Professionalism and performance

Compassionate Conversations (CC) #DFTB18

By Una Harrington

Una Harrington
Dr. Una Harrington – Emergency Physician, Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Brisbane @drunaem – WRaP EM lead; co-founder of WRaP EM

This morning, I had the pleasure of attending an insightful and inspiring workshop called ‘Compassionate Conversations’ with @FreerMary @SuprPowrBabies @RachelCallander

What a session…..

Looking forward to more #realtalk, #compassioninaction and #compassionrevolution

So, here are 9 things I learned today………

  1. What is compassion?
    • A sensitivity to suffering in self and others with a commitment to try and alleviate or prevent it (We often forget the self ‘bit’!) 
Reference – Gilbert and Choden 2013
    • Compassion is one of the most important declarations of strength and courage known to humanity.
      • It is difficult and powerful; infectious and influential.
      • It is perhaps the only universally recognised language with the ability to change the world.
Reference – P Gilbert, OBE
  1. ‘At work, there is always pain in the room’
    • Not just our patients, but in our teams too.
    • If there’s always pain, there’s always room for compassion too.
Reference – Peter Frost, Uni or British Columbia Business School
  1. What is Self-Compassion? – 3 key elements by Dr. Kirsten Neff
    • Common Humanity vs Isolation
      • Your experience is part of the normal human condition
    • Self-Kindness vs Self Judgement
    • Mindfulness vs Over-identification
      • Being aware of your thoughts and feelings, which may be painful, and taking a balanced approach to them
      • But not being absorbed by them
Reference –
  1. Self-Compassion – Does it work?
    • Improved mood, feeling and resilience
    • Increases one’s ability to have compassionate towards others
  1. The Trichotomy
    • A new way to think health care delivery by Rachel Callander
    • For good therapeutic relationship to thrive, everybody needs to be cared for
      1. The Patient
      2. The Parent/Carer
      3. The Professional


Reference, Page 4
  1. Be brave
    • Ask your patient – ‘What is you biggest fear or concern today?’
      • You might be surprised by the answer
      • You might be able to both reassure and give practical help
  1. Be aware
    • When you give the same information to different patients and / or their parents, their understanding and retention of that info can vary greatly.
    • Consider opening your patient interaction with the phrase – ‘What do you understand about what’s happened so far?’
  1. Be honest


  1. Using 6, 7 and 8 move both yourself and the patient from Fear, Arrogance and Judgement to Respect, Trust and Love


respectful care model.png

References, Page 7.

About Una Harrington

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