by Sharna Ill, Spiritual Care Manager

Here at Boulder Community Health, we've developed a system-wide self-awareness practice and we call that P-A-R.

PAR is a practice of self awareness . It's about being in relationship with every person, every time. It stands for Pause - Assess - Respect.

We must pause and breathe before all of our interactions. Then we assess for the mood and the tone what's happening in the room, and then respect the person by responding and reflecting what is occuring in each encounter.

Being a better listening in our organization has a lot to do with slowing down: Just take a breath. That pausing and then that assessing it gives you time to listen. It gives you seconds to listen.

And I think that sort of interrupts what we habitually do which is move so fast and go from task to task to really be aware of whose in front of us, aware of ourselves and aware of how important it is to really take in the people that are around us.

Ultimately people feel cared for in that. They feel really being listened to, it creates a lot of resiliency for staff, it makes people feel a little bit more satisfied in their job and it makes our patients and our families and each other feel like someone has really taken a moment to see who they are.

Respecting, responding and reflecting to pur patients or our families no matter who it is in our entire organization allows for us to say,'I hear what you're saying,' or 'It seems like you're anxious,' or 'I'm feeling maybe there's some fear?' or 'Are you in pain right now? ... Is there something that you need?'

It allows the person to know that you're not leaving an encounter, that you're making sure that everything that you have noticed, that how you have paused, how you have taken a breath and really turned towards this person, that everything they have said matters and that you can respond to what matters and reflect that. So you're having a complete experience.

I feel very privileged because all I do all day is listen. It's the most meaningful thing and one of the most powerful things you can do in healthcare.