Many of us have experiences with medical and healthcare specialists who’ve been kind and compassionate, as well as with others who’ve been less considerate and caring. While we need clinical and technical excellence, we also need specialists who have compassion and genuine caring about us—an ability to comprehend our sentiments and concerns, communicated to us in a warm manner. This can assist us in developing trust and generating a feeling of confidence in them.
Interpersonal shortcomings and lack of empathy among medical professionals have the potential to frighten patients or leave them with a sense of confusion or a variety of emotions that range from guilt to anger. More recently, this has become a focus in medical and healthcare professional training and education, where providers are now being held accountable for the development of high quality interpersonal and communication skills. Leaders in health care education have been investigating approaches to encourage more compassion in the clinical field. That incorporates reconsidering the criteria for choosing who to admit to medical school and how to evaluate doctors, including doctors in training.
In fact, as indicated by ongoing investigations, “Physician empathy and subjective evaluation of medical treatment outcome in trauma surgery patients” reflects that patients whose doctors hear them out and exhibit comprehension of their interests comply better with those physicians’ instructions are progressively happy with their treatment, and appreciate better wellbeing—for example, they get over a fever more rapidly and give physiological indications of a more grounded immune system. Furthermore, patients who evaluated their specialists as exceptionally caring during their stay in the emergency clinic were multiple times bound to rate their surgery result as positive.
Furthermore, ‘Empathy in Clinical Practice’ research proposes that doctors with higher compassion levels—implying that they know about their patients’ needs and react appropriately to their interests—experience less pressure, pessimism, and burnout than those with less sympathy.
“Resilience makes space for feelings. It’s different from depersonalization—something that we see in medicine today. The depersonalized response to tragedy is ‘too bad, so sad, get on with it.’ Depersonalized physicians believe feelings are too risky and painful, so they can’t imagine that feelings exist in others.”—Ross Ungerleider, MD
Ross M. Ungerleider, MD, MBA, is a cardiothoracic surgeon who has been considered a leader of his specialty. He is the senior editor of one of the leading textbooks in his profession: “Critical Heart Disease in Infants and Children”, third Edition.
Dr. Ungerleider got his MD from Rush Medical College (Chicago, IL). He performed his surgical residency at Duke University and (including additional specialized training in pediatric heart surgery at the University of California, San Francisco). He has served on faculty and staff at Duke University, Oregon Health and Sciences University, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, and Brenner Children’s Hospital (Wake Forest). He is certified in congenital heart surgery and is board certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.
Dr. Ungerleider is very much renowned for his work in creating safe strategies to perform total repairs of cardiovascular deformities in infants while safeguarding their neurologic outcomes.
Dr. Ungerleider has been named in Top Doctors in America, America’s Top Doctors, and Cambridge’s Who in America. He is known for many contributions to the profession including, pulmonary autograft (Ross) procedure in infants, children, and adults; surgical and postoperative management of HLHS; surgical education in leadership, teams, communication skills, and professionalism; neonatal and infant cardiac surgery; brain protection for infants during cardiac surgery; and intraoperative echocardiography. He is the writer of over 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers and book sections and is editor of two significant textbooks on cardiovascular medicine.
Significantly, Dr. Ungerleider is perceived as a thought leader on leadership, teamwork, conflict management skills, and work-life balance for doctors and regularly presents talks at a national conference on these subjects.
Dr. Ungerleider, recognized as the pioneer in the field of cardiothoracic surgery, always stresses the need for empathy among surgeons. He is an incredible transformational leader who contributes persistently to coach others in the medical field to tap back into the joy of their professional and personal lives, in order to assure deliverance of quality care to the patients.
“I believe that doctors who fail to stay connected to their own humanness, as well as the personal journey being experienced by their patients, become vulnerable to burnout and loss of a sense of satisfaction with their lives,” he says.
“We now emphasize the importance of coaching physicians to learn better communication and interpersonal skills while assisting them in understanding how to make choices related to work and personal life (balance). We train our emerging professionals to connect to their capacity for empathy in order to improve patient outcomes,” he adds.
With numerous thought leaders like Dr. Ungerleider working tirelessly to bring the change, there is hope for a better future and enhanced patient care in the US.