and their hands-on care providers.

If compassion can be corporatized to any significant extent, wouldn’t that be something to appreciate whether or not it’s supported by commercial gain?

I don’t think genuine compassion can be corporatized, exactly.  Courtesy, treating patients with some sensitivity and a show of kindness, yes.  And of course this would be a very good thing.  But I think what this book review describes (I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet) is about something more.  Where a doctor does not put up a wall between her/himself and their patient and therefore is able to make that human connection with those in their care, if even for a few moments.  This is such an individual and personal experience that it seems that it must be something that is internalized, which could not be accomplished by policies alone.

 

 
 
Skipshot
 
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27 April 2019 18:35
 

Jan_Can, will you send this thread to the editors of Fox News?

 
Jan_CAN
 
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27 April 2019 19:48
 
Skipshot - 27 April 2019 06:35 PM

Jan_Can, will you send this thread to the editors of Fox News?

Nah, I’m guessing that they’d think that compassion is best left to the socialists.

 
 
nonverbal
 
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28 April 2019 12:46
 
Jan_CAN - 27 April 2019 02:14 PM
nonverbal - 27 April 2019 01:20 PM
Jan_CAN - 27 April 2019 12:50 PM

I suppose it’s a positive sign if managements and hospital boards recognize that there are benefits to treating people well.  However, genuine compassion is an individual, one-on-one thing that can’t be faked if the primary motive is monetary; I think most people know the real thing when they encounter it.  My hope would be that such a trend would be led primarily by medical schools and health professionals themselves with a less cynical goal of providing the best care for patients and their hands-on care providers.

If compassion can be corporatized to any significant extent, wouldn’t that be something to appreciate whether or not it’s supported by commercial gain?

I don’t think genuine compassion can be corporatized, exactly.  Courtesy, treating patients with some sensitivity and a show of kindness, yes.  And of course this would be a very good thing.  But I think what this book review describes (I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet) is about something more.  Where a doctor does not put up a wall between her/himself and their patient and therefore is able to make that human connection with those in their care, if even for a few moments.  This is such an individual and personal experience that it seems that it must be something that is internalized, which could not be accomplished by policies alone.

Interesting question, isn’t it? What’s genuine and what’s bullshit? How ‘bout this for a theory: almost all of us have within us a great deal of potential for compassion, though I hope unsmoked doesn’t rudely smell out this opinion as BS. Sometimes, it just takes some encouragement, such as a management team supporting workers to be kind and considerate at every opportunity to customers, clients and patients.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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28 April 2019 14:11
 
nonverbal - 28 April 2019 12:46 PM
Jan_CAN - 27 April 2019 02:14 PM
nonverbal - 27 April 2019 01:20 PM
Jan_CAN - 27 April 2019 12:50 PM

I suppose it’s a positive sign if managements and hospital boards recognize that there are benefits to treating people well.  However, genuine compassion is an individual, one-on-one thing that can’t be faked if the primary motive is monetary; I think most people know the real thing when they encounter it.  My hope would be that such a trend would be led primarily by medical schools and health professionals themselves with a less cynical goal of providing the best care for patients and their hands-on care providers.

If compassion can be corporatized to any significant extent, wouldn’t that be something to appreciate whether or not it’s supported by commercial gain?

I don’t think genuine compassion can be corporatized, exactly.  Courtesy, treating patients with some sensitivity and a show of kindness, yes.  And of course this would be a very good thing.  But I think what this book review describes (I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet) is about something more.  Where a doctor does not put up a wall between her/himself and their patient and therefore is able to make that human connection with those in their care, if even for a few moments.  This is such an individual and personal experience that it seems that it must be something that is internalized, which could not be accomplished by policies alone.

Interesting question, isn’t it? What’s genuine and what’s bullshit? How ‘bout this for a theory: almost all of us have within us a great deal of potential for compassion, though I hope unsmoked doesn’t rudely smell out this opinion as BS. Sometimes, it just takes some encouragement, such as a management team supporting workers to be kind and considerate at every opportunity to customers, clients and patients.

When I was referring to “genuine” compassion, I was thinking about the intensity of particular health-care situations – the severely depressed, the critically ill, and the dying.

In the less severe instances, courtesy, consideration and sensitivity might be all that is needed and this could be encouraged by management teams with policy and training, etc.  I think most personnel would indeed have the potential for showing such kindness and that everyone would benefit when it is actively encouraged.

With intense situations, it might be a little trickier.  Not all health-care workers will be able to express empathy and compassion at the same level.  The OP article mentioned that medical schools often warn students not to get too close to patients and many care providers apparently try to keep somewhat of a distance for self-protection.  However, if some of these defenses are let down, it will allow for more compassion to be shown and a connection between patient and care provider that benefits both.  But it seems to me that this can’t be ‘forced’ (or faked?) to any degree, that responses must be somewhat automatic/instinctual and could vary a great deal between individuals and according to each situation.

Not sure about others here, but I’d never accuse you of BS.  wink

[ Edited: 28 April 2019 14:49 by Jan_CAN]
 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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29 April 2019 04:30
 

To avoid compassion fatigue and burnout, I suspect what you are calling for would have to fall under the heading “objective compassion,” and not under what Bloom criticized in Against Empathy, i.e. compassion rooted in actually feeling with the sufferings of others.  For some it’s a tricky stance to pull off, but considering doctors already have to objectify patients’ bodies in order to treat them effectively, objective compassion seems well withing their wheelhouse.  It would make sense to give them conceptual tools for bringing it into their practice, and I’d recommend Bloom’s book as a start.

 
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29 April 2019 08:17
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 29 April 2019 04:30 AM

To avoid compassion fatigue and burnout, I suspect what you are calling for would have to fall under the heading “objective compassion,” and not under what Bloom criticized in Against Empathy, i.e. compassion rooted in actually feeling with the sufferings of others.  For some it’s a tricky stance to pull off, but considering doctors already have to objectify patients’ bodies in order to treat them effectively, objective compassion seems well withing their wheelhouse.  It would make sense to give them conceptual tools for bringing it into their practice, and I’d recommend Bloom’s book as a start.

I’ve not read Bloom’s book, but the OP book review indicates the opposite – that “Compassion also seems to prevent doctor burnout”, that “Evidence shows that connecting with patients makes physicians happier and more fulfilled” and “That human connection — and specifically a compassionate connection — can actually build resilience and resistance to burnout”.  (How could there be a connection if mutual feelings were not involved?)  It seems to me that this would be particularly true for those who have feelings of empathy, which if expressed can provide a “helper’s high”.  Rather than experiencing burnout from the frustration of feeling for another’s suffering (especially in cases where medicine is unable to provide a quick or full cure), they would feel satisfaction in that they were able to comfort and help someone cope.  Personally, I think we all need all of the empathy and compassion we can get.

I’m sure many people could describe circumstances in which they have been the recipient (or giver) of ‘objective compassion’ and of ‘empathetic compassion’.  All forms of compassion are comforting and helpful, but the latter can be profound and perhaps more likely to be life-changing.

[ Edited: 29 April 2019 09:46 by Jan_CAN]