Embracing Civility

The REAL Healthcare Reform!

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When Sympathy is Not Enough . . .

All of us at Embracing Civility are honored to have Corey Anne Rotella, CNA, lend her very special voice to our blog as a regular contributor. Corey has worked on the frontlines of long term care since 2008. As she states, “Sometimes, you pick a career and sometimes a career picks you. In my case, the latter is true.”  (You can read more about Corey below.)

Here, Corey shares her thoughts on the importance of empathy in healthcare:

judy garland2Even before becoming a nursing assistant, I considered myself to be a sympathetic person, capable of feeling great sorrow for those in less fortunate circumstances. I would think, “Those poor homeless, sick, or emotionally disturbed people. How very sorry I feel for them!” Such feelings of sympathy tugged at my heart—but not for long. They moved quickly to the back burner, replaced by the routine of my own daily life.

The hard truth is that those fleeting moments of sorrow were really about ME. I had no idea what the people in those situations were going through, emotionally, mentally or physically. I only knew that it was far worse than anything that was happening to me. I realized that, in my sympathy, I was wishing I could pull them up to my level–without having any real understanding of their current struggles.

That’s the trouble with sympathy…
it’s all about the sympathizer.
That’s why the feelings fade.

It’s like those memes you see on Facebook: “Can I get a thousand likes for this child with cancer?” Or, “Repost this picture of an injured animal; otherwise you support animal abuse!”

Messages like these fly through the internet at a dizzying pace, forgotten in days, if not hours, and replaced with something else that MUST BE RE-POSTED. While it is a nice to know that people do care about others, this “sympathy” does nothing to enact lasting change.

Sympathy is a good beginning, but it doesn’t run deeply enough to foster the kind of understanding that we can use to ultimately heal one another. That’s why, in healthcare, sympathy by itself is a useless emotion! In this field, we have to meet people where they are rather than attempt to pull them “up” to where we are. To accomplish this, we need empathy.

Empathy is the ability to walk in another’s shoes. It is a skill, and like any skill, it requires both thought and practice. It takes time to develop but the value of empathy in every walk of life cannot be overstated.

But how can a young, healthy person possibly understand what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s or cancer? How do you walk in the shoes of someone living with mental illness or who is facing a terminal illness?

The most honest answer is that we can’t. Not exactly. But we CAN relate. Every one of us brings our own unique set of experiences to each situation. For example, I don’t know what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s disease, but I do know what it is like to feel as if I am not valued. I do know what it’s like to feel scared. I do know what it’s like to need help and not know where to turn. Someone living with Alzheimer’s is probably feeling all of those emotions.

I am able to use my own experiences to identify and relate to their troubles. I can apply what helped me through my difficulties to help them with theirs. So, where sympathy is passive (you feel it and move on), empathy is active, creative and helpful.

There is no “one size fits all” solution to everyone’s problem, but the ability to genuinely empathize with others opens the door to solutions.

Empathy is equally important when engaging with co-workers.

One of my favorite parts of working in healthcare is the diversity. We interact with people from a variety of educational, cultural and economic backgrounds—and we all bring something different to the table.

Things run smoothest when we can all relate to and understand each other without prejudging or making assumptions. Unfortunately, prejudging and making assumptions about others is prevalent in the healthcare field, and patients suffer because of it.

Look around at your team. Can you be more helpful and understanding to the new girl who speaks English as a second language? What about the older nurse who is burned out and crabby? Can you imagine the pressure that doctor feels? And someone in billing just lost her husband to cancer.

It’s not enough just to feel sorry for these people. EMPATHY is the only thing that helps. Empathy creates bridges and bonds. It helps people feel safe. It fosters an environment where everyone feels supported and valued.

Whether you work in housekeeping or perform brain surgery, empathy is a skill everyone can improve upon! We must all remember that (regardless of our differences) we have all experienced the same emotions and we are all working towards the same goals. If we can do this, then we can achieve a more productive, healthier, and happier work environment.


Here’s more about Corey Anne Rotella, in her own words:

Corey2“At first, I worked in the housekeeping department at an assisted living facility until I could afford to take the state test. Then I moved up to CNA. I also have my Medication Aid certification, but my heart is on the floor, where I can interact, observe and care for my residents.  My priority is taking time with my residents so that they know they are valued as human beings.  At the end of the day, don’t we all need to know that?

What I love most about my job as a CNA is that every single lesson I learn at work can be applied in all areas of my life.  A lifelong chronicler, I began to fuse my two passions and write about my work experiences, my perceptions and the issues that we all face in the healthcare system–patients and workers alike.

How Will You Thank Your CNAs?

behind_nurse_running_cna_buttonHey Nurses!  Have you thanked your CNA today? 

National Nursing Assistants Week starts in 2 days!  Now is the time to shout out to the world just how much your CNAs mean to you!

Here are a few ways you can do it:

JFNA-logoCheck out what some celebrities have to say about nursing assistants!  Then leave
your comment to share in the shower of praise for your healthcare team’s
hardest working members!

newcover.inddAnd don’t forget, we’re giving away a free copy of our book when you
leave a comment HERE!
 Tell us how much you appreciate the
CNAs on your team!

12packHow about a gift to give your team?  Today only get a 12 PACK of our books
to give as gifts to your team.  Get them today only for a special, one-day-only, teeny-tiny price!  Hurry! This offer ends at midnight tonight!

Free Giveaway for National Nursing Assistants Week

CNA WeekNational Nursing Assistants Week starts in just 3 days.  So we’re getting a head start on saying “THANK YOU” to all the hardworking Nursing Assistants out there!

From now until Thursday, June 19th, we’re giving away free copies of our book!

It’s pretty easy.  Just follow these three quick steps:

1.  Leave a comment below, (where it says “Join the Conversation”).  

If you are a nursing assistant, tell us what you love about your job.

If you are a nurse, tell us about an amazing nursing assistant you know.

2.  Fill out this form so we know where to send your book.

(Giveaway Ended – Form No Longer Available)

3.  Pay it Forward. When you are done reading the book, pass it on to another nursing assistant who you think may benefit from reading it.

Please Note: You must leave a comment below and send us your address in form above in order to receive your free book.

No Fields Found.

Survey Results: A Disturbing Trend

shockedOkay, remember that survey we started a few weeks ago dealing with bad bosses? Well, after weeding through hundreds of responses, we narrowed down a disturbing trend.

Here are the results:

I have (or had) a bad boss . . .
44% said Right now <~~~ Not too shocking.
31% said At my last job
25 % said A while ago
0% said Never

The problem with this supervisor is (or was) his (or her) . . .
31% said Incompetence <~~~ An expected response.
25% said Mean or thoughtless comments
19% said Lack of professionalism
13% said Other
6% said Absence (never around when needed)
6% had No response

What I did (or will do) about it . . .
38% said Talk to my Supervisor’s boss <~~~ Completely normal action to take.
19% said Talk to my Supervisor
13% said Talk to my co-workers
13% said Look for another job
13% said Quit
4% said Nothing

Did your actions solve the problem?
99.35% said No <~~~ Wait. What? Now this is DISTURBING!
Less than 1% said Yes

Nearly no one felt like their actions solved the problem. That’s just discouraging and . . . um . . . depressing.

When I realized where the results were going, I started to scour the web looking for experts who gave “the best advice” for handling a bad boss.

I found experts who said, “just quit.” But how does that solve the problem? It just leaves the bad boss in place to torment others.

I found experts who said, “You must go to HR.” Really? And that solves what?

I looked in our own book and found the section titled When It’s Not You It’s Your Supervisor, which I posted along with the survey. It’s good advice, but I kept looking.

shocked2Then, I found something that KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF!

Alice, a CNA who writes for a blog called CNA Edge gave this advice in a recent post:

“. . . there is a freedom in having poor leadership. It means we either learn how to become leaders ourselves or we let the system beat us down.  We learn to not just survive in these impossible situations, but thrive. We excel, when they treat us as disposable, we rise above the sniping and backbiting and keep moving forward.”

“If enough of us do this, consistently and not just when it’s easy, we will become an asset that anyone with any sense will be loath to lose. And we will be doing this on our own terms for our own reasons. We will lead by example. If we do that, eventually we will have a voice that people will not be able to ignore.”

I love Alice’s advice because it reminds us that the only thing we are REALLY in charge of is ourselves. It’s probably safe to assume that NOTHING is going to change your bad boss until he or she is ready to change.  But you can change the way you deal with the crappy situation!

Can you take Alice’s advice and find the
“freedom” that comes with having poor leadership?

Will you step up and take the lead?

How can you be the best example of leadership
when the actual leaders are blowing it?

It’s a BIG Deal!

dealThe Deal of the Day is here again!
Save big bucks, today only on
a Complete Civility Training Program
for up to 24 participants!

THIS PACKAGE INCLUDES:

24 copies of the book, “The REAL Healthcare Reform” (read sample pages).

1 copy of the Companion Instructor’s Manual (read sample pages). The Instructor’s Manual includes:

  • Engaging classroom activities.
  • Enlightening PowerPoint presentations.
  • Thought provoking discussion questions.
  • Simple tips for improving participation in discussions.
  • Presentation tips to keep your organized and energized.
  • Fun and challenging “5 minute quizzes” to test your learners’ knowledge following each lesson.
  • Master copies of all the handouts, quizzes and PowerPoint presentations on CD.

This deal is too good to pass up!  Click her to ORDER NOW!  The deal ends at midnight tonight.

Free For Nurses’ Week . . . [last day to enter]

newcover.inddHey Nurses!  It’s National Nurses’ Week and we’d like to say “THANK YOU!”  From now until Monday, May 12th, we’re giving away free, signed copies of our book!

It’s pretty easy.  Just follow these three quick steps:

1.  Leave a comment below, (where it says “Join the Conversation”) telling us why you love being a nurse.

2.  Fill out this form so we know where to send your book.

–> FORM NO LONGER AVAILABLE. CONTEST HAS ENDED. <–

3.  Pay it Forward. When you are done reading the book, pass it on to another nurse who you think may benefit from reading it.

Please Note: You must leave a comment below and send us your address in form above in order to receive your free book.

Are You Fed Up?

If you are fed up with incivility in your healthcare workplace, watch this:

http://youtu.be/MJaxQNsRCUI&rel=0

Today ONLY!

discount

ITK is at it again! Check out their Deal of the Day!

Today only, get a Complete Civility Training Program for up to 24 learners
for under $10 per person

This package was custom designed for organizations with 24 or fewer employees.  You’ll get 24 copies of the book, “The REAL Healthcare Reform” (read sample pages), and 1 copy of the Companion Instructor’s Manual (read sample pages).

Get more details and order HERE today!

Don’t delay! This deal expires at midnight tonight!

 

UNLESS . . .

unless

In the legendary words of the Once-ler from Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax,

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.

The healthcare industry needs YOU to reverse the culture of incivility.  It all starts with you!

“Working in the healthcare environment is unlike any other professional situation.   The medical field is stressful, fast paced, competitive, highly technical and constantly evolving.  And, because human lives are at stake, those of us in healthcare shoulder a heavy responsibility.

When all of these factors combine, workers tend to feel powerless, stressed out, depressed and even angry.

People who feel powerless and angry are more likely to assert misguided power by abusing others.  That’s one reason why many healthcare environments are plagued by hostility, gossip, bullying and unhealthy competition—leading to a widespread culture of incivility.

We believe that the “shortage” of healthcare workers may, in fact, just be a shortage of workers willing to work under these conditions—and we want to inspire you to make some changes.”

Excerpt from The REAL Healthcare Reform:
How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout
and Revive You Healthcare Career

So, if you feel burned out, beaten up, disrespected or just plain discouraged about your job in healthcare, it’s time to read . . .

How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout and Revive Your Healthcare Career

The REAL Healthcare Reform: How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout and Revive Your Healthcare Career

 

And will you succeed Dr Seuss quote

 

Scrubs Magazine Explores Toxic Nursing Relationships

The Fall 2013 issue of Scrubs Magazine began investigating the growing problem of incivility in the healthcare workplace.  We were interviewed and our Self Awareness Quiz was included in an article called “Build Emotional Resistance.”

We’re happy to see Scrubs Magazine is taking it even further!  The Spring 2014 issue covered examples of toxic relationships. And now, their website has even more for you to chew on!

5 articles you can’t miss on toxic nursing (via http://scrubsmag.com/)

Feeling like someone at work is out to get you? Dealing more with politics than your patients? Are you a new nurse who can’t get anything right…at least, if your coworkers are to be believed? You might be in a toxic work environment. In the Spring…

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