Every day caregivers are in a battle. We are fighting against burnout, compassion fatigue, and a loss of empathy. A lot is being asked of us. We are expected to be empathetic with strong boundaries. To be compassionate but still keep it moving. To listen to what our patients/clients are saying, while also checking off all the boxes.
Chances are, you didn’t go into this field to check off boxes. You wanted to make a difference, to be of help, and to ease peoples’ suffering, am I right? So how do we maintain that while still getting everything we need done?
Throughout the years I’ve had the opportunity to observe many of the pros in my field and one thing I’ve noticed about them all is… they PAY ATTENTION. They may not have 20 minutes for that patient or client, but for that time they do have they are present with the person they are serving.
One of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes speaks to this,
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I’ve had a number of doctors appointments lately, and it’s been eye opening to be on the other side of the patient/caregiver role. In one of the positive experiences, I saw a podiatrist who was instantly present the moment I arrived. She asked me what brought me in, assessed me, thoroughly explained everything I was concerned about and then left room for my questions. She was finished in 8 minutes. Say what?!?! I walked out of there thinking I had just spent 30 minutes with her. Nope! But her ability to be present with me, made my experience exceptional. I have since recommended her to everyone I know. Why? Because it turns out it wasn’t about the amount of time she spent with me, but the how I felt during that time.
That’s what being present does for the people we serve. They feel seen and heard and cared for.
And what does it do for you? It prevents you from becoming a robot and instead someone who has access to their emotions and an ability to empathize even if the moments of connection must remain brief.
Of course always remember, “You cannot pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first.”
Take care of YOU.