embracing our own humanity …

Imperative 11
To be authentically human in our encounters with patients and families.
To be effective, I must be willing and able to throw off the protection of the white coat and be fully human at the bedside. So often I hear professionals say that they just wouldn’t know what to say to a patient who is dying. But isn’t all human interaction fraught with the possibility of saying or doing the wrong thing? If fear of saying the wrong thing is to govern our actions, how do we manage in our daily lives? To care for the dying, we must embrace our humanity. Indeed, we must have embraced our own mortality, if we are to be effective. I cannot attend well a patient who faces the reality of death, if I haven’t faced my own mortality–that I too will face the hour of my death.

from Dr. Walter Hunter’s 12 Imperatives for Working with the Dying