A routine of habits to make being kind and considerate as simple and easy as possible. At first I had to plan and practice it a bit, because it didn't come naturally to me. But by making it a part of each scan routine it became more and more natural, and now I do it every day without even thinking about it.
This is my 5-Step Kindness Routine:
2. Lead the way into the room and invite them in with a welcoming gesture while showing them where they can put their things. I ask if they have had an ultrasound before and if they haven't I take a minute to explain the first few steps – the gel, the transducer and anything else pertinent to the exam.
3. Get them settled on the bed, arrange them so that they are close to me (yay ergonomics!) and tell them to make themselves comfortable and to let me know anytime if they need to re-adjust for comfort.
Afterwards I ask what brings them in for a scan today. I imagine that I am asking this of the friend or family member that this patient most resembles, because this method brings out kindness in my voice. I listen to their answer while making eye contact and I nod to show my understanding.
4. From here I use the person's body language to gauge my next steps. With some I just quietly proceed with the scan because I sense that they do not feel like talking or are enjoying the quiet, with others I keep up a bit of a conversation about whatever naturally flows between us. There can be some stories or jokes or medical talk. Whichever it is I keep my body language open, my face relaxed and my smile quick at hand.
5. If I need them to empty their bladder or get up and walk about for a bit to get baby to move, I always show them out of the room and walk them to the bathroom or waiting area. The same way that I would accompany a friend when giving directions.
I have found that these five things make each scan a pleasure. If at first someone is quiet or closed to me I can always at least get a genuine smile from them, and sometimes I can have a very funny and cheeky conversation with a real person.
Using this method of kindness I've had many memorable, genuine interactions with the people who come through my door. I've hugged my patients, I’ve laughed with them and I’ve cried with them. We've connected, sometimes deeply and sometimes fleetingly but by the end of the scan they are no longer patients, they are people.
Do you have a Kindness Method that you've used with success? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.