Last week we spent a great deal of time with patients exercising empathy. Spending over an hour with a patient learning about them, their family and their hopes and dreams when they return home is a fascinating, though admittedly tiring, experience. It takes a lot of energy to be compassionate, which is why this is often missing in personal relationships. But, it is extremely important in healing. In order to heal from internal and external pain we need to feel heard and felt. This week we spent time with chaplains and learned about their work. This facet of care appears to be underrated and can be incredibly healing. Regardless of religion or faith, human beings need to discuss and hear each other's pain. Doctors and nurses have so many components in giving care and empathy is just one aspect.
Cultivating empathy in the design process is critical. We simply can't design for a patient, doctor, nurse, family member or anyone without taking on their experience. The "how might we" statement is based around an empathic view. How might we make our experiences at Sibley the best they can be? The only way to find out is to be empathetic.