In school, we learned that empathy allows one to step into the shoes of another and grow from their experience. This can be a difficult concept to grasp and even harder to apply in stressful situations, but not for Elizabeth Anderson. The way in which she displays empathy and kindness towards patients and peers is effortless and can be a lesson to us all.
We recently had a challenging patient on our unit who pushed both buttons and boundaries. Elizabeth never let unkind words or actions faze her but found a light in which to see the world from the patient's eyes in order to provide help that, perhaps, the patient herself didn't realize she needed.
Following discharge, this patient came by to visit on the unit and expressed that she was lonely and that she did not have any visitors and no one to purchase incidental items important to her. Instead of merely sympathizing or moving on with her already busy day, Elizabeth took the time to stop and listen. She recognized the basic human need for love and looked past any negative history. Elizabeth then went out of her way to spend her own time and resources to purchase simple groceries for the patient and deliver them in her time off. This ability to find compassion and forgiveness is what sets Elizabeth apart from her peers. She was able to look past barriers to see the fellow human in need and reached out a hand to help. While we all can continue to learn and grow, Elizabeth shows us that compassion is a simple act that goes a long way.