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Skip to 0 minutes and 2 seconds PROFESSOR BRENDAN MCCORNACK: There are lots of views about what leadership should look like. But for me, the essence of leading compassionate care is really about role modeling. It’s really about understanding myself. And I’m thinking about some of the students that we work with, where they often don’t really get this idea of paying attention to the person, understanding a person’s sentiments, or being compassionate until they start to apply it to their own self– and their own experiences they have with family members or particular difficult situations they’ve been in. So for me, a leader has to be real.

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 seconds To lead, we have to really understand what it feels like, to imagine what it could be like not to have compassion, and to really think through how different situations challenge how we can be compassionate on a continuous basis. And to actually be upfront and honest about that; there are situations where we might struggle to be, and we don’t pretend not to be. We just have to try and deal with it. So it really is about being authentic in that regard.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 seconds MARGOT MCCULLOCH: I have to know myself. So I have to have a level of emotional intelligence in order to work with other people. So being a leader and doing it in a compassionate manner for me means relationships, and it means getting to know people. That could be for five minutes, or that could be for five years. But unless I have that relationship, I won’t know how to tailor how I lead in a compassionate manner. DR.

Skip to 1 minute and 31 seconds ELAINE LEE: Over the years I’ve had a number of role models in terms of compassionate care, and I’ve learned a lot from observing the care that others give. Midwives, when I was working clinically years ago, they wouldn’t say necessarily that what they were providing was compassionate care. But it was. It was compassionate care. A particular role model, someone that mentored me as a student and then as a practicing midwife, used to very naturally adopt her care seamlessly to the person that she was looking after. One of the early occasions when I looked after a woman whose baby had died– it was a very unexpected situation. It was very stressful. It was going badly wrong for me.

Skip to 2 minutes and 16 seconds I felt I wasn’t doing it right. I wasn’t looking after her properly. I wasn’t meeting her needs, because I just didn’t know what to do. And this experienced midwife came in, and she just very calmly talked to the woman. She just talked to her. And by the end of the conversation, she had told her what had happened, why it might have happened, what was going to happen next, they talked about funeral arrangements, all sorts of things that I wouldn’t have gone near. Because the woman asked about it. It’s what she talked about– what she wanted to know. And it was a real learning experience for me around compassionate care was about. It’s not about me.

Skip to 3 minutes and 0 seconds It wasn’t about what I thought. It wasn’t about what I thought the woman needed. It was about talking to somebody and finding out what they needed in a really difficult situation, and it was pure compassionate care.

Skip to 3 minutes and 11 seconds PROFESSOR MARY RENFREW: Healthcare is famous for being hierarchical and people having their place in the tree. Actually to provide high quality, consistent, compassionate, respectful, responsive, care– which is what we’re talking about as essential and important– you can’t work in that hierarchical way. You have to understand and respect each other, obviously, know each other’s roles. But you can’t only act inside that hierarchy. You have to be able to act together, to plan together, to talk together, and then to put all that into practice in a supportive and safe way.

Skip to 4 minutes and 0 seconds MARGOT MCCULLOCH: Certainly for me, it’s very important to give people positive feedback in the first instance. So within my teams, I’m working really hard to thank people, to recognize when things have been done well, to recognize when they’ve stretched themselves, when they’ve gone above and beyond, or actually just to recognize that they’re doing their fundamental job– and to thank them for coming into work day in day out, night in night out, and actually being the fantastic people that they are. If you do that often enough and you do it in a way that’s genuine– because it has to be genuine, otherwise it doesn’t mean anything to anyone. So to make it meaningful and genuine.

Skip to 4 minutes and 45 seconds MAIRI O’KEEFE: It’s very important to lead by example, and to motivate others by your example, and to show that the standards that you have are expected from everybody else on your team.

Skip to 4 minutes and 56 seconds MARGOT MCCULLOCH: OK, so for me, what’s really important about being a leader– and therefore leading compassionate care– is to make sure that everybody, no matter what level, knows that they are a leader and that they have leadership qualities. So an example of that is I’ve got a very experienced member of the team who dealt with a clinical situation amazingly. I spoke to him about it following morning after it happened at night, and he briefly described how a patient had been very unwell but actually had been very agitated. They had at one point four policeman, they had the site manager on, they had security. And then the patient became very unwell and went into cardiac arrest.

Skip to 5 minutes and 34 seconds The individual nurse described to me how they dealt with the police. How they dealt with a cardiac arrest, how they directed, and even more importantly they’d gone back and debriefed with the ward staff afterwards. Amazing. I couldn’t ask for anything else. And as he walked out of the room, I said, what fantastic leadership skills you had there. What a fantastic job you did. And he said, I’m not a leader. And to me it broke my heart. I spoke to him about another time, and I said to him, you are a leader. How many people did you influence? How much good role modeling do you do?

Skip to 6 minutes and 5 seconds You were so caring to the ward staff, to the patients as well, and you dealt with so many different people. So for me, I want to make sure that everyone knows that they have leadership qualities and how they can develop leadership qualities to provide compassionate care.

What's needed to lead or manage compassionate care?

In this video, you will hear comments from people across the health and social care industry who talked about what they think is important about leading and managing compassionate care.

Do you agree with their observations? Thinking back to the key leadership activities that you identified from Allison’s story in the previous step, is there anything they have left out?

Share your own ideas in the discussion area below.

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This video is from the free online course:

Compassionate Care: Getting it Right

University of Dundee

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