ACT 2020 Featured Capstone:
Center for Compassionate Care Texas Medical Center
Gaylynn Thomas RN-BS
Nurse, Entrepreneur, Director of Business Development
Vaximmune Diagnostics at TMCx
Board Member, March of Dimes
Describe Your Capstone.
This Capstone Project focuses on creating a Center for Compassion in The Texas Medical Center (TMC). The Texas Medical Center is the largest in the world, with over 10 million patient encounters per year and over 106,000 employees. This Center will serve as a resource center for healthcare professionals and their patients and will offer education and support to the numerous medical schools, nursing schools, schools of allied health, and the other 54 healthcare-related institutions, inclusive of 21 hospitals.
I have spent the last 32 years training and working in TMC and am using my extensive industry knowledge and network to bring like-minded professionals together to create this Center. Healthcare has changed significantly over the last 10 years. When healthcare professionals are unable to give compassion as much as they would like, it causes burnout, leaving the healthcare professional frustrated, and patients feeling confused, afraid, and ignored. The patient encounter causes suffering for both the healthcare professionals and the patient.
The plans for the center include assisting medical professionals in better understanding techniques to foster compassion in their day to day work. Offering data-driven research that has proven results revealing a much more productive and successful practice when implementing compassionate care. Demonstrating that aides in the prevention of healthcare worker burnout. Providing information and support for patients to understand the complexity of healthcare and how to better navigate the relationships with their healthcare providers leading to a much more compassionate healthcare system.
Describe Its Impact.
The process of creating this center began in January 2020 after attending the first ACT immersion at Stanford. Once I returned home, I began the task of interviewing medical professionals as well as medically oriented business owners and suggested a Center for Compassion. After many discussions, most agreed that this concept of a Center was intriguing and desperately needed. Based on the data shown to them as well as my plan, there is presently funding available. We are using and building upon the principles learned in the ACT program and are pulling together local luminaries who have expressed an interest in having a lecture at their business and/or hospital. Given the complexities of Covid 19, we are first implementing the Center via a virtual platform and then progressing to a combination of in-person and virtual platforms. My long-term goal will be to have an actual center in TMC to allow for visitors and in-person classes.
How has the ACT Program helped you become an Ambassador of Compassion?
The Capstone Project I created began by interviewing medical professionals and other related caregivers. In the process of gathering the information needed for my research, I was asked about the program therefore sharing thoughts and insights that I learned, regarding compassion, self-compassion, and compassionate care. The shared information naturally began to bloom into deep conversations on both sides leading to my role as an ambassador of compassion.
How has your life been transformed by participating in the Applied Compassion Training (ACT)?
I'm a much more tolerant person. I've been made aware that we all share a common humanity, we're all capable of having a shadow side yet we can kindly offer each other forgiveness in acknowledgment of these known shadows. It's much easier for me to see the pain in people and know where their anger comes from therefore offering a more forgiving part of me. From a scientific perspective, I'm now able to offer data that shows that compassion creates a better work environment, a much more successful environment in general as well as proven significant health benefits.