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“The Healing Power of Kindness” – Did you read it?


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Kindness can go a long way no matter what your job is, but when you work day-to-day with people dealing with the stressful issue of their health, it’s even more important.

Lloyd Dean and James Doty, M.D., of Project Compassion Stanford outlined new research done by the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) that proves how important a role kindness plays in everyday healthcare. They published their thoughts on The Huffington Post, and we knew nurses would be interested in what they had to say:

  • An extensive scientific literature review sponsored by Dignity Health at Stanford University reveals a growing body of scientific evidence that indicates kindness holds the power to heal. We now know that this often overlooked, virtually cost-free remedy has a statistically significant impact on our physical health. For example, the positive effect of kindness is even greater than that of taking aspirin to reduce the risk of a heart attack or the influence of smoking on male mortality. And it doesn’t even require a trip to the pharmacy.
  • Those of us who work in the health care profession and study medicine have long believed in the value of a kind, compassionate bedside manner. But now, this belief isn’t just a nice notion—it’s sound science. The Dignity Health/CCARE scientific literature review shows that when patients are treated with kindness—when there is an effort made to get to know them, empathize with them, communicate with them, listen to them and respond to their needs—it can lead to great outcomes.
  • The research also shows that when doctors and nurses act compassionately, patients are more likely to be forthcoming in divulging medical information, which in turn leads to more accurate diagnoses. They are more likely to adhere to their prescribed treatments, which leads to fewer readmissions.
  • The review also found that patients aren’t the only ones who see better results from kind treatment—the doctors, nurses, and caregivers who provide the kind treatment benefit as well. A kinder work environment helps employees feel more engaged and less exhausted, which is incredibly important to caregivers who often work long and unpredictable hours in high-pressure jobs.

Nurses, what do you think of this research? Does it seem to correlate with what you’ve seen at work? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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