Compassion & Empathy

Self-Compassion and Empathy’s Vital Role in Building Healthcare Leaders

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Today’s podcast is a ‘Best of’ episode of Healthcare Experience Matters, where we explore some of the most impactful conversations that have taken place on our show related to self-compassion and empathy’s role in building future healthcare leaders.

We’re highlighting three influential interviews that have taken place on our podcast in this ‘best of’ compilation, including:

You can click on the links above to learn more about the interviews and listen to the original broadcasts in their entirety.

By celebrating some of the most important conversations that we’ve had on this program over the years on compassion, we’re hopeful to get our listeners excited about our upcoming Foundations in Compassionate Leadership Certificate, from the Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF), which will take place virtually on May 16 & 17, 2024, from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm ET.

The Foundations in Compassionate Leadership Certificate Program

The Compassionate Leadership Certificate program consists of two virtual cohort sessions designed for leaders who understand the best way forward is by nurturing and cultivating a climate of engagement.

Compassionate leaders create stronger connections between people. They have greater collaboration, higher levels of trust, and enhanced loyalty. This interactive certificate program will develop your ability to be a more compassionate leader in your organization.

You can learn more here.

About Today’s Conversations

What Compassionate Healthcare Leadership Needs to Look Like

Mark Rulle, EdD, joins us for an honest conversation about what needs to change in healthcare leadership. If we are to build a prosperous future for our patients and healthcare workers, we must recognize that the key ingredient might just be compassion. It’s essential to work towards having compassion radiate throughout your organization.

Dr. Rulle currently serves as President of the Maryland Healthcare Education Institute (MHEI). He has served as a featured speaker at past Certificate in Foundations of Compassionate Leadership events that have been a joint presentation of HXF and MHEI.

As a seasoned healthcare professional, Dr. Rulle emphasizes the critical importance of compassion in this podcast interview. He acknowledges that the industry has been through unprecedented challenges, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the key to navigating these challenges successfully lies in fostering compassion.

Exploring the Burden of Empathetic Distress in Healthcare

We welcome Kathleen Lynam, RN, MPA, for a very important and timely discussion on this pressing issue in the healthcare community that impacts society as a whole too.

Kathleen is an Executive Coach and Senior Advisor with HXF. She brings decades of nursing leadership experience to the conversation.

As discussed, empathy is a two-part skill. Firstly, it involves identifying our perspectives or emotions. Secondly, it is about acknowledging or demonstrating understanding with concern for others. According to Kathleen:

An empathic leader is one who demonstrates care, concern, and understanding for employees’ life circumstances.

Empathy helps bond colleagues together and forms the foundation of a resilient and inclusive workplace. Although it is often underestimated as a business skill, recent research suggests that empathy is essential for success in building leaders.

Tackling Compassion Fatigue in Healthcare

Katie Owens, MHA, CPXP, president of HXF, joins us for a discussion about compassion fatigue and its impact on healthcare workers.

Compassion fatigue is often conflated with burnout. Both burnout and compassion fatigue have the potential to significantly hamper the morale of folks who have dedicated their lives to serving others. This is especially true in the time of COVID-19.

“At its core, [compassion fatigue] is an interpersonal, physical, and mental exhaustion. It’s an emotional withdrawal experienced by those exposed to trauma or extended stress over a period of time,” Katie said.

It may sound ironic, but according to Katie, compassion itself is the answer to fighting compassion fatigue.

“When we can grow our skills, empathy, and sense of self-compassion, we can combat compassion fatigue and be more interpersonally compassionate with ourselves and others,” she added.

More HX Matters Podcasts

Our podcast is dedicated to transforming the health care experience so that every person can receive and deliver the best care.

You can subscribe to our podcast for free on all major podcast platforms and for video of our interviews, you can always check out the Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF) on YouTube. Catch up on all episodes of our podcast by subscribing and following us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music and more.

Meet Mark Rulle, EdD

Mark Rulle, EdD, is the President of the Maryland Healthcare Education Institute (MHEI) and he has worked in this vibrant field for nearly 45 years. He has dedicated much of his career to developing leaders and improving organizations in healthcare. His doctoral research focused on employee empowerment. He is a passionate advocate for compassion's role in healthcare leadership and beyond.

Connect with Mark Rulle, EdD
Meet Kathleen Lynam, RN, MPA

Today, Kathleen Lynam brings extensive clinical, operational, and executive level experience in both small and large healthcare organizations across the country to her role as Executive Coach. But Kathleen is so much more than a coach. She is a national speaker, presenter and champion for patient care. Before stepping into the world of healthcare administration and, specifically, coaching, Kathleen spent over 40 years as a front-line nurse and Chief Nursing Officer at various medical centers and hospitals systems throughout New Jersey and New York. She knows what strong teams look and act like, having served in various leadership and coaching positions for large healthcare systems like Duke University Health System in Raleigh, Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York as well as urban hospitals and community medical centers in the Bronx and Queens.

Now, with over 40 years of diverse experience in healthcare management, Kathleen is acutely aware of the power of positive patient care experiences on not just administrators seeking to improve outcomes, but also nursing teams working to make a difference in the lives of their patients.

Whether it’s working side-by-side to help front-line nurses and teams uncover different ways to wow patients and families, or working side-by-side with CEOs and CMOs of hospitals to solicit authentic feedback from members of their teams, Kathleen’s greatest delight is empowering healthcare teams with an engaging, hands-on approach that helps both organizations and individuals thrive.

Kathleen is a respected executive coach who has worked with organizations across the country to achieve results through embracing a culture of “every patient every time.” She has authored numerous articles on patient-centered communication, physician engagement and coaching, and has been a featured writer and speaker for notable organizations and publications such as PX Advisor Magazine, The Beryl Institute, Duke University, Dominical College School of Nursing, AACP, and the Society of Healthcare Pharmacists.

Connect with Kathleen Lynam, RN, MPA
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Meet Katie Owens

Katie believes that the way we deliver and receive healthcare matters—not just for the patients, but for the caregivers, the providers, and administration, too.

As President of the Healthcare Experience Foundation, Katie is taking bold steps to assure that every organization has access to resources for engaging patients and developing their workforce to achieve results. Katie is an innovator, implementing new ways to deliver the best in patient-centered care.

She has influenced hundreds of organizations and thousands of leaders to equip their cultures and instill competencies that create environments of person-centered excellence. Her fundamental tenet is that every person is worthy of an environment where they feel confident in receiving and delivering the best possible care. Known as a leader among leaders, Katie previously served on the HealthStream Leadership Team as Vice President of the Engagement Institute. She also served on the Baptist Health Care (BHC) leadership team in Pensacola, Florida, where she supported the system’s sustained journey to excellence. Katie has led teams of expert coaches dedicated to improving the quality of the patient experience and has been instrumental in creating leading-edge learning assets to support patient experience competencies. She is most proud of having grown Baptist Leadership Group to one of the most respected healthcare coaching practices in the country before being acquired by HealthStream in 2013.

Katie is the lead author of The HCAHPS Imperative for Creating Patient-Centered Excellence and is currently writing her second book about the importance of speaking the patient’s language. She is frequently quoted and has been published in the Huffington Post, Healthcare Financial Management Magazine and Hospitals and Health Networks. She is an energetic, internationally-recognized speaker and has presented for many highly-respected organizations, including American College of Healthcare Executives, Beryl Institute, Cleveland Clinic’s Empathy Summit, Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, and Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Connect with Katie Owens
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