I had a fascinating discussion with Jake and Geeta, two members of our educational team. Jake, who is our IT guru, was telling me how he felt the doctors and nurses frustration with the different IT systems used across the ED shopfloor. He really wished he could somehow change the software so the clinical staff “would not suffer as much”.
Recognising another person’s suffering combined with the heartfelt desire to relieve that suffering – isn’t that the very definition of compassion ?
Like many, I had not always considered hospital compassion beyond the patient- clinician interface. Listening to Jake, I now recognise this spirit within so many people across the NHS – in very different forms and roles, clinical and ‘back office’.
How can we nurture this deep compassion ?
Well, according to Geeta, -by “putting aside our egos”.
And from Jake – sometimes “just being”.
Thank you both for such a rich sharing.
In my journey to better understand what compassion means, I spent some time in a Buddhist monastery. One of the senior monks there offered this message about a green Santa which I would like to share with you …
“This season, we invite you to imagine a Santa Claus dressed in green. He bears an empty sack, with no material gifts, but only a gift of the heart, a gift of love. This Santa visits each home, not coming secretly down the chimney, but knocking overtly at the front door. He has nothing in his bag. He greets the family and embraces each child in his arms with a long hug, no matter what color their skin, or whether they live in broken-down huts or luxurious homes. He tells them that this Christmas, he is bringing them the gift of love and compassion, and not gifts wrapped in boxes, because it is this energy of love and compassion that the world is most in need of now.”
May each of us find this love and compassion – in and around us – as we travel the road together …
This is from an email recently shared with my Emergency Department:
“here are a couple of things I’ve worked out so far…
One – for all our eccentricities, the people I work with are exceptional. Exceptional in how much they care deep inside, and exceptional in how strong they are day in day out on the outside. An amazing team I would like to relate to in a more meaningful way over time.
And two – the conviction I had before all this – of compassion being our way forward – now shines brighter than ever. A journey we will walk together, one step at a time.“
What does it mean – to relate to in a more meaningful way ? I am finding out, and for this week it’s been having the courage to accept and to give a hug to those friends at work who care about me and haven’t seen me for a while.
Dear Friends – thank you