Issuing “an appeal to your heart, rather than to your brain,” Francine Dupuis urged staff to make respect an essential element of their professional lives, and even to view a lack of respect as a form of violence.
Ms. Dupuis, Associate Executive Director of the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal, told her audience in the Block Amphitheatre that each person deserves to be treated with respect and, in return, must show respect to patients and colleagues, even in moments of great stress.
“You may be the most qualified person in the world,” she said, “but if you don’t say to a patient, ‘Hello, how are you?’ or ‘How are you feeling?’ or ‘What can I do for you?’, what kind of treatment is this?” A disrespectful approach is particularly contrary to what should be happening in a healing environment, she added.
Speaking at the annual Humanization of Care Medical Grand Rounds on February 1, Ms. Dupuis said the hospital’s Humanization of Care Committee is to be commended for launching a Respect campaign, since respect is so central to virtually every interaction in a healthcare facility.
Often, she said, this can be as simple and effortless as looking momentarily into a patient’s eyes to establish personal recognition, providing a comforting touch, or speaking a few gentle words of reassurance.
While acknowledging the JGH’s history and reputation for warmth and compassion, Ms. Dupuis explained that members of staff must keep their guard up, since “stress has a lot of power over us, and when we’re stressed, we’re not always at our best.”
In fact, she said, “some people don’t spontaneously understand what stress is”—that is, they don’t recognize the symptoms that they themselves may be exhibiting, and they don’t know which situations may be potentially stressful for them.
The JGH is known for its family feeling, Ms. Dupuis said and respect is “a family affair. It’s a responsibility that belongs to each and every one of us.”