Introducing the "Compassion" and "Integrity" Standards of Behavior

This is part 3 of a series of articles about the new Standards of Professional Behavior, based on Yale New Haven Health System's five core values: Patient-Centered Care, Respect, Compassion, Integrity and Accountability. In May, we covered Patient-Centered Care, and in June we covered Respect. July and August's focus is on Compassion – being empathetic – and Integrity.

The four key behaviors associated with Compassion are:

  1. Smile, make eye contact and offer a warm greeting
    Introduce yourself by name and identify your role in person or on the phone. Make sure your I.D. badge is visible. Everyday actions of offering a smile, making eye contact and providing a warm greeting create a positive, friendly and energetic feel in the workplace.
  2. Offer thoughtful gestures of courtesy, comfort and kindness
    In a field like health care, the human connection is especially important. Everyone deserves considerate, courteous care and kindness regardless of their medical or socioeconomic status, county of origin, race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, creed or religious beliefs.
  3. Identify and respond to feelings, concerns and requests
    Your response to another person's request, concerns or feelings sets the tone for your relationship. Your response should be timely, positive and address the concern or request. Be approachable, direct and honest. Ask questions to ensure understanding.
  4. Communicate with courtesy and respect
    Communication with colleagues, patients, visitors and the public can take many forms: spoken, phone, email, text or written. It always involves the use of words, hopefully beginning with please and ending with thank you, but so much else factors in: promptness, body language, facial expression, tone, clarity and kindness.

Integrity, or doing the right thing, is the fourth of Yale New Haven Health's five key values. Integrity is the quality of being honest and behaving in a way that supports moral principles.

The four key behaviors associated with Integrity are:

  • Be on time and prepared
    Being late to meetings or slow responding to inquiries, phone calls or emails is disrespectful of others' time. The same is true if you are unprepared for a patient visit or a business meeting. You end up rushing, playing catch-up, bluffing or skimming, which can lead to errors or bad decisions. Be responsive.
  • Promote diversity and be inclusive
    When people with different backgrounds, genders and races work together, they bring diverse information, opinions and perspectives. This mix leads to more understanding, fresh ideas and richer experiences. A workplace where everyone is treated with respect and dignity involves all of us, and sometimes means speaking up when we encounter disrespect.
  • Work as a team and speak well of others
    Collaboration is not difficult, but it requires a conscious effort to work in a way that promotes cooperation among team members and between different parts of the organization. Ask questions, participate actively, seek input, be open to others' ideas, and learn from others.
  • Value different ideas, perspectives and feedback
    Interacting with people who have different backgrounds and beliefs broadens understanding, adds to creativity and enhances problem-solving. To benefit from the knowledge and experience of others, we should value these differences without making quick judgments, assumptions or generalizations.