Education, Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Humanity, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Compassion and the Importance of It

I came across this article on LinkedIn: Compassion at Work: What is It?

We all could have a different definition of compassion, but this is the scenario I came up with to describe its meaning;

“Compassion then, is empathy with action.” Imagine being in a meeting with a colleague and all of a sudden they tear up or make a comment that someone they were very close to just died. Compassion is acknowledging this statement and offering to have lunch together to discuss further. Over lunch, you find out it was their best friend from high school that died. You listen patiently, you suggest that this colleague maybe put their thoughts down on paper…you become a person that cares…

I am a social worker who works as a case manager with older adults. I work in a social services department with 30 other staff who perform various roles from Intake to case management to group facilitators, mental health case manager, transportation, supervisors, etc…We are a team and not just a department. Our ages range from young 20’s to late 60’s, mostly women.

Compassion, empathy, caring are in us already or we would not be in this field. “When leaders model and reinforce values that encourage employees to build closer relationships, workplace empathy will increase. Leaders who demonstrated compassion were more likely to foster employee engagement, motivation, and productivity.”

Now, this makes sense to me. We cannot just go to work and focus on work. We support one another as staff, we learn about each other’s personal lives to the extent we choose to share and we become friends as well as colleagues. To me, this fosters compassion and makes the work environment happier, peaceful, caring. Staff wants to go to work and be at work and when relationships between colleagues are good, the work performance is better. Compassion further flows into relationships with clients and their families.

To me it is win-win!

Thoughts? Examples to share regarding compassion?

Healthcare, ICU

The video that will change your way of working

Hello everybody, my beloved rascals:

What about these Easter holidays? It was fantastic for me, enjoying my family.

Wanting war, today I present you the video that will change your way of working if you do it in an ICU.

By the great Dr. Nicolás Nin from Montevideo, I have received an email with this video that comes from the Antipodes.

In New Zealand there is an association called Hearts in Healthcare, created by Meredith and Robin Youngson, anaesthetist. It’s a marvel, so I invite you to visit it. So I connected with Robin via google + for permission to translate it to Spanish. He answered on the spot, and said that Kathy (the protagonist) would also be pleased to disseminate the message that we have to listen.

I do not extend because the important thing is the video. Invest 4 minutes, please. Always thankful to Paula Calderón for her brilliant translation and José Antonio Ángel once more, by the editing of Spanish subtitles

Just open the video and check that you have activated the Spanish subtitles if needed.

Posted by Dr. Gabi Heras, ICU Physician

* Re-posted with permission. Original can be found at:

Healthcare, ICU

2015: A year that will change the History

Hola a tod@s, my dear friends.

Still of surf on the interview published yesterday by Elena Lorente is her beautiful blog De Tots Els Colors (it will be in English as soon as possible), a gift for me to open this new year. The most complete, intimate and personal interview which I have made, and I certainly think that it will not leave you indifferent because in the last hours that is the feedback that I have received. Thank you Elena and good luck with your new English version Bringing Color to NursingHappy 2015, a year that will be exciting and full of work. Many blogs take the opportunity to look back, we will continue with the philosophy “step by step.” Many surprises ahead and many projects in which we will list. Here’s a short preview:Next week will be launched to light the first movie of IC-HU Project, “Human Tools,” made to participate in the EVO Competition for SMACC Chicago 2015 which will take place from 23 to 26 June.

January 22nd will be meeting in Madrid the members of the research project for the Humanization of Intensive Care. Sure that result of this will be realized the first scientific outbreaks that all we are waiting for and which will yield results that will encourage the necessary changes in our units.

SOCMIC, Catalan Society of Intensive Care Medicine, has invited us to close its 36th meeting on March 5 with the presentation: “Beyond the treatments and techniques,” in which we will try to surprise again attendees and continue generating consciousness.

27 and 28 May will take place at Hospital Universitario de Torrejón the 20th National Conference of Humanization of the Center of Humanization of Health. This year IC-HU Project organizes jointly and will focus on the humanization of the intensive care. Advance notice, limited capacity for 135 people, with pre-Congress courses and a program involving patients, families and professionals of amazing reputation and curriculum come from across Spain. Essential.

And in the next Congress of SEMICYUC, from 14 to 17 June in San Sebastian, has been accepted our proposal of cross topic with SEEIUC on the humanization of the intensive care. Speakers national and international insurance will fill the main hall of the Palacio de Congresos Kursaal in Donostia. I remind you that there are 14 days to send your communications!

By the moment this is all, but I guarantee many more adventures throughout the year, because this idea grows and grows strong, and healthy thanks to everybody.


2015: A year ahead that will change the history of Intensive Care. It depends only on us.

By Dr. Gabi Heras, ICU Physician
*Re-posted with permission from:
Career/Job Advice, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Demand the Best of Yourself

Set your own standard of elite performance and rise to meet it each and every day, with each person you interact with. Give it your very best. Set the bar. Excel in your workplace whether anyone is around to witness what you do or not.

Do you personally have a standard of work that you demand of yourself? The very best employees do and they do it without being reminded of it by their boss. It’s as if their ethical work compass is set at north all the time, but the symbol ‘N’ on their compass stands for, “Nothing less than the best.” And here’s the interesting thing about being around such people; they tend to bring out the very best in others. So instead of lording over others, you find that just being around them causes you yourself to raise your performance to another level you may not have been aware you could achieve.

The really great employees do this. They have an internal work ethic that can’t be taught, but which they themselves learned from observation of others and making a conscious decision at some point to internalize. They treat others as they would wish to be treated themselves. They do their work without compromise and they do it consistently, not just every so often or when the spotlight is on them. Even when they are working independently and no one is around to pour on the accolades they go about their business with the same high personal expectations they have for themselves.

And on top of all the above, they can acknowledge their superior performance, but do it in a way that is humble, sharing credit with others when that credit is due, and when they are solely responsible for something truly outstanding, they don’t necessarily draw attention to themselves, but point to the outcome, not themselves as the focus.

Now you may or may not feel some kind of jealousy around these folks, but their humbleness and consistency of performance at a high level will, if you admit it, have you admiring their work ethic and abilities. Small people will always wish others worked down to their level instead of demanding more of themselves and rising up to higher levels of personal performance. If we worked harder and smarter with more personal accountability, we too could be more than we are. Can we – could we – do better as we go about our daily jobs?

You know you’ll often find that even outside the workplace these same people have this internal compass for high personal expectations and working to do their best. So you’ll see some parents coming home mentally spent because they gave it their all in the workplace, but they find new-found energy to spend time with their kids playing outside, they invest their interest genuinely in finding out how their spouses day has been, and they contribute around the home with a sense of responsibility.

Now do these people have times where they don’t achieve the results they’d like? Most certainly they do. Despite their best efforts, things don’t always turn out the way they’d hope. But the good ones, the one’s of which I speak find lessons in these moments. They make no excuses, step up to take the responsibility rather than blaming others, and take great pains to not repeat whatever they did previously that resulted in anything less than what they come to expect as the best result possible.

And yes these people do exist. If you are a sports enthusiast, you’ll likely recall a very few who in your opinion and in the minds of others who play that sport, stand out above the rest. Just this past week the world of North American hockey mourned the passing and celebrated the life of Mr. Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens. He epitomized class and excellence. Not only did the man have his name on the championship trophy 17 times, he did as much off the ice as he did on it. He turned down the Governor General position of Canada because he wanted to put his own family first after all those years they gave up so much for him and allowed him to play the game he loved.

But this article is not about Mr. Beliveau. It’s about you; you and me. Are we the very best we can be on a consistent day-to-day basis? Do you even want to raise your level of personal expectations to the point where your personal accountability and the results you achieve are greater than they are today? Maybe you do and maybe you don’t.

When we say, “Well, at least I gave it my best shot” is that the truth? What might we have done differently or better to achieve an overall result that would be more satisfying? Does every customer we deal with leave having got an exceptional experience from us that leaves them feeling satisfied and happy to return?

If you are up for it, take this challenge to raise your standard of performance this one day. Start with a single person, a co-worker, a client, a customer – anyone – just start. Push yourself in that single interaction to look them in the eye as you speak with them, give them your full attention and make their need your own. Leave them better for having spoke with you. When you’re done, repeat.

Demand your best of yourself.

By Kelly Mitchell

*Re-posted with permission from:

Healthcare, Humanity, ICU

Miracles Exist

Yes,  “miracles” exist. 

And I put it in quotes because the real miracle is not to lose hope nowadays and you should fight for what you want.

But, don’t miss it! Because if you don’t, you’ll find the job you were looking for or what you desire. If you read the post I wrote for my application to Editor, you know what I said to my last chief. 

I set out to vacuum, I devoted myself to that project that had to abandoned, and I felt happy for the first time in a long time. AND… VOILA, the “miracle” happened. After seek it with all my strength, not to be still drowning me in despair, and calling every door with much of effrontery, finally I will work as a nurse in the special service I wanted: The Intensive Care Unit. 

I know that it is not easy to follow with mood on many occasions. Nursing has suffered a great abuse in recent years. But do not be conformed. 

Visualize what you want, how you want it to be your public health, and fight for it. Position yourself where you want to be in this game. 

Really, believe me, if you want it, everything comes. 

Nurse in distress sends lots of positive energy for all nurses. 
Because we are awesome!

Recommendation: read “The Secret.”

by Ana Polegre

*Re-posted with permission from Gabi Heras, ICU Physician. First posted at:
End-of-Life, Healthcare, ICU

Dying with Dignity in the Intensive Care Unit

Hola a tod@s, my beloved rogues,

Published yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), I share this review article with the title, Dying with Dignity in the Intensive Care Unit signed by the doctors Deborah Cook and Graeme Rocker from Canada.

Traditional  goals of  Intensive Care are to reduce the mortality and morbidity associated with critical illness, maintain organ function, and restore health.  Despite technological advances, death in the ICU remains commonplace.

This review refers to the concept of dignity for patients who will die in the ICU: when the disease wins the battle, when the objectives cannot be achieved or the organic support means losing the human condition; the intensivists have to ensure that our patients die with dignity. 

The authors explain the ABCD management in accompaniment in death: attitude, behavior, compassion, and dialogue. And this also helps to avoid collateral damages and prevent and resolve conflicts with the families. Although, it may seem a paradox, critical care, and palliative care in ICU’s of the present must co-exist.

In the article there are comments about topics such as analysis of the needs of patients, communication, decision-making, providing prognostic information, making recommendations, providing holistic care, spiritual history, and the psychological and moral impact on professionals about living with death daily.

Impressive and required reading. 

By Gabi Heras, ICU Physician
*Re-posted with permission of: Gabi Heras, ICU Physician from:

End-of-Life, Healthcare, ICU

There are no Words to Define It…..

by Alberto García Salido

Neonatal and pediatric intensive care units (NICU and PICU) are units of life…Where a very small percentage of cases children die.
Children die and there are no words to define it…And perhaps we do not have adequate training to face the end of life in these patients.

Thanks to pediatricians, Nadia García Lara (neonatologist) and Lidia Casanueva (intensivist), there is a paradigm shift. Training Workshops as the one done this year for the second time in the Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre of Madrid open a door still closed that without a doubt we must keep pushing. It´s possible that we can be intimidated to see what we have to do to the other side, but that side is without any doubt  part of our work also.
Talking about death in intensive pediatric and neonatal is not putting a final point to the treatments. It must be understood that the end of life does not fail to do, it´s doing otherwise. Because care in an intensive way is care for the patient, but above all, take care of people.
*re-posted with permission from: Gabi Heras, Intensive Care Physician of:*