August 4, 2020

Treating everyone with kindness, respect and empathy

The author Henry James once said, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

‘Kind’ is a key value, along with ‘Safe’ and ‘Together’, in achieving our vision of a healthier community, ‘making a difference for every person, every day’, as outlined in our Northern Health Strategic Plan 2020-24.

As Kathleen Weirbiuk, Associate Nurse Unit Manager, so eloquently put it, ‘Kind’ means, “looking past the disease, past the process and coming back to empathy.”

Treating everyone with kindness, respect and empathy and providing patient-centred and compassionate care are a couple of ways we practice the value of ‘Kind’.

We asked Deb Bourne, Acting Chief Operating Officer, to explain how the first i.e. treating everyone with kindness, impacts the latter i.e. patient- centred care.

“When we treat everyone with kindness, we actually are saying to each and every one of our colleagues they are important and adding value, and they make a difference when they come to work,” explains Deb.

She adds, “When we come to work and feel that way, it has a direct impact on patient care. If we believe that we are making a difference, we will reflect that when we are dealing with patients on a day to day basis.”

“A good example of this happened a couple of weeks ago, when a child in our Children’s Unit was lacking clothing and toys. There was a team of nurses who went out and bought clothes and toys the child could take home.”

Deb says kindness is important because “it reflects what we do with each other and our patients.  We are valued and we value everyone who walks in the door, and we treat them how we want to be treated – and really, in the end, we all want to be treated with kindness!”