1. Compassion in Action

Introduction

In this toolkit we will explore ways to maintain a compassionate presence in our interactions with clients, their families and our colleagues. The rationale for this work, as described in the introduction, highlights the importance of compassion and resilience within the health care field and points to the many positive outcomes for clients, providers, and organizations as a whole. Our first focus in the toolkit is to ask: What is compassion, what does it look like in action, and what does compassion require of us?

Simply put, Compassion is concern for the wellbeing of others. It includes both the awareness of others’ distress coupled with a desire to alleviate it. At the same time that we desire to alleviate another’s distress, we also are confronted with the reality that we cannot always “fix” another person’s pain or suffering. Throughout this toolkit we will explore our professional role in alleviating client, colleague and other’s distress while maintaining our own well-being. In other words, we will focus on growing our compassion resilience.



Applications

Staff & Leadership Combined Activities

Steps for Compassionate Action – Scenarios for Discussion

Compassionate Action Steps – Use this Visual and Display in Staff Break Areas

Moving Towards Stigma-Free Healthcare Discussion Guide for Stigma-Free Healthcare

Tips for Moving from Empathy to Discerning Best Action

Introduction to Staff Circles Agenda
This is a great place to start if your team is not use to receiving training in a circle format. Even if your team is use to circles, there are components of this agenda that would be helpful to include in your first Compassion Resilience circle, such as setting group agreements.  

Staff Circle Agenda

Additional Resources for Leadership

Conversations about Compassion – The Compassionate Instinct
This conversation guide outlines five different conversations related to compassion and gives the resources needed to facilitate these in small groups. Topic two on pages 12-14 of the guide focuses on compassion as a human instinct. Share pages 12-13 with the leadership team and/or other small groups within your organization and facilitate a conversation using the questions on page 13 or make up ones of your own related to the compassionate instinct in the health care setting.