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10 Ways to include empathy in your medical profession!

Get to know why it is important to inculcate empathy in the medical profession.


Empathy is the ability to sense other people’s emotions and program a part of yourself coupled with their inside feelings and nature of thinking. It further helps to build that connection which indeed fosters better adherence to treatment regimes.

Building trusting relationships, a visible increase in the positive response to the treatment plans, and lowered instances of potential malpractice in the patients are some of the major benefits of empathetic medical practices.

Empathy improves the overall quality of the treatment which also prevents the healthcare professional from being dissatisfied and experiencing burnout.

“Empathy is more powerful than sympathy”

Angie Thomas

Empathy denotes one of the most cardinal aspects of building strong relationships between people.

In short, the sense of empathy lets you feel and understand what others are feeling in their times of despair and happiness without your mental energy being getting affected.

Why empathy and not sympathy?

While empathy lets you understand and walks you through the emotional aspect of the individual experiencing the particular situation, sympathy just leaves you with surface-level knowledge of the emotional baggage. It often evokes a sense of pity for the other person’s misfortune.

The central factor of empathy can be further classified mainly into three types and they are:

  • Affective Empathy: The concept of being able (having the ability) to share emotional support and feelings without really having a direct emotional triggering to oneself.

  • Somatic Empathy: It is the ability to respond to significant other’s pain and sorrow by physically experiencing them in close proximity.

  • Cognitive Empathy: Often referred to as empathetic accuracy is about having detailed and in-depth knowledge of the working nature of the individual’s mind inclusive of how he/she is feeling about the situational concern.

Why do Medical practitioners need to be empathetic?

Healthcare and medical practitioners meet n number of people on a daily basis facing and suffering from one or the other various conditions, and in unfortunate instances, these conditions can be fatal too.

The strong relationship between the doctor and the patient often adds an extra pinch of wonder and magic to the treatment regime. Empathy is the central element, that helps healthcare practitioners to develop a bond and understand the feelings and problems faced by the patient to a deeper level.

This in turn helps in suggesting and administering a better treatment plan satisfying the emotional aspect to an extent too. Present-generation professionals find it hard enough to evoke their empathetic sense and thereby lacking in the personal bond formed with their patients.

In today’s world of advancement and progression at its peak, being empathetic is rare and the same can do lots. We shall have a look at some of the easiest ways to inculcate an empathetic sense in your daily medical professional life.

10 Quick tips to inculcate empathy in your profession!

1. Build a personal connection

Stating “build a personal connection”, just does not mean talking and having a mere bond with the patient. It is about having deeper conversations with the patient and their support-givers, understanding the life chaos they are facing, the raging emotional feelings inside them, and likewise.

This, in turn, helps you to place yourself in their shoe, without getting triggered causing harm to yourself. Taking notes about their conditions and how they are feeling, paying attention to the minute details of the patient, which even includes the right way of pronouncing their names, and more.

It’s often the small things that matter, it is the healthy and pleasant rapport that leads to forming a personal connection.

2. Have face-to-face conversations with the patient

Even though today is the era of virtual consultations and meetings, face-to-face conversation accelerates to have a lasting impact.

Also, by paying close attention to their facial expression and body language while communicating, it helps you to gather deeper insights, meanwhile, it gives a sense of acknowledgment to the patient. This technique works best while giving guidance on the next set of treatments and strategies.

As eye-to-eye conversations with gestures of acknowledgment assures improved and increased understanding with a rising sense of trust for the patient toward the doctor.

3. Try elaborate note-taking

Always try to make detailed notes about the patient, his history, and the conditions he is exposed to at the moment.

This further helps in having in-depth knowledge of the patient and his circumstances and also in identifying the strategies that tend to work the best for him.

While taking notes on medical history, allergies, other prescriptions, and more, it is also important to take note of the emotional feelings of the person. The problems he is facing, his coping mechanisms if any, and so on.

4. Let go of hard medical terms

Letting go of hard-to-crack medical terms are something that needs to be taken care of on priority.

Not everyone who consults you is a doctor and so breaking down the scientific nature of the medical condition to normal language is something indeed that is very much important for both the patient and the doctor.

As it helps the doctor to form a better bond with the patient and the patient no more feels alienated.

5. Ask patients for feedback

Asking the patient for feedback may sound like a totally new idea, but it works in the long run, specifically in building trust.

Asking the patient and taking surveys on how they feel about the treatment and the overall interaction will further lead you with light and provision to improvise adequately.

6. Accept cultural differences

Different cultures might have different beliefs in numerous medical situations. These beliefs can appear to be contrasting and senseless to you as someone who has great educational backing in the field.

But it is also important to understand where to let go of certain factors for the collective betterment and harmonious treatment period.

Accepting cultural differences also means respecting patients and advocating for their rights regardless of their sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity, geographical background, and so on.

7. Project your empathy

Leading by example is the most effective strategy of all time, there is never any harm in showing how much you care and are also trying your best for their recovery.

Encourage positive and empathetic behavior in your clinical environment. Always support positive talks, polite behavior, expression of caring attitude, and further.

8. After-care with comfort

Most of the treatments require some or the other after-care regimes, so it is very much important to guide with something that is easy to follow.

This way the patient actively follows the after-care procedures and also does not feel distant from the doctor. Feeling distant from the doctor is the first and foremost barrier to forming connections.

9. Stay calm

There might arise numerous situations, where you feel like you are losing your calm, but being patient and staying calm amidst the atrocity of the situation is the hack.

It is the lack of knowledge and the initial urge to deny patients that lead to unfavorable behavior, which can be changed by your empathetic and calm self.

10. Include Bystanders

Support systems do wonders beyond your imagination and the feeling of inclusiveness itself is the greatest sense of relief you could ever give to your patient and the bystander (who is equally worried and concerned about the situation.

Clear communication with active listening and regular acknowledgment, gives both the doctor and the patient the feeling of satisfaction of having entered a safe space and being able to understand the troubles faced on a deeper level.

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