Hello fellow unpaid carers. Welcome to a brief update of my South West London mental health carers forum. I am very behind on my updates because I have been busy working on my new poetry book on carer experiences. I am also developing online courses for carers. So if you want a bit of education, try some of my courses out.
Going back to my SW London carers forum. This one is for April and the following speaker from Hull University was
Dr David Barrett – Empathy and Nurse Education.
Dr David presents to the SW London carers forum
Dr David Barrett from the Department of Paramedical, Perioperative and Advanced Practice at Hull University wrote a paper on “Effectiveness of empathy education for undergraduate nursing students”.
David started out describing to the group on what is empathy. David felt that we would have our own thoughts on the term and what it means to us and why it’s important. David felt that it’s a tricky one, because there’s lots of people who have lots of different ideas on exactly what it is.
Dr David felt that empathy is about being aware of, and understanding what somebody else is feeling. Plus empathy is being able to demonstrate to them, that understanding as well. This mean’t that empathy awareness is not just not just internalising, but also demonstrating to the person that you understand how they’re feeling. Empathy is using that willingness to respond appropriately to those needs. David mentioned about a term “walking in someone else’s shoes, or it’s someone else’s pain”. David felt it was that as a concept.
There seems to be a problem on just how far you can take it as possible to understand what somebody else needs are? This is because everybody is an individual, we’ve all got our own backgrounds or experiences, our own ways of dealing with things. So whether it’s truly possible to ever understand what somebody else is feeling, He thinks it is a discussion that the group could looking into afterwards.
The reason why empathy is so important is that in an health care setting, it can provide some important benefits for people that nurses and other health care providers care for. There is good research that if somebody is empathetic as a health care provider, then the person they provide care for is likely to have a better experience might see higher levels of service user satisfaction.
If there is a healthcare team is demonstrating empathy, and it can, for example, reduce infection rates, improve what you’re feeling yourself, it can even reduce other complications, e.g. diabetes and other things. So in the end we can see improved physical health outcomes. Dr David stated that most importantly you can also see improvements in mental health and well being. This is where you can see lower rates of depression related distress or anxiety. It is also worth mentioning that improved mental health can also sometimes be seen in the healthcare professionals themselves.
Dr David Barrett started talk about how nurses were trained in Empathy at the course and on the importance of families and carers being involved education from an authentic perspective.
Just to note, I missed a month by Jumping to April, but will add the blog for my SW London carer peer group for March later on.
You can get hold of Dr David’s paper from the link below.