Importance of Empathy in Healthcare

Patient care is more than just healing — it’s building a connection that encompasses mind, body and soul.

If you could stand in someone else’s shoes . . . hear what they hear. See what they see. Feel what they feel. Would you treat them differently?

Empathy in healthcare is the capability to share another person’s emotions and feelings. The empathy we convey to our patients, families and to each other creates the culture of caring we continually work toward.

There is so much power in empathy. Validating someone’s emotions can instantly change the dynamic of the conversation. However, many caregivers find it difficult to empathize, especially when a patient or visitor doesn’t use words to say how they’re feeling.

Before closing his annual State of the Clinic address, President and CEO Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, MD, shared a short video that shows the power of empathy in healthcare. It tells the story of all we see – or should see – in a hospital setting and asks, “If you stand in someone else’s shoes. Hear what they hear. See what they see. Feel what they feel. Would you treat them differently?”

Since the original showing, the video has become a viral sensation, with more than 1.75 million views on YouTube. See it for yourself below.