Healthcare Providers Promote Humanism and Compassion When Caring for Patients

Updated: 3/12/2013
Colleen A. Nugent, MD, MS, Pediatric Gastroenterology Fellow, Digestive Diseases and Nutrition Center, Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, celebrates Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care.

Health care providers across Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo were recently invited to spend a purposeful five minutes listening to their patients and families in observance of the third annual Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care.

In doing so, Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo joined with hospitals across the country to take part in this small, collaborative effort to bring awareness to the spirit of humanism and compassion by listening to patients' and families' feelings, experiences and perspectives.  

Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care was established in 2011 after the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson, Ariz. Medical schools and institutions stood in solidarity to commemorate the spirit of humanism and compassion for all.

The Buffalo chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) is spearheading the project and outlines the following goals and outcomes: 

  • To better understand a patient or family member’s background, perspective, hopes and dreams
  • To encourage the development of patient-centered care by listening for the unique beauty present in every human being for whom we care
  • To add just five minutes to the many hours we spend learning the art of medicine
  • To provide an opportunity to reflect on this important aspect of our jobs and share an unstructured moment in conversation
  • To create an exercise in mindfulness and a chance to receive the gift of openness from those around us

The GHHS recognizes individuals who are exemplars of humanistic patient care. The power of the organization brings them together to sustain their own humanism and to inspire and nurture humanism in others. GHHS, an initiative of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation that began in 2002, has ninety-five medical school chapters and more than 13,000 members. For more information about GHHS visit www.humanism-in-medicine.org/ghhs.