As I sit waiting for my taxi to take me to the airport, I am reflecting on the past few days being part of the first Center for Innovation conference. The Center for Innovation is a merging of two important organizations working in the ‘culture change’ space: Pioneer Network and The Greenhouse Project. Pioneer has been an informal partner to VTI for many years, so it felt important for VTI to be present at this unique opportunity.
I’d like to share my highlight, where I was inspired and learned. Keynote speaker, Dr. Stephan Trzeciak is Chief of Medicine at Cooper University Health Care (New Jersey) and a fervent researcher in measuring the positive effects of compassion. He defines compassion as empathy + action. Empathy without the possibility of doing something to relieve the suffering, creates frustration and burnout. We’ll get to that later.
Trzeciak shared the many research studies that showed that the quality of the relationship between a care provider and recipient is tied with better health outcomes. Feeling connected to another human being is healing while loneliness is killing.
There is a direct relationship between less caring and less safety. In other words, connection creates safer environments for older adults.
When a physician uses empathy, patient self-care increases as does compliance.
Compassion combats demoralization among care providers. When teammates develop trusting and caring bonds amongst themselves, there is a culture of care which improves the lives of residents living in long-term care. Compassion is therapeutic for the giver!
Research shows that using compassion takes only 40 seconds. This particular study blows apart the myth that connecting and communicating with people takes too much time.
Another study showed a direct inverse relationship between using compassion and burnout. The less compassion, the more burnout. Compassion creates resilience.
Dr. Trzeciak is currently working on ways of teaching physicians to let go of what they were taught in medical school, ‘DON’T CARE TOO MUCH.’ Instead, how do we teach physicians empathy, intentionally moving into the needs and feelings of the other person. VTI hopes to offer some of its own research on the success of the new Validation for Physicians training which intends to accomplish exactly what Dr. Trzeciak is talking about.
For details on the various research studies Dr. Trzeciak cited, please see his publication:
Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence That Caring Makes a Difference
By Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony Mazzarelli, 2019.