On This Eve of Giving Thanks

We’re living in thoughtful times. Everyday in healthcare I am humbled by the care, compassion and thoughtfulness exhibited by the staff at our hospitals and clinics. They don’t show this because it’s prescribed in a handbook, or policy and procedure. They’re not after a high rating on the next patient care survey. They don’t need prodding by their superiors. They do it because they care, really care about the people they serve.

It’s the telltale signs: Bringing items of comfort to a patient before they ask; adjusting a dressing, while holding the patient’s hand; looking the patient in the eye and telling them that, yes, everything is going to be okay; not hesitating to call those in charge when they feel their patient requires special attention and not taking no for an answer. We could be cynical and say that’s what they get paid for, but that wouldn’t be the whole story. The compassion and willingness to serve is either there or not and no amount of in services, seminars, or motivational posters can make this happen.

It’s a pulling, a tugging to have a life of meaning. To create a force of caring that when they leave there is a vacuum; a sense that goodness was here and has briefly stepped away. They are the mortar between the bricks, the glue that holds our sense of what it means to be decent in a world where decency recedes or becomes nonexistent.

As we give thanks this year for all we have, let’s also take a moment and give thanks. Thanks to those whose commitment to caring gives us pause and allows us to marvel at the beauty of people whose lives briefly intersect with ours and leave hope in their wake.

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About Steve P. Sanders

A general internist writing and sharing ideas and art.

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