By Julie Donley, RN ~ Success Expert & Author of "Does Change have to be so

When I started my career in health care nearly 20 years ago, I was struck by
the compassion and care with which nurses and other professionals gave of
themselves to their patients. It felt like home to me as I embarked upon my
career as a caring professional.

But I also noticed how unhappy and stressed people were. I noticed that
people who CARE often do not show that same level of compassion to
themselves or to coworkers. In nursing, especially, there was an "eat their
young" mentality.

Although today that mentality is changing, it is still a problem. Abuse and
lateral violence continues. There is too much fear and not enough
compassion, empathy, or love and respect for self and others. We CARE, but
that care is not focused on ourselves. 

Healthcare is not the only place where lateral violence exists. From
corporate America to the small family business, there are mean, nasty
behaviors that take place on a regular basis meant to humiliate and beat
people down. These behaviors can often also be experienced at home.

It's time to change that.

It's time for us to "Take the Time to C.A.R.E. C" about ourselves and each
other - to change how we operate in health care. "Take the Time" simply
means that we need to take a step back and stop reacting the way we have
done in the past. At that moment when you realize there is a choice as to
how to approach a situation or person, you stop and take the time to
consider new options - to CARE - using the "C.A.R.E." model below.

This model reflects our extraordinary capacity for compassion while
integrating our need as human beings to be treated with respect and
loving-kindness. Using this model every day, we can develop healthy work
environments - and home environments - that nurture the best in ourselves
and each other. Take a moment to consider the acronym C.A.R.E. in order to
improve your relationships - with others and with yourself.

Communicate Clearly. Be direct in your communications. Use the acronym

Vision - express clearly your vision for the department, the shift, your
family, your romantic relationship, etc.

Expectations - people need clear expectations for behavior and for the
delivery of their work. Without expectations, people do whatever they think
they should, which may or may not be acceptable.

Requests - make direct requests for what you need. Teach people to treat you
the way you want to be treated.

Boundaries - express boundaries by telling people clearly what is
unacceptable to you. Teach people to stop doing things that feel bad.

Don't assume that people know how to treat you. They don't. And they
communicate this to you by their behavior. People want to be great - they
just don't know how. By communicating clearly and directly, you teach them.

Appreciate Self and Others. Compliment and praise people freely and
sincerely. Look for the good in others and tell them at every opportunity
how wonderful they are and how much they mean to you. By looking for the
good, you are less likely to judge and put down others. People want to
please, so when you offer sincere praise, they will want to repeat the
behavior. People are generally not accustomed to hearing positive feedback
so make sure your message is heard.

Respect Differences. Each of us comes from different backgrounds, has
different education and brings different perspectives. Be open to exploring
possibilities. When you insist on being right or on having things be your
way, you are not giving others the opportunity to have their own viewpoints.
You essentially take away the individual's right to be themselves. Respect
is the foundation for all relationships. Trust cannot grow without respect.
We need trust to be able to work together to accomplish our goals in meeting
patient needs.

Employ Empathy. Try to understand where the person is coming from. This may
be difficult especially during a conflict, but when you respect that not
everyone had the same upbringing or value infrastructure, you realize that
people behave badly often, not because they are bad people, but because:

*     They have poor self-esteem and do not feel good about themselves. If
they did, they would never do anything to disrespect another human being.

*     They don't know how to behave differently. This is what they know.

*     They are scared. Their poor behavior is a front.

*     They have no idea how their behavior impacts others. Most people

By learning to CARE for yourself and others using Communication,
Appreciation, Respect and Empathy, the landscape changes. People start
behaving differently in a caring environment. When people feel safe, they
bring down their walls which hide the best of them; they are more productive
and cooperative. And through your example, they learn to CARE too and like a
virus, it spreads to create productive, enjoyable relationships that nurture
the best of people - including you.

Does Change have to be so H.A.R.D.? Julie Donley, a psychiatric nurse and
author of this much anticipated book on change, was tired of life being SO
hard and went in search of an easier way. What she found was quite
intriguing: "Hard or easy, it's how you think about it!" Want to learn more?
Contact  <mailto:[email protected]>
[email protected]  to arrange a free 30-minute coaching session
to learn how you too can change a HARD challenge to something EASY. An
addiction and change expert, Julie is named one of the top 100 thought
leaders in her field. She has published hundreds of articles and is author
of several works including Does Change have to be so H.A.R.D.? (available
Feb 2011) and
ringyour-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=0976560534> The Journey
Called YOU: A Roadmap to Self-Discovery and Acceptance. Visit
<> to learn
more about her work, sign up for her newsletter or arrange to have her speak
at your next meeting or conference.