What is the role of compassion in healthcare? That’s the question Dr. Emelia Sam addresses on this episode of Leading with Health.

Dr. Emelia Sam is an unlikely combination of maxillofacial surgeon and personal development and spirituality blogger. With over two decades in the clinical arena, she is using her unique background on her mission to humanize healthcare. She blogs at emeliasam.com and is the author of Compassionate Competency: Healing the Heart of Healthcare.

Highlights include:

3:28 – ES: “I always felt like the treatment we were giving was somehow incomplete.”

3:55 – ES: “There was this culture that tends to see people as cases and treat the case and not address the person.”

4:40 – ES: “I would tend to get caught up in the patient’s backstory, what happened before the trauma.”

7:05 – ES: “Something clicked and I realized that I get to be that happy. I deserve that, as well.”

7:16 – JM: “We’re so used to being told that it’s awful experiences that are wake-up calls so I love it when something that wonderful as ‘I get to be that happy is a wake-up call’.”

8:44 – ES: “I would have found the time for my writing. Even if it was just waking up half an hour earlier in the day. I needed to carve out that slot for my creativity.”

9:53 – JM: “A lot of people feel that they have to keep the more empathetic, warmer side of themselves out of the professional realm.”

10:27 – ES: “From the time that you start your training, there is this mentality of ‘suck it up and get it done.’ At any cost.”

10:46 – ES: “As a student and certainly as a resident, you learn to put your own needs on the backburner and only attend to not even the patient, but the case that is in front of you.”

12:11 – ES: “Once you cross-over the professional threshold, once you are in that environment, you are supposed to leave your true self at the door. That makes no sense when we are talking about care.”

17:26 – ES: “It’s all about having compassion for others and for ourselves.”

17:45 – ES: “Most of the curriculum is devoted to clinical competency. … And for quite a few years now we’ve also been talking about cultural competency. And it just occurred to me one day, what about compassionate competency? Why don’t we talk about the human connection?”

18:55 – JM: “It’s about being comfortable with your own experiences and also having support to learn about that.”

19:02 – JM: “With medical training, you’re often taking people who are still very young in their lives – still in their 20s – and throwing them into really difficult healthcare situations.”

19:03 – JM: “These are family dynamic issues and these are social support issues and it’s a big ask of someone young, without a lot of life experience,
to throw them into these situations.”

21:40 – ES: “How are we actually communicating with our patients? How effective are we being? And how does that communication, the ways in which we communicate, affect us?”

24:33 – ES: “I would like to see Compassionate Competency adopted as a standard resource in healthcare training facilities across the board. I would love to see pre-professional students and professional students having this early on in their arsenal, if you will. I want to see Compassionate Competency as the standard.”

Leading with Health is hosted by Jennifer Michelle. Jennifer has a Master’s in Public Health and Epidemiology and is a certified EMT. As President of Michelle Marketing Strategies, Jennifer specializes in healthcare marketing. She is on a mission to help women find their voice so they can create a stronger, more responsive healthcare system.