Apr 242013
 
Mikaela Alexander

Mikaela Alexander

How do you motivate health care professionals to think innovatively, safely and improve quality? The president and CEO of Institute for Healthcare Improvement Maureen Bisognano did just that at the 18th International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare.

Maureen’s inspirational speech “All teach, all learn” introduced the simple reminder to embrace empathy to accomplish effective, high-quality patient-centred care.

When embarking upon a career within any healthcare profession, the patient remains at the heart of our care provision and empathy is a basic quality. As a student midwife approaching qualification I am adapting the way in which I deliver women-centred, evidence-based care which remains responsive to the needs of the individual woman and her family.

However, Maureen ( the CEO of IHI) passionately describes the need for all professionals to capture the knowledge of individual patients and build upon their assets. Instead of  asking “what is the matter?” we need to ask “what matters to you?”  That means we can build a human connection, of hearing, feeling and seeing what matters to patients.

During pregnancy, birth and postnatal period the woman’s body undergoes a variety of changes and no two pregnancies are the same. ‘One size fits all’ is not an acceptable approach when delivering healthcare and whether you’re a healthcare student, midwife, nurse, doctor, physiotherapist or healthcare assistant you must ensure you provide individualised patient-centred care.

During clinical practice, the next time I am approached by a woman with any concern I’ll make sure not to ask “what is that matter?” but “what matters to you?” As a result I hope I will provide high-quality, individualised midwifery care exclusive to the individual woman.

During your next consultation, whether you’re a student or a qualified professional, I invite you to ask your patient what matters to them. If you do, the care you deliver will be with greater empathy and understanding. It will meet the needs of your patient in a timelier manner and be reliable, meaningful and effective patient-centred care.

Mikaela Alexander is a midwifery student at Bangor University and won a place at the Forum, by entering the Student and Person Centred care competition.

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