This week I felt that I did not practice empathy as much as I did the previous week taking care of my patient. Last week my patient was suffering from C-diff, which meant constant diarrhea. I realized that it must have been embarrassing and frustrating to have this condition. I told him I was sorry that he had to go through this and that I was there to help him. We talked bout how having diarrhea was not a fun experience and how we could make it through it in the best way possible. I also had two other experiences of practicing empathy this week.
In practicing empathy I realized that it was mostly recognizing how the person was feeling, listening to them and validating back to them how they were feeling. There were times when it was appropriate to interject my own feelings but mostly it was about listening. I definitely feel that this builds a trusting relationship. In working with my patient he was very cooperative and was not afraid to ask for help when he needed it. I think empathy truly shows the patient that you are there with them in this experience and not just merely on the sidelines just taking care of the objective parts of their diagnoses and not the whole person.
I hope to take the time and see where people are coming from and how that affects their struggles with their diagnoses. Everyone is different and their experiences are varied, how one person reacts to treatment may be very different from another. It is important to recognize this because some patients may need more human interaction than anything else. I think it also helps put into perspective what you are doing for this patient. For me it was dealing with stinky diarrhea but it really did not bother me as I thought about how I would feel in the situation. I would not want to be going through this and I definitely would not want to be sitting in it either even for a minute! I was also reminded that morning of the Savior and how we should be looking for him in our patients. I feel that this is a different level of empathy in seeing how the Savior would see this person and how when we take care of these people we are really caring for the Savior, " Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethern ye have done it unto me" (Matt 25 38-40).