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4 Ways To Create a Culture of Kindness in Healthcare Work Environment

Armen Hareyan's picture
Dr. Len Berry speaking on creating a culture of kindness at work

Benefits of creating a culture of kindness are massive and each work environment must create a culture of kindness to benefit its employees, patients or customers. But how does one create a culture of kindness at work?


Leonard Berry, Phd.D. and a distinguished professor at Texas A&AM University speaks to Mayo Clinic Radio and explains how to create a culture of kindness at work.

So do question is, how do you teach a culture of kindness to a medical institution in its work environment. It seems that some medical institutions are kind and some are not so kind. How to teach the kindness concept and create the kindness culture to a medical institution. Dr. Leonard Berry Responds on Culture of Kindness speaking to the Mayo Clinic Radio podcast and discussing 4 ways a healthcare organization such as large hospitals can create a culture of kindness at work where everyone can benefit.

1. Be A Kind Organization

It starts with being a kind organization. You can't be an unkind organization and treat your employees unkindly and create a culture of kindness. Thus, it starts at the top. Another key is to try your best to hire kind people in the first place. That's not always easy, but helps a lot.

2. Don't Tolerate Rudeness of Staff

Do not tolerate an offensive behavior on the part of the staff. So you have made the mistake in the hiring and you have someone that's rude and unkind either to their colleagues or to the patients or both, or if they are unkind to the families, you need to take that person out of your organization. You need to have the courage to do that.

3. Everybody Has To Be a Role Model/

To create a kind culture at work everybody needs to play their role. Everybody is responsive. Everybody has to be a role model for kindness. And then it becomes more infectious and it spreads into the work culture.

If someone is not kind to a patient or to a family you may wonder who's responsibility it is to take that person aside and talk to him about kindness. It's so difficult, yes. But hopefully a trusted colleague who, or perhaps a friend can take that person by the shoulder into a private space and say "you know Joe, there is a better way you could have handled that situation. I just observed and I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to talk to you about that because it would have meant so much to the patient had you handled the situation differently. And I think it would have meant more to you in reflecting on the day when you think back on the day today." So we need role models not only at the top of any organization for creating a culture of kindness, but int the middle because in a big organization such as May Clinic everybody works for the middle management. They don't work for the CEO. They work for their supervisor: their immediate supervisor on the day-to-day basis.

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It's easy to take for granted and say "I am a kind person," but the pressures of the day in healthcare, all the external forces and management asking you to see more and more patients, a full waiting room and you running behind, it's very easy to fall into a form of abruptness, a form of personification that isn't really reflective of kindness. Yet, kindness can be so important to the patient and the family particularly when cancer is the diagnosis.

4. Timeliness Is A Kindness

Timely care is also another form of kindness in a medical organization or in any type of work environment. We write about this because patients are really stressed and emotionally uptight when they are waiting for an appointment or waiting for a test result. Timeliness is critical in creating a culture of kindness because undue waiting is suffering.

"One of the patients I interviewed in my research on cancer care was a patient that was treated here at the Mayo Clinic and the patient had had a surgery for his cancer and had an appointment the very next day with his surgeon to review the lab results and the imaging that had been done the day before. And he was particularly nervous the night before this appointment (are they going to find some cancer again?). He was really upset. He just couldn't function that night and just before the dinner he got an email from his surgeon and the email said all the tests looked good. That was such a kind act," said Dr. Berry.

Kindness and forgiveness are two of the 5 tips suggested for living a healthier and happier life. Dr. Harold Mandell, who used to write for eMaxHealth.com once reported that kindness is a good natural remedy for happiness. Kindness, as common sense suggests, has massive benefits when practiced in our families. Dr. Robin Wulffson, MD, who also once reported for eMaxHealth writes about a a study, which showed how tween kindness is particularly beneficial for the family health and well-being.

Watch Dr. Len Berry Speaking on Creating a Culture of Kindness and Subscribe to eMaxHealth Youtube Channel for Daily Health and Inspirational Stories.

How do you create a culture of kindness in your organization? Do you talk to coworkers or other clinicians when they are rude or offensive to patients? Please, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. See you in the next story. See you in the next story, where I am going to discuss how to increase motivation to study.

Armen Hareyan is the editor of eMaxHealth.com. You can follow eMaxHealth on Twitter, Facebook and on Youtube. Please, subscribe to our channels for daily health tips and share with friends if you find them informative. eMaxHealth.com follows HON Guidelines striving to provide authoritative, verifiable and trustworthy health information for knowledge purpose only.