I am so happy to share with you the birth of my 7th grand baby, Delilah Rose.
Delilah is a rainbow baby and my daughter and son-in-law are over the moon (along with every single auntie, uncle, cousin, and grand parent ). They are truly grateful to all the clinicians who cared for them and kept them safe. But I'm afraid I expect more than safety. Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to suggest that safety isn't important, of course it is. But, gee whiz, if it was just about safety, if safety was the sole measure of excellence in healthcare we certainly wouldn't need Press Ganey, the Beryl Institute, the Patient Experience Institute and a myriad of other organizations defining quality in healthcare beyond safety.
The devil is in the details and as I observed the unfolding of my daughter's labor induction, cesarean delivery and postpartum care I was reminded that there is so much more to human centered, compassionate caring than keeping patients safe.
I mean at a minimum (and I mean bare bones minimum) we should keep our patients safe, but is that where the bar is? Just keep them safe, keep them alive and we can pat ourselves on the back for a job well done? I'm afraid for many organizations mediocrity is alive and well; but is just OK really OK?
I spent the better part of the 48 hr labor induction period watching nurses spanning the spectrum of practice excellence. And while I am not a proponent of a Stepford approach, I do expect consistency in compassion and kindness. Adopting a trauma-informed approach to healthcare means that we recognize that traumatic experiences influence how we walk through life, how we show up in various situations. A history of multiple pregnancy losses is traumatic and not acknowledging this and incorporating this awareness into the approach to care can add insult to injury.
I was particularly struck by the kindness, patience and compassion of the lactation consultants (LC). Prior to meeting the LC my daughter received conflicting information, aggressive 'support' techniques, and disparaging commentary about her nipples (I don't think the intention was to be hurtful, but ignorance cannot be an excuse for thoughtless, unkind comments).
I think what I am trying to get at is that we need to set the bar higher, we need to be compassionately present with the people we are invited to serve. We must establish clear and measurable performance expectations that ensure excellence in kindness and compassion consistently and reliably.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” - Dr. Seuss
Now, as I share my perspective on this topic I do realize that it can feel uncomfortable acknowledging a trauma history. Many of us have not received training to help us talk about this subject with comfort, confidence and compassion. And so, we need to speak up and reach out for the resources and training necessary to ensure bolster our confidence and ensure consistent compassionate care.
Each and every human encounter is an invitation and an opportunity to share ourselves, our gifts and our hearts fully with another. In this sharing we create a felt sense of safety, comfort and ease that transcends the lived moment. Join me in changing the face of healthcare, we can, should and must do better, certainly for our patients and their families, but for ourselves too!
One sure fire way to light your soul on fire and find your joy in work is to show up to your next care encounter fully present, no ego, no jargon and just simply be with the other person... and watch the magic happen.
Take care and care well,
P.S. If you are interested in learning how to raise the bar for compassionate excellence in your setting Caring Essentials can help.
Using breakthrough, evidence-based strategies Caring Essentials helps you achieve clarity, build congruence, and challenge you, your colleagues, and your organization to become a center of excellence in trauma-informed neuroprotective care.
The babies and families are waiting ,
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