The Golden Rule of kindness – Dr Tash Coventry

“Treat others how you want to be treated”

As a parent I have been struck with how often I’ve seen the behaviour of my children replicated in my workplace and more broadly in ‘grown-up politics’, both in and out of the world of medicine.

My kids are well rehearsed at stirring, picking fights for no reasons dobbing and drawing attention to perceived indiscretions. The desire to create factions – even within 4 kids, and to self-promote starts early. I have gone back to the Golden Rule – simply to ‘treat others how you want to be treated’. And if that’s too difficult to understand, then even more simply, ‘be kind’.

These seemingly simple concepts are at times challenging to adhere to – for adults let alone kids! And yet the rewards are so great. It is a discussion I have with registrars, who have been frustrated with non-compliance or the decisions made by their patients. Intentional and deliberate kindness, makes your difficult patients more tolerable.

I love the words of one of my colleagues and friends, a nurse practitioner Kym Boyes who has been providing women’s health services to my predominantly indigenous community for the last ten years. She simply states ‘our patients aren’t challenging patients, they are patients with challenges’. With that simple reframing, there is less frustration and more understanding.

When the patient and doctors agenda are seemingly misaligned, it takes such a moment of intentional kindness to accept the need for compromise, work out where there is overlap, and use that as a starting point towards improving their overall health and wellbeing.

BridgeBuilders is already demonstrating the impact of this mindset on a greater scale. In a current culture of factions and self-promotion, it is pushing back. It is implementing the Golden Rule and applying the skills used in our clinical practice, to our professional interactions.

There will undoubtedly be tests, such as when starting points of members might be misaligned. But how much potential for culture change, how great the overall gains from accepting the need for compromise, starting from a point of unity and being intentionally kind along the way.

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