How do we savor every patient experience when healthcare puts such a high value on productivity and efficiency?
Savor Every Patient Experience
Rushing from patient to patient robs us of the ability to appreciate the awesome privilege of helping another human being.
Contemplative living challenges us to live countercultural. A contemplative practitioner not only slows down but focuses on the present.
I talked about being present in my previous email and blog post, Be Where You’re At.
Patient care is not speed dating.
Speed dating can be a time-efficient way to meet many prospects but it can cheapen the value of the meaningful human exchange.
Eating a gourmet meal at a nice restaurant can lose delightfulness when gulping replaces savoring. Or instead of an enriching conversation with someone you care about, a stressful situation makes the food tastes awful.
What Drives You?
Things like productivity goals and scheduling ramp up our days and are often outside of our control.
However, there are numerous times when it’s my inner turmoil that drives my pace. I unconsciously step on the activity accelerator when I’m anxious or bored.
I do it to myself. I need no outside help.
My ego-self has fits of hunger for achievement, competition, and getting things done.
There’s usually an agitation or anxiety gnawing at me that I’m trying to escape through busyness.
Rushing is my way of running away from fear or painful feeling. Other times I’m overworking to avoid a conflict or struggle.
Only prayerful attention and contemplative reflection can free us from being driven by our fears.
Take a Moment to Reflect
Instead of allowing fear or anxiety to push us into ceaseless activity, we need to slow down a take a moment to reflect.
- What is the source of this anxious feeling?
- Does it feel like it’s coming from a good spirit or not a good spirit?
- Is it based upon reality?
- What do I have control over and, what must I turn over to the Divine?
- What simple action can I do today to respond responsibly to what’s bothering me?
Whatever the source, unchecked anxiety speeds up life and destroys savoring the present.
Silence Changes How We See
Moments of silence changes the lens through which we look at life.
Inner stillness is a place of safety. No arguments. No expectations. No pressures.
Quieting the mind chatter creates space to step outside our circumstances to see ourselves from a different perspective.
Instead of trying to control others or worse yet project our feelings on them, we take sabbath moments in the beginning and the end of the day to center our hearts and minds.
I’ve noticed that my inner stillness influences how I see my daily responsibilities and workload.
I’m much more able to savor each patient interaction instead of gulping it down like fast food.
My hope for us all is to savor the experiences of loving another human being with the gifts we’ve been given.
I’d love to hear about anything you’ve done to savor your experiences with patients in the comment section below.