Vicki Kennedy's Reflections on Compassionate Care

I had the pleasure of hearing Vicki Kennedy, the wife of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, give a very moving speech at the 8th annual Celebration of Women in Healthcare hosted by the Kenneth Schwartz Center on May 26. Mrs. Kennedy spoke eloquently, but more importantly authentically from her heart, when she reflected on her caregiving journey and the healing power of compassionate communication between providers and patients. Click here to read an article about the event.

It's All About Connection

Each year The Kenneth Schwartz Center selects a Compassionate Caregiver who embodies the qualities of empathy, compassion, caring and presence in their work and life. This year's winner is Dr. Amy Ship, a primary care physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. I was particularly moved by Dr. Ship's acceptance speech, where she explains that it is all about connection...connecting through presence, through compassion, through understanding as both the care-giver and care-receiver. “The longer I’ve practiced medicine, the more I’ve come to realize that we are all, as the years go on, ‘survivors,’” she said. “For some it is cancer, but for others it is diabetes, or seizures, or kidney failure, or all of the above. Others are survivors of loss – loss of a limb, loss of sight, loss of autonomy, loss of hope, loss of a loved one. And I have learned that many of us – like me – carry with us some secret sorrow – a loss or challenge that is not noticeable. Connecting with patients means looking for what is not immediately visible, listening for the hole in another’s heart.”

I encourage you to view Dr. Ship's speech by clicking here and see and hear what connection in healthcare is all about! Congratulations, Dr. Amy Ship, truly a compassionate caregiver.