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Introducing the "compassion" standard of behavior

This is part three of a series of articles about the new Standards of Professional Behavior, based on Yale New Haven Health System's five core values: patient-centered care, respect, compassion, integrity and accountability. In May, we covered patient-centered care, and in June we covered respect. July's focus is on compassion – being empathetic.

The four key behaviors associated with compassion are:

  1. Smile, make eye contact and offer a warm greeting
    Introduce yourself by name and identify your role in person or on the phone. Make sure your ID badge is visible. Everyday actions of offering a smile, making eye contact and providing a warm greeting create a positive, friendly and energetic feel in the workplace.
  2. Offer thoughtful gestures of courtesy, comfort and kindness
    In a field like health care, the human connection is especially important. Everyone deserves considerate, courteous care and kindness regardless of their medical or socioeconomic status, country of origin, race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, creed or religious beliefs.
  3. Identify and respond to feelings, concerns and requests
    Your response to another person's request, concerns or feelings sets the tone for your relationship. Your response should be timely, positive and address the concern or request. Be approachable, direct and honest. Ask questions to ensure understanding.
  4. Communicate with courtesy and respect
    Communication with colleagues, patients, visitors and the public can take many forms: spoken, phone, email, text or written. It always involves the use of words, hopefully beginning with please and ending with thank you, but so much else factors in: promptness, body language, facial expression, tone, clarity and kindness.