I have been spending some time thinking about compassion lately. I have been reading medical sites that are asking how they can teach compassion to their medical students. Some say that it cannot be taught. I believe that if you have a heart for it, and a place to nurture it, compassion can be taught.
When I was in nursing school, in the 70’s, we were taught the importance of caring for each patient as if he/she was a family member. The thought should always cross our minds, ‘How would I do it if this was my father/mother?’ When we were in our rotations, each area would emphasize what the patient on that floor or unit needed most. On the geriatric floor, it was our job to look them in the eye when talking to them, touch them once in a while to make them comfortable or to give an extra back rub when possible. I don’t think they have done that for a long time. In the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) many of our patients were on ventilators, or were not awake and it was imperative that we give them a small pink sponge soaked with water to keep moisture in their mouths, put vaseline on their lips, and sometimes to place something over their eyes to make things darker. It is daylight all day in that unit.
I could go on and on, but I am sure you understand, everything we did was with kindness and respect. In my mind, compassion is more than empathy, that empathy is the beginning to learning compassion because once you begin to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, then you understand why you want to do those other little things for those that are hurting.
Here is a wonderful article about compassion from Stanford University. I hope you enjoy it.
From suffering to compassion: Meditation teacher-author Sharon Salzberg shares her story
https://shar.es/1p5x83 meditation master and author Sharon Salzberg showed her recent Stanford audience that she could field even the toughest questions about the nature of This message was sent using ShareThis (http://www.sharethis.com)