The Importance Of Empathy In Care

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The conservation of patient dignity is a fundamental concept in primary healthcare. Establishing empathy with a patient is a stepping-stone in conserving and facilitating an effective approach to healthcare. I will discuss the four cornerstones of dignity-conserving care - attitude, behaviour, compassion and dialogue - by drawing on theory and a hypothetical scenario between a health professional and their patient. I will also reflect on and examine my own thoughts and feelings in response to the situation, as well as outline and assess my growth as an integrated health professional in terms of what I have learnt. Empathy Establishing empathy with a patient is vital. Empathy is the ability to understand and appreciate the significance of another’s…show more content…
These perceptions may have an influence on the way a health professional approaches and treats their patients; they could also compromise communication in the health professional-client relationship. For example, in the scenario, Sister Ncube’s first thought is that Ayanda is pregnant. She immediately accuses younger girls of not having any manners and making silly decisions – because of her bias she does not take Ayanda’s problem seriously and does not provide helpful advice. Sister Ncube could have rather assessed how she would have felt in the situation to promote her own, objective understanding. With a positive attitude and open mind, she would have made Ayanda feel more comfortable. Health professionals need to examine their attitudes and assess whether their assumptions are accurate, as well the effects of these assumptions on developing empathic relationships with patients. Our perceptions spill over into our…show more content…
Sister Ncube did not show any compassion towards Ayanda – she did not respond to her emotional cry for help about feeling stressed; she simply wants to give Ayanda medication and send her on her way. After gently touching Ayanda’s arm or hugging her, she could have attempted to understand Ayanda’s current situation and provided containment for her emotions by translating a mutual understanding of her feelings into smaller components to consider (Gibson, Swart & Sandenbergh, 2002:43). In doing so, Ayanda would have calmed down and become more willing to share possibly factually based information, which may have lead to the identification of an underlying medical condition and not the simple conclusion of pain/cramping due to stress. Compassion is conveyed in many forms – most directly with appropriately sensitive

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