We are excited to announce our "Scrubs for Change" project, rolling out just in time for 2016.  Women who are victims of domestic violence often arrive at shelters with little more than the clothes on their backs.  They desperately need comfortable options while receiving care and treatment.  A great solution?  Donated used scrubs!  They fit all all sizes and genders comfortably, and give dignity to those that need clothes while they are getting back on their feet.Catalyst has decided to partner with domestic violence shelters to provide clean, pre-worn scrubs as an option for women in a time of transition.  Our first partnership is with House of Hope in Catalyst founder Holly Godfrey's hometown of Lexington, Missouri.  Ann Gosnell-Hopkins, House of Hope's executive director, says that the donated scrubs will also be used to help provide uniforms for the women who are transitioning back into the workforce, as many jobs in the rural area are in healthcare and require scrubs.


Here's how your used scrubs can become "Scrubs for Change":  Send your pre-worn scrubs to Catalyst at the address below, and we will e-mail you a coupon code for 20% off your next scrub order!  Be sure to include your name and e-mail address with your donation so we can send you your coupon code.  Pair up with other nurses and therapists to send in scrubs together to save on shipping, and each person that donates will get a coupon code!

We hope to start partnering with other domestic violence resource groups throughout 2016--if you know of a place that might benefit, please contact us HERE!

Not only will you be helping survivors of domestic violence here in the U.S, but by purchasing Catalyst Scrubs you will be providing sustainable income for at-risk women around the world.  Plus, we guarantee that you will love our scrubs as much as our mission.  Our repeat customers agree that these are truly the BEST scrubs on the market, and the story behind them makes them the best scrubs in the world.  "This material is crazy-soft, and it doesn't wrinkle!"  "I've washed mine a million times and they look just like they did when I bought them!"  "I love the pocket placement on the tops and pants"--these are just a few of the comments we've received in the past month.

Send us your scrubs today, help the homeless here in the United States while providing jobs to women in the slums of India, and reward yourself by purchasing a luxurious pair of new Catalyst Scrubs!

You can send your washed, pre-worn scrubs to:

Catalyst Scrubs--Scrubs for Change

705-B #223

Lee's Summit, MO 64081

Or, if you live in the Lexington, MO area, you can deliver them directly to House of Hope:
301 Broadway
Lexington, MO 64067.

Feel free to contact us anytime with questions or suggestions!  support@catalystscrubs.com

The soul always knows what it needs to heal itself.  The challenge is to silence the mind.  ~Carolyn Myss

It’s that time of year when we reflect, remember, and resolve.  For those of us who work in patient care sometimes we put our own needs well below those of those who need us.  Here are some suggestions for true renewal in 2016:

  • Take 5 minutes twice during your shift to go somewhere quiet and just focus on your breathing.  In our busy day, it’s impossible to find 20 or 30 minutes to slow down, meditate and clear our minds.  But taking just 5 minutes, twice during your shift to get away from the beeping IV machines, ringing patient call lights, endless stream of questions and spur-of-the-moment issues will help bring your stress level down, slow your blood pressure, and give your mind a few moments of rest.  Even if it means locking yourself in the staff bathroom!  Try this method:  close your eyes, breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, then exhale for a count of 4.  Do this for a few minutes, twice a day, and you will find yourself with increased energy and better able to serve your patients and fellow staff.
  • Turn off all electronic devices 30 minutes before going to bed. Whether you work the day or night shift, getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult.  Studies show that using electronics (scrolling through Facebook, staring at a computer screen, or watching telelvision) right before bedtime increases the time it takes to call asleep and often keeps us from getting much needed restorative REM sleep.  Try it for 15 days and see if it makes a difference for you
  • Treat yourself. Buy one new item for your workday that will make you smile this year.  It can be a new lunchbag, stethoscope cover, jacket for work, or a new pair of scrubs.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it will serve as a reminder that it’s okay to have a little fun and happiness at work.
  • Mentor a new staff member. Remember how you felt the first few days (even months) into a new career?  Find a new member on your team and ask her to lunch or for a quick coffee after a shift.  Let her talk about her concerns, and offer your expertise.  You might find yourself learning from her as well, and you’ll grow in your confidence as a professional and a leader.
  • Write one thank-you note each week—and send it. Gratitude is a surefire way to lift your spirits and foster a positive attitude in you and in others.  It doesn’t have to be a novel, just a few simple words or sentences.  Give it to a co-worker, a friend, a patient—and enjoy the happiness that comes from recognizing others.

Over here at Catalyst, it’s been a year of building relationships, learning the ins and outs of sustainability and trying to best serve the needs of women around the world.  We are excited about 2016, and can’t wait to offer new and exciting products, including pants in TALLs for all of our vertically-gifted customers.  Here’s a few of our other resolutions for our personal lives 2016:

  • Buy less.  Fast fashion and clothes that we wear once or twice are irresponsible and can actually hurt the economies that receive our send-offs as “charity.”  Do we really need 7 coats and 10 pairs of jeans, or can we use the money we would spend on clothes to make a difference somewhere else?
  • Find something and/or someone that inspires you and get connected with it on a regular basis. My friend Michael is the executive chef at Episcopal Community Services in Kansas City.  A classically trained chef with an impressive resume of work, Michael left his five-star chef life behind to use his gifts to serve those that need it most, but no one would call where he works a "soup kitchen."  He has trained former jobless patrons to be sous chefs, serves delectable entrees like frittatas with sauteed vegetables, wilted greens, ricotta and parmesan--created from donated food, no less--and refers to anyone he serves as his “guests.”  I can’t wait to volunteer for Michael in 2016.
  • Be kind. Brene Brown (one of my favorite writers) says that when we can start to believe that everyone is truly doing their best, we can find compassion instead of resentment, and love instead of loathing.
  • Support businesses that share your values. Of course, I will recommend buying Catalyst products as a great way to do this, but there are hundreds of terrific businesses dedicated to making this world a better place.  Find them and support them.
  • Love yourself. Treat yourself as you would a good friend.  Be kind, patient, and understanding.  Give yourself the opportunity to screw up and make better choices.  Show yourself a little grace.

 

We wish you all the best for a terrific 2016!

Some days, trying to make a difference is hard.  It can feel like our small efforts to change our little corner of the world get lost in a sea of challenges, politics and paperwork.  Whether you are on the front lines or behind the desk, it can be overwhelming when your best efforts feel wasted.  Being a change-maker is hard, it's never-ending, and the waves of oppression can be relentless.  So WHY do we do this?
I can't remember the first time I head this story, but it stirs something deep inside each time I read it.  I hope it provides you the encouragement your need to keep being the change that the world needs!  Happy "Make a Difference Monday!"
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said,
"It made a difference for that one.”

"The Starfish Thrower" by Loren Eisely

On this, our second edition of “Make a Difference Monday,” we are excited to announce that we have achieved Pending (Start-up) Status as a Certified B Corporation!  “B” comes from Ghandi’s assertion to “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And at Catalyst, we are doing just that!

What is a Certified B Corporation?  And why does Catalyst have “Pending” status?

Certified B Corporations meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performances. It means that our entire company is set up to promote a sustainable and ethical model of business. It's like fair trade, but instead of a product meeting a certain criteria, it's our entire business. It's an intensive performance assessment that not only looks at a company's goods, but also its treatment and impact on all of its workers, its community, and our world. All Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider this impact.  A company cannot be fully certified as a B Corporation until it has been in business for one year, but we have met all other standards of transparency and sustainability as judged by an independent organization.  It was very important for us to achieve this status early on in our company's growth, so that you as a customer can have full faith that we are "walking the talk!"

 

Why is this so awesome?

From the very beginning, it has been our mission to be transparent with our customers. We love sharing with you who our partner artisans are and how they make the products you love. Being a Certified B Corporation puts that third party stamp of approval on our business practices. Catalyst uses business and partnership as a force for good and that's exactly what B Lab - the nonprofit organization that certifies B Corporations - is all about! With the addition of the B label on our website and products, the assurance of our quality business practices can be quickly seen and understood. It means that you can be sure that our company will continue to be held accountable to our beliefs, to our mission, to our partners, and, most importantly, to you, our customers. Other famous B Corporations include Patagonia, Method cleaning products, Dansko shoes—we’re in great company of organizations truly making a difference!

To learn more about how B Corporations and why they matter, click here!

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to Catalyst’s first “Make a Difference Monday!”  We are excited to start kicking off your week with inspiring stories featuring those that are truly making a difference with their influence, whether on a global scale (like today’s celebrity), in their workplace, or in their community.  

If you’ve been anywhere near a TV or your smart phone recently, you have heard that Pope Francis made his American debut last week, speaking before huge crowds and holding intimate meetings with faithful supporters.  One family even made a 13,000 mile trip from Buenos Aires to New York in a VW bus to hear the Pope speak (the Pope was a fellow Argentine), and they were surprised with a private face-to-face meeting with the pontiff.

No matter your spiritual or non-spiritual leanings,  it’s undeniable that the Pope is a major political figure throughout the world, and Francis chose to use his platform to address another influential political establishment:  the U.S. Congress.  We at Catalyst were inspired by his calls to action, and thought it fitting to feature Pope Francis in our first Make a Difference Monday post.

The Pope chose to speak about cooperation to combat slavery and injustice: 

“It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.”

He encouraged all people of influence to bring opportunities to those who need them most:

“Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”

And to help bring economic opportunity to those that are at a disadvantage:

“It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable.  Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good.” 

Well said, Pope Francis.  Thank you for being bold and using your abilities to speak for those that need a louder microphone.  We hope his words will encourage you to find opportunities to make a difference in your Monday, and all week long!

Do YOU have someone you think should be featured on one of our "Make A Difference Monday" posts?  Are you making a difference and want to tell us about your journey?  Write to support@catalystscrubs.com, we’d love to hear your stories and feature you or someone you admire in an upcoming post.  And if you’re submission is featured, we’ll send some Catalyst awesomeness your way!

"We live with the objective of being happy.  Our lives are all different yet the same."  --Anne Frank

I’ve lived in and around Kansas City my entire life.  Anyone with ties to KC knows that the major part of Kansas City is actually in Missouri, and anyone who doesn’t have ties to Kansas City…doesn’t really care.  Kansas City is beautiful, vibrant and full of culture, but for most of the nation it sits squarely in what is known as “flyover country.”

When I started working with Alpha Fashions in Chennai, India to make Catalyst Scrubs, I was surprised to learn that we are more connected than I ever could have imagined.  Chennai , like Kansas City, is filled with a diverse mix of culture, technology and art.  However, to anyone in India not from that area, Chennai is known as “flyover city.”  Sound familiar?  For two cities 9,000 miles apart, the similarities of living in a city of relative insignificance abound.

The most disturbing similarity between Chennai and Kansas City goes much deeper than a seemingly harmless nickname.  This likeness puts both cities squarely on the map as important for all the wrong reasons, and it’s one that isn’t going to be mentioned in any tourist propaganda.  Both cities are hotbeds for human trafficking, and both cities are seeing the numbers grow on a yearly basis.

Human trafficking is the 21-century incarnation of one of the world’s most primal evils:  slavery.  It affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, including an estimated 40-80 million in India alone.  It is run by individuals and groups, small scale and large scale, domestically and internationally.  Most victims of trafficking are women and children from poor neighborhoods that are lured to big cities in search of jobs, or film stardom, or simply to escape bad family situations.  Traffickers prey on these individuals and sell them into brothels or forced labor.

In a country plagued with forced slavery, Chennai has the dubious distinction of being one of the largest hubs of human trafficking in all of India.  Because of the illegal but prominent social caste system, women from a lower socioeconomic status are considered to be less valuable, have few rights, and many are uneducated.  This leaves them vulnerable to kidnapping, abuse, and slavery.  Many women are promised roles in American movies, or education in private schools and willingly travel with those that will eventually become their pimps and captors, brimming with the hope of a better life in America or Europe.  The nightmare begins once they realize that they are now someone else’s property, to be forced into prostitution, unpaid labor, or to be sold to the highest bidder.  Children are kidnapped and forced into the sex trade as early as 3 years old.

We might expect these nightmarish tales from a country like India that suffers from lack of government programs and organized justice systems.  But the disturbing fact is that here in America’s heartland, smack dab in the middle of “flyover country,” Kansas City is becoming just as infamous for human trafficking as it is famous for its barbecue.  Kansas City plays a disturbing role as a hub for human trafficking due to its central location and intersection of major, east-west and north-south Interstate highways.  One study shows that Kansas City is #2 among 10 metropolitan cities in the US as a hub for domestic minor sex trafficking.  The US Attorney’s Office in Western Missouri has prosecuted more cases involving human trafficking than any other US district.  Much like the women in Chennai, predators use the lure of movie contracts, education, and the hope of a better life to convince American girls to willingly accompany them to their place of imprisonment.

It’s easy to assume that the audacities are happening thousands of miles away from our daughters, our sisters, our friends.  However, the truth is that we can no longer turn away from human trafficking as a “developing world” issue.  Austin, Seattle, Chicago—all of these cities have come forward with plans to combat the human trafficking that is occurring in their area.  And it’s very probable that trafficking in some form might be happening in your city as well. 

Both India and the U.S. are taking every possibly opportunity to combat human trafficking, but its invisibility makes capture and justice difficult.  It will take each one of us becoming educated, speaking up for those that cannot, and supporting systems that are destroying the poverty that makes these women vulnerable in the first place.  By using our platform and our purchasing power to aid those that need it most, we can be the change that will boost the value of women, empower them and give voice to the vulnerable.  Heal Chennai, heal Kansas City, heal your country, heal the world.

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.  --Chinese Proverb

‘Twas the night before school started and all through the house…mom was running around like a madwoman and on the verge of a panic attack.  

What?  That doesn’t rhyme?!  Just hearing the words “back to school” makes me twitch as I start thinking about trying to work a full-time job, sign up for school events, get my kids to running club/band practice/afternoon sports/dance lessons/piano lessons/blahblahblah, make sure to help with evening homework and get everything signed and in the right backpack by the time I hustle out the door at zerodarkthirty the next morning to go back to work.  Deeeep breathhhhhhh.  

Let’s face it—most healthcare jobs are not great at offering flextime options.  While this is understandable, and you wouldn’t want your patients coming to your house for treatment, it makes the juggling act of getting all that mom stuff done a lot more tricky.  So, in honor of “back to school,” here are my top 5 tips for surviving the school year.

  • Take advantage of school lunches.  Have you visited your kid’s cafeteria lately?  Gone are the days of mystery meat, carb overload and neon-colored vegetables.  Today’s schoolers get balanced meals with fresh fruits and veggies, as well as a variety of options.  Your kid might complain for the first day or two if it’s a new change and he’s not getting his favorites every day, but after a week of not having to pack lunches, the tradeoff for an extra 10-15 minutes of time in the evening or morning (as well as not having to remember to buy lunch stuff at the grocery store) will be worth every whine.  Time saved by not having to shop, prep and pack lunches:  at least 90 minutes per week

  • Keep a shared family calendar. This can be the old-school paper kind, held with magnets on the fridge, or an online calendar that can be accessed by everyone in the family.  My personal favorite is cozi.com, and my husband and I use the Cozi app on our phones.  The point is, it’s everyone’s responsibility to check it and know what is going on that day and week.  Have a quick weekly “meeting” to go over the calendar and make a game plan.  If your kids are too little to read and write, they can still know what color they are on the calendar.  A quick 15 minute meeting on Sunday night will save you hours of driving around at the last minute picking up kids from all over the city, scrambling to find equipment for sports, and making frantic phone calls to other parents to check dates for activities because they told you about it at the last minute.  Designate who is responsible for what, and let that person handle it.  Time saved because you are not responsible for doing everything on the list:  at least 2 hours per week

 

  • Don’t underestimate what littles can do. Children as young as 4 can be expected to get themselves dressed in the morning, with a little planning from mom.  Lay out clothes the night before, or get a divided bin and set out clothes for each day of the week.  Post a checklist (in picture form if your kids can’t read) in your child’s room that lists the top 5 activities for the morning routine.  A quick quality-check from mom is all that’s needed to make sure the steps were followed, and your kids will feel a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.  Time saved by not begging and pleading with children to dress, wash their face and brush their teeth and hair:  at least 90 minutes per week.

 

  • Have a “Dumping Ground” for homework, school notes, and permission slips. I see the organized bins and boards on Pinterest and get a bit overwhelmed.  You don’t need some fancy filing system to handle the avalanche of papers that come home with your kids each day.  Get two paper-sized trays and set them in a convenient location, preferably by a trash can.  When the kids get home, they go through their bags and pull all the papers in the “IN” tray.  When you get a moment (now that you’ve saved a few hours of time from the steps above!), sort through the stack, pitch what you can, then review and sign anything that needs it and put it in the “OUT” box.  If your kids are old enough, it can be their responsibility to check the OUT box each morning, if they are younger you can clean the OUT box and make sure everything  goes back to school the next day.  Time saved not looking for permission slips or being called out of work by the school because you didn’t sign one:  at least an hour per week

  • Pencil yourself in. Stop scrolling through Instagram beating yourself up for all the ways you see other moms doing it better.  It ‘s HARD to fit everything required of you as a dedicated employee into an 8-hour day, and it’s even HARDER to fit everything required of you as a mom into the 8 hours that are left each day.  The truth is, there is no one right way and no one is doing everything right.  Find a moment of quiet for yourself, and it will multiply your peace immensely.  Use the time you save to do something for you.  You are worth it, and they are worth a mom that knows to take 15 minutes for her own sanity.  Read a book, meditate, take a short walk, or just sit in the quiet after everyone else is asleep—but put yourself and your down time on the calendar.   Those of us in healthcare are sometimes the worst at practicing self-health.  Time saved because you can think more clearly after a moment of peace:  at least an hour a week.

 

These hacks amount to at least 7 more hours in your week to do things that matter most, especially if it’s taking care of yourself.  Happy “back to school” time, working mom!  May it be your family’s best year yet!

"Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced."  --John Keats

 

Dear Me with a New Degree—

                Congratulations!  This has been a long road of late nights, tough clinicals and lots of tests.  The State of Missouri says you are ready to practice, even though I know you feel a little bit uncertain.  The truth is, you will never feel like you know everything, even ten or fifteen years later, so it’s okay to just go with what you know and trust your gut.  Trusting your gut will be very important, so pay attention to that feeling.  You will find yourself questioning protocols, procedures and policies.  Never put one of those above what you know to be good patient care.  Ask for clarifications and don’t be afraid to speak up.  Seniority and authority should be respected, but your instinct is what will make you great in this setting.

                Get to know your co-workers.  Not just the nurses, therapists and doctors you interact with, but everyone in your facility.  Chat with the housekeepers, learn the names of the food server’s kids, and talk sports with the maintenance guy who fixes the light above your desk.  Everyone in your facility plays a very important role, not just the front line medical staff.  When you take the time to interact with people, you can give your patients the best care by knowing exactly who to turn to when there is a need.  And you will learn that you are just a small cog in the big machine, and humility is a good thing.

                Be nice, but don’t be a pushover.  Listen to your colleagues.  Learn from their training, and be willing to accept that many times there is more than one way to successfully treat a patient.  You will work with some brilliant people who will change the way you practice your craft.  However, remember that you are there to be the expert in your field.  You might not have the same knowledge base as other professionals you are working with, but you have training and experience that is vital.  Don’t be afraid to give your opinion when it’s appropriate, to speak up for the patient if you have questions about treatment plans or to take your concerns to management if you truly feel they are warranted.

                Surround yourself with positive, happy people.  It’s easy to get sucked into facility soap operas, and there will be drama whether you work with 6 people or 6,000.  You cannot be dragged down and lifted up at the same time, so choose wisely.  And if you can’t find anyone positive to associate with, perhaps it’s time to find new co-workers.  It is not your responsibility to provide the “happy” for your team, just the “happy” for you, and if you are always trying to fight negativity you will start to get resentful and tired. 

Find mentors you respect, and not just mentors in your same field.  Ask to shadow them, take them to lunch, pick their brains for what keeps them motivated and makes them tick.  If you want to grow as a practitioner, you need to align yourself with people that will challenge you and cheer you on.  And if you can’t find a single person in your facility that you respect and admire to be a mentor…leave.  Your professional growth is ultimately your responsibility, not your facility’s.  Every moment you are not growing, learning, and improving is a moment wasted.

                Celebrate the little successes.  You will have lots of “firsts” in the next few years, some good—the first time a patient tells you that you made a difference in her life, and some not so good—the first time you realize you have someone else’s bodily fluids on your scrubs.  Each one is an experience to remember.  Your professional life will be filled with little moments that shape you as a provider.  Cherish all of them.

                Most of all, don’t lose your passion.  You are going into your chosen profession, ready to make your patients and your professional community better.  The best providers still feel this way 10 years later, even 30 years later.  You were born to do this.  There is a whole world waiting for you to change it.  Get after it.

Love and Good Luck,

The More Experienced, Wiser, Just as Passionate Me

Me (left) graduating with some of my besties, Rockhurst University Communication Sciences & Disorders Class of 2002

 

"One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say."  --Bryant H. McGill

Being a great listener is paramount to being an effective patient care advocate.  Our patients rely on us to give them what they need, and we can’t do our jobs without participating in active listening.  While there are always distractions and it’s impossible to be 100% attentive in every situation, here are 5 things to avoid when a patient is speaking, and 4 ways you can improve your listening skills.

A great listener avoids:

  1. Distractions.  Checking your pager, visually scanning the hallway for nurse friends walking by, jotting down notes not related to the conversation—these actions tell your patient that you are not engaged in the discussion at hand, and that her problems are not important to you.
  2. Interruptions.  Aside from just being rude, interrupting a patient’s concern or question does not allow you to hear their full story, and makes them feel like you don’t have time for them.
  3. One-ups. If a patient is telling you about her concern, don’t try to top her complaint with someone else’s.  For example, a patient who is sharing a concern about a doctor being crabby does not feel better when you tell her “You think that’s bad, he yelled at a resident in the break room today!”  A patient wants you to be present in her concern, not thinking of someone else’s.
  4. Premature Solutions. As healthcare professionals, we are expert problem solvers.  That’s what we DO.  However, not every patient interaction involves a problem to solve, and we don’t need to constantly look to find one.  If a patient is talking about her family and how she misses them while she’s in the hospital, she might just be sharing a bit of how she is feeling, she doesn’t automatically need to be told that you are going to ask her doctor for a psych consult or a script of Zoloft (although if it continues or worsens then a greater solution might be necessary).  Sometimes the expression of a feeling is part of healing just as it is.
  5. Defensiveness. If the patient is sharing an opinion about you, you might hear criticism that is not actually there.  If you are concentrating on being defensive, you cannot be a good objective listener.

 

Tips for listening success:

  1. Be aware of your listening habits.  Ask friends, spouses, and others close to you if you are a good listener, and what you can do to improve your skills.  (And refer to #5 above to know what NOT to do when you ask!)
  2. Practice good listening body language. Make eye contact, lean forward, get on the same level as the patient, and remain focused.  These actions convey to your patient that you are truly engaged with what they have to say.
  3.  Reword and restate.  After a patient shares their concern, repeat what they have told you back to them in conversation.  For example:  “What I’m hearing you say is that you are frightened when the housekeeping people come in to empty your trash, and you would like for them to knock and turn on your light before they come in.”  This lets the patient know you have understood their message.
  4. Be honest. Make sure you have time to talk, or let the patient know that you will return when you do.  There are moments during a shift where it is physically impossible to practice good listening skills.  If a patient catches you at an inopportune time, it is better to be frank  and let the patient know that you are in the middle of something and you want to give her your full attention, so you will return when you complete your task.  Give her a time frame, and then make good on your word and give her your full attention when you return.

Listening is constantly ranked as one of the highest markers of satisfaction in hospital surveys.  When you listen well, you are trusted.  When you are trusted, the patient will tell you more and you will be able to provide better care, leading to better outcomes.  Active listening is one of the greatest gifts that you can give your patients, each and every day.