D. Supporting Change Efforts of Others and Ourselves


Whether we are growing our compassion resilience to prevent compassion fatigue or to address existing compassion fatigue, this intentional shift often includes changing attitudes and behaviors that no longer serve us well. The Stages of Change offers a model for people to understand the complex path towards successful change and how to support our own change efforts as well as the change efforts of colleagues and those we supervise. This model identifies effective action and responses at each stage to avoid the unintended negative consequences of mismatched efforts.

James Prochaska, John Norcross and Carlo DiClemente are the researchers and architects of the Stages of Change model. It is also known as the Transtheoretical Model. The model assesses an individual’s readiness to act on a new, healthier behavior, and provides strategies, or processes of change to guide the individual through the stages of change to Action and Maintenance.


The Stages of Change Powerpoint provides an overview of the Stages of Change model. View the slides in the mode that allows you to read the notes for each slide or as pdf.


Leadership Activity

What’s the Stage? What’s My Response? This brief activity lists statements to practice identifying the stage they represent. It will build leaders’ ability to identify what stage someone is at so they can choose effective supports for that person’s desired behavior change. Pages two and three provide a chart that takes the statements from the What Stage activity and suggests helpful responses to support that person in their current stage of change.

Staff Activity

Navigating Your Way Through the Stages of Change handout that describes each stage and gives self-help hints for those looking at their own change behaviors and hints for how to help others as they navigate change.

Individual Reflection Worksheet The individual names a target change and goal behavior, identifies the stage of their current change, and completes questions based on their stage of change.

12. Compassionate Engagement with Families & Other Caregivers


“Engagement is often viewed as synonymous with involvement. Involvement in services is important, but real engagement goes beyond that. Families can be involved and compliant without being engaged. Engagement is motivating and empowering families to recognize their own needs, strengths and resources and to take an active role in changing things for the better. Engagement is what keeps families working in the sometimes slow process of positive change” –Sue Steib (2004).


Additional Resources

Family members often become caregivers outside of the health care setting, and offering support is essential. The Schwartz Center offers various links to resources to help family caregivers.

The article “Few hospitals dedicate space for family caregivers, but that could change” discusses supporting family caregivers through dedicated spaces and other resources, and the importance of family caregiver well-being on client well-being.

The core concepts of Patient- and Family-Centered Care are used widely in efforts to better engage families in the delivery of care. To learn more about incorporating such an approach into your work in order to better engage with families consider visiting the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care website.

11. Wellness and Resilience Strategies: Heart


In the compass model the four sectors, Mind, Spirit, Strength and Heart, not only contribute to your overall wellness, but also provide guidance on strategies to help build your compassion resilience. Heart is one of the sectors. This section will take a deeper look at our emotions and our relationships—both with ourselves and with others. We will be invited to focus on our self-compassion as we seek to be compassionate in our relationships with clients, their families and our colleagues.


Additional Resources

Article discusses, from the perspective of nurses, workplace relationships, specifically trust and how it contributes to feeling accepted and valued by colleagues.

This article offers a brief introduction and tips for developing better communication skills through structured dialog and communicating your trust distinctions.  

Reflection questions to assess emotional health


10. Wellness and Resilience Strategies: Strength


In the compass model the four sectors, Mind, Spirit, Strength and Heart, not only contribute to your overall wellness, but also provide guidance on strategies to help build your compassion resilience. Strength is one of the sectors. Strength encompasses stress resilience and care for the body. Stress resilience allows us to maintain a non-anxious presence as we encounter the inevitable stressors of our job. Developing our ability to care for our bodies and listen to the signs that our bodies give us supports our whole health and minimizes any unhealthy responses to stress. Becoming stress resilient and caring for our bodies often require assistance from others. Help seeking is a key skill for both of the areas in the strength section of the Wellness Compass.


Staff & Leadership Combined Activities 

Listening and Responding to Your Body’s Stress Alarm (10-15 min)

Writing and Sharing Staff Resilience Stories (30-60 min)
Ask staff to write a short story about an obstacle they faced and overcame. Have them submit the stories anonymously and share them randomly with other staff. The next day, lead a community-building circle to talk about what staff heard in the stories and what it meant to them.

Identifying Nourishing vs. Depleting Activities (15-30min)

Choose Nourishing vs. Depleting! – Use this Visual and Display in Staff Break Areas

Care for Body – Develop Your Plan (10-15 min)

Staff Circle Agenda


Additional Resources

This article discusses the stages of change applied to emotional resilience. The website offers many brief articles on topics included in this toolkit.

Dr. Kelly McGonigal’s TED Talk on How to Make Stress Your Friend explores a perspective shift on stress.