If you could stand in someone else's shoes... Hear what they hear. See what they see. Feel what they feel. Would you treat them differently?

These words end this incredibly beautiful video produced by the Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. We spend quite a bit of effort here at On Being focusing on the sound of the human voice and how each guest adds to our collective discussion. We attempt to draw out the best of their stories and experiences in all its messiness and glory. This video speaks to each person's complexity, the stories that go unsaid but float just beneath the surface.

Titled "Empathy," this video was presented by the health care organization's CEO Toby Cosgrove at his annual State of the Clinic address on February 27, 2013. And it gets at a point that immunologist Esther Sternberg explores in her work and personal life: how new knowledge about the physical spaces of our lives can stress us, make us sick, or help us be well and connect with others.

For so many years, our hospitals and clinics were sterile, perfunctory structures that ignored the humanity of its patients and focused on the programmatic structure of its spaces. Ms. Sternberg explains:

"Hospitals are built like mazes because typically you have the old original small hospital building and then they keep adding wings to it, which hospitals until recently were designed really to optimize the diagnostic tools, you know, the X-ray equipment and the blood-drawing and so on rather than the human being that's going to be in that building. Airports too. Just think about an airport."

Folks like John Cary of Public Interest Design and others are at the forefront of a burgeoning field focusing on human-centered design. And, the nonprofit organization The Center for Health Design launched an initiative in 2000 called the Pebble Project, which uses an evidence-based design approach to "better understand the implications of the built environment on healthcare outcomes." They're learning how the built environment can affect everything from medication errors at cancer institutes to the efficacy rates of recovery with acuity-adaptable rooms (staying in the same room for admission to discharge) to the way caregivers work. They're not only collaborating with healthcare providers and medical industry partners, they're also drawing from the expertise of architects and design firms such as Herman Miller.

In the end, it's about human connection. When we relate to those around us by understanding their back stories and their circumstances, we improve the way we work, the way we live, the way we take care of one another, the way we relate going forward and, as Martin Luther King Jr. would say, building the "beloved community" that edifies us all.

Share Your Reflection



What a beautiful video....everyone should watch and learn....

We are so blessed to be alive and well. It made me realize I must treat every being with much love and respect.
So many people face a battle every day. Thank you for the marvelous lesson.

It's amazing how much and how deeply you have communicated in just 4 minutes. thank you!

So moving. I hope it will remind me think before reacting when someone does something irritating...

Too often we get busy in our daily routines that we forget that all around us are a myriad of stories - a myriad of feelings, and circumstances. This video shows the importance of basic human relations -- look around you; feel, reflect, and offer support when you can. Turn the "daily routine" into an opportunity for constant reflection --
Have a reflective day...

Excellent!! I'm a retired nurse with a career primarily in Oncology and Hospice. I learned that patients aren't just a room #, or a diagnosis. What energy do we bring to the patients? Their families? Each other in the healing arts? I wrote a book, Transitions: A Nurse's Education about Life and Death. I share some of my patients' stories.
Your video should be in all orientation classes for all hospital employees!!
Bless you!! Becki

Can you post a link to your book?
Sounds important for caregivers.


Transitions: A Nurse's Education about Life and Death
Thank you!!

Nevermind....just bought it!

Thank you!!

Thank you so much for sharing. If all health care providers looked holistically at each individual, more than likely there would be fewer hospital visits and sickness. Also, is your book on amazon? Than you.

WoW ! This sure give one a different perspective of others lives.

This was beautifully recorded with care, Thank you for looking underneath what we see.

EXACTLY what I've been thinking during the last two years, dealing with my husband's illness. We've spent a LOT of time in doctor's offices and hospitals and often the strongest connections were felt with the orderlies moving patients or the folks who came in to clean the rooms. So many times I've wondered why some doctors and nurses went into medicine since they don't seem to like people much at all and really just don't want to be bothered with questions or emotions. It takes no more effort to smile than to frown or to be friendly rather than cold. Medical profession: NOBODY wants to be sick and every person you encounter is going through some difficulty. Please stop seeing them as just one more headache in your day and start treating them like you would if they were your mother or father, wife or husband, brother or sister, son or daughter. Because they are just that important to someone else.

We need to remember the same is true for our medical providers though - that they each have a story and occasional bad days too.

Consider what it must be like to have the knowledge and experience of a caregiver and the obligation to deliver very unpleasant news in an honest and caring fashion. What training and support do caregivers receive to live up to the expectations you ask? The emotional burden carried by these human beings is enormous. We identify deeply with family and struggle with how best to transmit a message and deal with all the circumstances that arise. And we will always miss the mark. So often the caregiver must find ways to protect themselves so that they may perform a greater good in an ultimate story of loss. We are all doing our very best AND we are fallible human beings, the afflicted and caregivers alike. Stories are very complicated everywhere we turn. How do we practice forgiveness and kindness as we learn deeper empathy?

well said Doctor!

I think every CEO, CFO finacial officer, bill collector needs to see this. Nurses lives this every day by listening, explaining, laughing, crying with their patients.

Beautiful film! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. And what an exciting concept - hospitals built with human centered design! Again, thank you.

May I suggest a further resource to learn more about empathy and compassion, The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy
The Culture of Empathy website is the largest internet portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, definitions, experts, history, interviews,  videos, science and much more about empathy and compassion.

This is a powerful, wonderful piece... please watch it... it will change you..

I cannot watch this without crying. Thank you so much for making this video. I firmly believe that the key to a better world is to increase our awareness and our empathy. The quiet simplicity of this beautiful video speaks volumes. There is so much healing in the stress reducing effects of the human touch, a friendly word or a heartwarming embrace. To be seen, heard, understood and accepted. And to feel safe.
The holistic view of The Cleveland Cllinic sets a fabulous example for all hospitals around the world.

nice, it makes you think more about others

I am a health care provider. What really spoke to me was that the videographer treated the staff as people as well as the patients. EVERYONE at the hospital has a life and a story. Somethimes its not that the staff is cold and uncaring its that we are protecting ourselves from caring too much for too long. Compassion fatigue is a real thing.

You are so right Maureen. I was in the health care field for almost 20 years. When I first began my job there, I would go home feeling emotionally exhausted. This plagued me for months. I learned to sheild my emotions from all of it. Had I not, I would never had survived the job. Emotionally. Most providers do not mean to come across as uncaring or unfeeling. It's self-defense of the heart. I wish you well.

Amen... I nursed for over 40 years and I agree. "burnout" is a very real thing.

I was really moved by this video and shared it immediately on my FB page .... Empathy is so important but sometimes, with our busy lives, we tend to forget...

Thank you. I am going through a difficult time with a person at work and needed this beautiful, poignant reminder that we may never know what is really happening in another's life, what unspeakable challenges they face. I try to visit this site weekly and have shared it with others. It's a favorite blog I listen to while walking. Your interviews, videos and musical interludes are illuminating. Heartfelt thanks to everyone on the On Being staff, and keep up the good work!

Thank you for this. Last night, I sat with a family whose baby boy is dying. His first birthday is in a couple weeks and it is doubtful that he will still be alive to celebrate it. I am a volunteer who's learning how to listen to those unspoken thoughts. Hearing them doesn't change anything, but does make a lot of difference to the one who is being heard and to me when I'm lisstening. Presence and compassion make listening possible. Watching your video this morning, I felt my thoughts were being heard and my feelings felt.

makes a person think

Reflection: This story happens every day, and each person has a "back story" and cicumstances that orients his daily life. We share these stories with alll human beings. No person is an island, and no one can stand alone. Alike or un-alike, we are all connected. To acknowledge this is to initiate the healing process (brokenness) within us, between us, and among us.

The Cleveland Clinic saved our 5 year old daughter's life when her pediatrician heard "something odd" while listening to her heart during her pre-kindergarten well child check up. She had no symptoms, but because Dr. Deb Lonzer picked up this oddity, our 5 year old had life saving open heart surgery 3 weeks later. We now have every reason to expect our daughter to have a long and healthy life. We thank everyone on the staff at the Cleveland Clinic every day for saving our child. Her care was superb!

Abbott NW in Minneapolis has some new architecture to cope with this, but it is still very "old building with lots of wings" maze. The attached Children's hospital is very much a well made entity similar to Cleveland, until you cross over into the Abbott side. They never had the time to rethink the entire hospital, because of the caseload. Maybe some day they'll redo it, but I think they tend to reinvest in patient care rather than architecture. Is this an accident of history or the result of conscious decision-making?

I am a pastor who has learned everyone is sitting by a pool of tears. Everyone.

Such a moving way to phrase this, hope I might use it with my patients from time to time with no disrespect.

Wonderful, life changing video. Everyone should see this. Thank you!

I was taken in by this video until I saw where it was filmed. Since 1961, I've been a patient at the Cleveland Clinic. Throughout 50 years of my life, I've had first-hand experience with the decline of quality patient care. More resources must be allocated toward patient care otherwise, this video is at best a well-produced ad campaign. There is no doubt that the CCF does amazing work to improve peoples' lives but much more could be done if the CCF decision makers would stand in the shoes of their patients.

How incredibly brave of you to use the patients' emotionality! Out of necessity, health care providers focus on patients' physical well-being and when they have time....or IF they have the luxury of time..... they can explore that aspect. And yet, we all know the important part emotions play in recovery.

A wonderful, insightful video. 30 years ago, my doctoral dissertation topic was one of the first long-range studies in the USA...teaching medical students empathic interviewing skills...The topic was always there in the back of my mind and in 2010, empathic education emerged:

Beautiful...thought provoking.

have been a nurse for 37 years and happily the answer for me to your question of would you treat them differently is still no .

as a chaplain I found this so critical to how people should be treated. As a patientt now, I have experienced how people are treated like numbers. There are two great movies I think al hospital should watvh: "Wit" & "The Doctor.

Yes the physical spaces we live, work, and function in have profound impact on our outcomes.
Yes the attitudes and behavior of those around us profoundly impact our total health, physical, mental, and spiritual.
Not only must we accept this, we might as well celebrate it.


Wonderful post and video! Thank you for reminding us to always consider the other's perspective.

We’re working to enhance compassion and healing in healthcare, and created the International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare, starting with the capacity for compassion. The mission of the International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare is to restore the human dimensions of care – the universal core values that should be present in every healthcare interaction – to healthcare around the world. http://charterforhealthcarevalues.org

Your article reminds us just how important these values are.

Very moving video..cried through it all....wsh everyone could see this..am sending it one to several health care workers

I'm a Rn in a big hospital,struggling with a HEAVY work load and not documenting alot til after my shift is over. I been told it's my time management, but watching this brought on the water falls. I take pride in listening to their stories and treat them like family. Thank you for this video. I may not be the prefect nurse for upper management but I been told by my patients im on the top of their list so it's good enough for me.

This brought tears to my eyes and reminded me to be grateful for my health and the health of my family members. God Bless them all.

I'm a medical student doing my clinical rotations right now. Just yesterday, I found myself remarking to a colleague what a crazy place a hospital is. If you take what is going on in each of the 100s of rooms - people being healed or terminally diagnosed, families gathering or abandoning, people literally going crazy (I'm on psychiatry right now), resident physicians and nurses working through 12 and even 24 hour shifts... it's really incredible, like it's only little microcosm. This video captures that beautifully.

And yet once again: where were the mental health patients? Left out again.

This video made me cry.

This reminds me of Paul Gruchow's new book, "Letters to a Young Madman." In it, he talks about the inhumanity and judgmentalism with which people with mental illness are treated, and how it makes them worse rather than better. Part of this inhumanity is the physcial environment inside mental hospitals. You really ought to interview the woman who published his book (since Paul died in 2004).

I cried when I watched it, I always try to tell people that, I know I went through it all.

This video reminds me of why I went into nursing, to help ease others pain and celebrate their joy. Caregivers that can spend some time at the bedside can really get to know the patient and their families. Heath care has changed so much with equipment, computers and procedures, the patient can get lost under all the technology. Thank you for showing us that everyone has a story with many feelings attached we just need to take a moment and try to uncover them.

Empathy for everyone except physicians. How predictable. The doctors pictured all had nice news. How about, after "Coming to the end of a 12-hour shift," just as the camera catches the resident with the stethoscope to that nurse's left, putting something like, "Coming to the end of a 24-hour call?" I know it seems petty but I'm a little offended that the only thing doctors in this video are going through are impending fatherhood and beating cancer.

Yeah, beating cancer is so overrated.

Thanks for sharing...much to think about..... being appreciative..... lissen.....reach out

Please share more of what you are going through. From someone who wamts to hear your story.

Wonderful, wonderful....everyone should watch this....having worked in healthcare, I have seen many of these circumstances....Thank you...

34 years in the profession and still happy to be here.

Very thought provoking video that all health care providers should watch!

You never know what the person you meet in a hospital, on the street, or wherever you happen to be may be going through. Sometimes a genuine smile can go a long way to ease another's pain. It doesn't matter if it's reciprocated and it doesn't cost a thing. Beautifully done!!

Are you Oleta who attended East Carolina University?

This was a wonderful tear wrenching description of how we relate to our patients, and personal issues in our everyday lives, not only professionally, but personally. I have to admit that this brought tears to my eyes as it awakened many feelings both personally and professionally as I said previously. I believe that all our caregivers can relate to this in all aspects.

very moving and excellent. Should be sharing with everyone! Reality check.

It is, as the proverbial story goes, "one step at a time", one person at a time. Yet too many are not that deliberate; not that strong; not that internally, intellectually, and emotionally assured that kindness, compassion, goodness & caring will indeed ever make a difference. What a different WORLD we would inhabit if such simple, basic actions and attitudes could create TRUE human connection, among every single living soul, equally & without one iota of envy, superiority, disdain, suspicion, and malice.

Thank you. This is wonderful, and so important.

This is just beautiful! Very, very moving! It has prompted me to take a fresh look at how I treat the people around me. Thank you very much for posting this!

Dying alive.

Wonderful and so on point. Thanks for sharing with the world.

Pam Brotherton-Sedano, MS, RN
VP Patient Safety
O'Connor Hospital, San Jose, CA

I recently lost my wife to Pancratic Cancer. I feel things now and I see things now in other people that I never noticed before. If I know then what I know now would I have acted differently toward others? Definately!

This video is amazing! I will be doing an intensive unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) this summer at a hospital up here in Maine, training for the ministry and for chaplaincy. This video makes me aware of all I am called to do, inspires me to reach beyond anything I have done until now, and to pray for the strength and awareness and sensitivity to do the work! Thank you for this video!

This reminds me of how incredibly grateful I am to be a hospital chaplain! Thank you

As a nurse for over 40 years, I loved this video and was moved to tears. This is something all of us need to watch over and over again. It is easy to become jaded in our profession, we see so much. We all need to be reminded that while we may have seen this a million times, our patients and families and co-workers are experiencing this for the first time.

very beautiful and moving;we need to be more tender and tolerant with each other.

Life is to short and you do not went you are going to be in one of those cases, We are human and have to understand and have compassion for another human being

A very meaningful video,we should spend some time watching people around us.

this is simply awesome

Beautiful. Thank you

An amazing video. My mother, Professor Roselyn Lindheim (UC Berkeley) was involved in human-centered design decades ago before her death in 1987. She was the architect for the original Stanford Children's Hospital and the Planetree unti at Presbytarian Hospital in SF - both very "human-centered". Many of her writings speak to this. She would have loved this video. Thank you.

These are such great things to keep in mind as I begin a career in healthcare. I'm sharing it will my classmates and professors.

Very moving . Good reminder if what it can be easy to forget as we go about our busy days.

Wonderful. I need to see this often to put things in perspective. Thank you!

I;m glad I had the chance to watch this!

Very good.

Personally I think this video is something all employees should see, either when they become new employees as part of their orientation and every year, as part of our online annual compliance assesments. This would really help keep everyone in concensus with patient care and it is also a great tool for teamwork.

I have always had the ability to see into others' hearts and souls. This video will deepen that ability. Thank you...

Wow very powerful. Reminds me why I got into nursing and how I have always tried to practice. Everyone has crosses to bear but helping each other lightens the load for all. God bless all the people suffering tonight and all the family/caregivers that are their support.

Excellent video! Thanks to the Clevelend Clinic for making the effort to produce such a grand segment that should inspire us all to respect others and what they are going through!

Takes my breath away, now I don't feel so lonely anymore with the exact same question I always ask, when I see careless and cruel behavior among humans around me.

This is so touching. Reminds me of the beginning of the moving Love Actually with people at the arrivals gate at an airport. Here's a link...

Poignant video. Thank you.

One cannot adequately use words to describe the wonder of the video---one can only suggest to others that they view it to develop their own feelings. And as for me, to say that I was totally inspired by feelings given rise by the video would be an understatement

This makes total sense to me having juts been alongside my mother in a recent hospital experience which has terrified her and has impacted on how she now feels even in her own home. Love the bit about being in the same space from admission to discharge- yes , yes, yes.!

Thanks for this wonderful video reminder.

What a beautiful Video. It certainly makes me think.

Thank you for a beautiful video.
Reminds me to appreciate this precious gift of life and hopefully be able to share with, be aware of and have compassion for us all.

Thank you for generously sharing this touching and caring video with people around the world and that I in Johannesburg could experience it without cost.

Empathy... compassion, the skewer that goes through us all

Thanks for sharing this very inspiring video; a wonderful reminder to enter into the world of our brothers and sisters that we so often walk by on the street every day, yet because of distraction, forgeting them. This video promotes a way of thinking/feeling about others that is akin to Jesus' "Love your neighbor as yourself." Watching this is a good shot in the arm for us Orthodox Christians who are midway through Lent, striving to implement the directive to love our brother/sister, and not judge him/her, as we pray daily in this most central and important prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian:

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk.

But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity (integrity), humility, patience and love.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother. For blessed art Thou unto the ages. Amen.

Fr. Maximos
St. John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church
Des Moines, Iowa


Thank you. This is beautiful and a good reminder to cut everyone some slack, because we won't know what they are carrying.

Thanks for this inspiring story. The more that hospitals can become wellness centre the quicker rates of illness will fall.

Very inspiring and impressive. Make us more alert of the needs of others and being an "active listener". How important it is to have a beloved and caring hospital and empathetic personnels.

A very moving, thoughtful reminder to all viewers to make us understand that we never know what's going on for others as we walk passed each other or catch each other's eyes for a mindless moment. But now thanks to this filmed social comment, maybe we'll smile more readily. Or when we interact we'll become present in that moment and take the opportunity to observe/feel unspoken currents of communication, ask questions then listen, really listen.

beautiful. I listen to my patients speak their stories and I know there is a parallel unspoken narrative behind what I hear. This video expresses the unspoken truths beautifully. Every day I ask myself, if health care were easily available to all, what would that change?

i have been a nurse for 27 years and this video should be mandatory for ALL people!!!! Thank you thank you thank you.

That's beautiful but would have liked to have heard how staff have changed the way they interact with patients and visitors and how they are actually empathising with them. When everyone is so rushed, do they actually have time to change the way they interact?

This is a rare look at what we should all be thinking about when we think of when seeing others healthcare needs or issues.
Realistically , as a front line worker in community health care...... Governments will never be empathetic towards a patients needs . It is about money and nothing else!!!
We , as a collective group have to change it !
Lobby more and let policy changers know we have had enough !!!!!

I agree, everyone should watch this.

Awesome video. Find more places to share it. This the intire world needs to see. It made me cry. Too many people walk through these things alone as it is. We dont need people not understanding the pain on top of it all. Thank you so very much.


/everyone deserves quality care, regardless of ability to pay.

Read Time Magazine, March 11, 2013, about the cost of hospital care: How hospitals base exorbitant charges on a "book"
called the CHARGEMASTER. The profit of these hospitals, both profit and non-profit ,is absolutley obscene. Yet they purse
people who cannot possiblly pay bills of $half a million +.
All Americans should qualify for the best medical care there is at a REASONALBLE COST..

Your sentiment is lovely & all about why we go into health care. But PLEASE don't call patients guests or clients or whatever the newest buzzword is in fashion. They are patients & we are there to help them heal. They are not at an Inn or a law office. I have been an R.N. for 42 years; still love nursing & have seen so many trends come & go & come again. But the semantics of current health care (no one has a problem- we all have "opportunities") makes me want to scream! And scripting by our administration. Give me the credit to know what to say to patients; from my heart.

All of my colleagues, and especially the surgical trainees, should see this

This video reminds me me that we are are connected and share more than we think. We have more similarities than differences.
It is about all of us not just ourselves. I really enjoyed it and it deeply touched me.

I'd like to send this video to the ER workers at Temple Univ. Hosp. in Philadelphia who treated me so abusively 2 years ago. They could use a lesson in compassion.

What a powerful reflection on taking the time to walk gently!

Love it .. it a great message

Very touchy.

Very heart opening video. Thank you so much, I will be sharing it with friends & family. Bless you!

Yes! I work with elderly and many of them are non-speaking, and what I have seen is that some moments they connect and other times they don't seem to be there.So I have worked hard to be kind, loving and respectful of their being. Very easy to assume they are not cognitive and not listening to what is said around them. Try hard to treat as adults with dignity, they are not children. Caregiving is a hard job for many reasons


How beautiful; how true -
but I really hadn't intended to begin my day in tears!

Cleveland Clinic Hospital, my hospital of Hope. For nearly ten years, Dr. Gary Hoffman and staff at Rhumatology, Vascular and Immunogogy have been caring for me, and now successfully reached the height of my illness to remission.. Each visit my husband and I travel from Indiana to Ohio having no doubt in our mind, trusting in the knowledgable care and compassion of CC doctors and staff. When I first walked through the doors of CC Hospital/Clinic my voice was heard and many, many people heard me … hands that healed touched my shoulder, spoke to me, listened to what I had to say, smiled with me, empathized. Going to Cleveland Cleveland Hospital/Clinic was not about pity, it was about healthy healing with compassionate care. Much thanks and gratification from all my family.

Incredibly powerful!

I work for health care and this is why I take my job so seriously. It really put it into perspective that one just cant put words too.

Wonderful reflection on the feeling of life

This video is so needed around the world. GOD, being a Sovereign GOD, did not write my life like those i've seen in the video; yet, i complain!......But when i saw this video, GOD brought to me that there are many people who are hurting, scared, worried, in panic with no hope (or very little). i must stop complaining (for i really have nothing to complain about) and pray for my sisters and brothers of this world. i pray for GOD's Mercy and Grace upon all; for GOD's assurance and peace; for GOD's presence and HIS LOVE to come upon them. i pray that we all 'look up' (to GOD) and call HIS NAME and HE will give us HIS peace even when we are going through low valleys and rocky mountains. For it will be GOD, and GOD alone WHO will get us over these rough times! That is my prayer for all. Amen.

I am a social worker for a community Hospice in NY and think this video is exquisite. I'm sharing it with many. Thank you so much for making it!

Need to show my kids.

Beautiful video.... just what I needed to see as a healing from all the pain and suffering of the Boston Marathon tragedy. To be reminded of our common humanity and the need to look deeper into the face of the suffering and the evil.

I feel sorry for myself andsome of my choices inlife. Seeing this only reafirms what I have always believed, there is always someone who is hurting more than you, or needs a better job, or just needs someone to say I love you. Life is funny, you don't think of this untill you actually see something like this video, or know someone who is ill. God bless and have mercy onall humans. Amen

You never know what impact you make on someones life by random acts of kindness. I feel we should all have empathy we should all go above and beyond.weve all had times of troubles and we should all remember.

Beautiful! Much food for thought! Praying in gratitude today for all the special nurses & doctors in my life!

It certainly opens up your eyes, and I can thank God for where I'm at today. While we all have some bad patches in our own lives being in a lull at this time is a blessing. Understanding some of the people's misfortune's in this video, is nothing compared to what they themselves are feeling. Thankyou for bringing this to me. KarenK

I'm an architect, so sensitive to building environments. That said, I also expect a hospital to be squeaky clean, efficient, professionally staffed with well-trained personnel and sensitively and fairly managed. I also expect it to be navigable, with minimum resort to the confusing concessions to older construction with respect to floor level changes and other awkward transitions. The "theme" and spirit, or ethos, of the place need to be maintained consistently in all departments and sections of the facility as well. I should mention that I also spent two years as a young man working in an older hospital as an orderly. I recall being told that the reason I was paid so badly was because wages represented the greatest cost of care. My argument then was that medical personnel were the ones providing that care, and should be proportionally remunerated. I still think so.

I am going to show this tomorrow to all our attendings and residents (LLU Dept. Family Medicine) at our monthly meeting.

Kudos! It is very nice to see a physician be aware of how important this video can be to our providers. Another comment said "a great video for nursing students." Thank you!

Experiential insight into empathy!

To walk in someone else's shoe's, hear what they hear, see what they see and i believe most importantly feel what they feel is a true connection with a another human being, not based on thinking rather based on connecting. An amazing paradigm shift from oneself mentally and physically to oneself spiritually and emotionally. It is welcoming to hear that a hospital has taken into consideration a patients wellbeing is not just based on medicinal applications, rather a whole perspective of a person's wellbeing with regards to their environment and I hope that other healthcare providers take this courageous step forward towards the care and wellbeing of a fellow human being. You provide inspiring steps to follow. Thank you

Beautiful teaching tool for nursing students. Kudos to creator-director!

WOW!! Beautiful video! Just be in the midst of those suffering.


Wow!!! Amen!!!

This a very beautiful and emotional video. But it tells the true story of how each of these people feel. Its right in showing how they are feeling and that we need to put ourselves in their shoes. I have been in some of them, and its not pleasant. God Bless them for making this and hoping it gets out to everyone. I, for one, will post it for all my friends and family to watch. Thank you again for making this.

Have you ever heard of the North Hawaii Community Hospital? Earl Bakken, founder of Medtronic, is one of their benefactors and is also a benefactor of The Cleveland Clinic. I encourage you to check out the "67 Things That Make NHCH Not Just Another Hospital" on their site: , as this hospital surely is in the forefront of healing today. Thank you for your wonderful work!

Simply heartwarming and heartbreaking.

A very touching and moving video, thank you

I love the video ...... I am sure many people watching this can relate in their own life being in many of the same situations and reflecting on the feelings they were going through.... It really makes you stop and think especially when you pass someone in the hospital just what the individual and families are experiencing. This was a lovely reflective film. Thank you.

Yes, Yes we would! I wish people were more open. . . Open sharing seems to be highly underestimated. I guess people are afraid?


Thank you for reminding all of us.

Vi är alla en och den samma.

its a nice video very interesting to know different kind of disease or burdens in their life every one has. we have to be thankful for we are the one taking care of them not that we are in their shoes.

I agree every one should see/watch this video and we should be thankful that we are the people caring for them not that we are the one taking care of with this kind of trials in life.

That`s why I smile...

Thank you Trent! I sit at your feet amazed and all welled-up. Brilliant video!

This is beautiful. "Walk in my moca
sins....." Old teaching presented in a new way. Lovely and real. Thank you Cleveland Clinic.

This is a nice video but its so sad that people dont thank like this if its not some one that they care about , are love then it to bad. ps so so SAD.


Thank you Cleveland Clinic for sharing this. I have worked in healthcare ( finance) for 20 years and thik that we all need to keep this in the front of our minds!!

The visual was touching and nicely done. Many of our heathcare workers are compassionate and caring. As a nurse, we are taught to "listen." In my many years of healthcare work I have had the opportunity to see a great deal: from the receptionist who would give a patient her last dollar to go get something to eat/drink, and to a physician willing to "take the time," despite his/her demanding schedule. However, on the other hand, I have seen the receptionist who isn't paying attention to the patient's needs and presents with a unwelcoming attitude - how discouraging for a patient's initial impression of the pending care from this office, or the physician who walks in the patient's room, looks at his papers for the patient's name, identifies him/herself, and asks: "So how are you today? Anything I can do for you?" Smiles and leaves the room. Does he/she even know who I am? Scary.......All institutes training the medical profession should make it a mandatory requirement to watch this brief video, as well as the movie, "The Doctor."

I think I have compassion for patients until I see a video like this one. It made me cry and really re-think the way I will walk down the halls of the hospital.

What a marvelous reminder, we all need Jehovah God's kingdom by his son Christ Jesus.
leveryone should view this.

It would be a better world, for sure. The kind of world we need. A caring world. thank you.

In my 40 years of being an LPN this video shows what I would try and find in each person that I came in contact with. Many times I would tell others do not judge until you have walked in "their shoes". What a great video. Thank you for doing this.

compelling and poingnant

Made me cry; I just had open heart surgery after 3 heart attacks; and not yet 58. Best friend came and asked me. "how was it with my soul?' then stayed and held me as I cried.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Plato

Absolutely moving! A definite must see! Thanks for sharing

A beautiful reminder to live by the Golden Rule and share your smile with eveyone who passes by you every day. If they don't have one, give them yours. We all carry a burden at one time or another!

This should be mandatory for all people to see and discuss. Would there be war if there were? It makes me think of a quote I love: "The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings." - Albert Schweitzer
Thank you, Cleveland Clinic.


Humanity at work. Thank you for reminding 'all of us'.

Beautiful piece.
I am in tears, knowing that much of it is how strong my empathy is. I haven't walked in many of those peoples' shoes, but I understand the joy and pain of life.
I try to make every person I meet have a better day, because often, they make my day better. I believe in peer support, for we are all equal to one another and support is so valuable for our survival.

What a refresher for us all to think past our own emotional world.... that person rushing past you might have an unselfish reason for their haste, or that person ahead of you might have something ahead which they are not ready to accept.... hmmm

Brought it back walking out of the women's hospital in Melbourne with my partner after the bad news. You walk in, you walk out shortly after and nothing is the same again

Love the video!

I am technologically challenged, but would like to share the Empathy Video. Is there an easy way to do that using email (not Tweet or Twitter)? Do I have to have a "Google account" to share it?

I wish it were really user friendly to share this video.

Can't sit on the handicap chairs because everyone thinks he doesn't have Rheumatoid Arthritis...

Tears in my eyes. We are all beloved.

architecture requires understanding and the ability to transpose what is available to what is the intent. experience and perseverance requires a balance of time and space.

Practice requires positive attitude, keep it open and keep it moving. This article is is a sign on the right path of solution. .

What a wonderful video, The Cleveland Clinic has saved my life twice. Thank you to all the people who work and help at our hospitals.

When we look at other people that face challenges ea day, we would certaintly put ours in better perspective "The Best is yet to come"

Awesome, very well presented video.

This is a beautiful video. Living in a society that demands that we always put our best foot forward and be Lions, this video looks at life in a real perspective. It reminds us that we really are just like Turtles, we bring everything we have been, are and will be with us. It's faith , love, compassion and patience that we have and share with each other that gets us through the day. Thank you.

What an awesome concept, we all get so cought up in our own crap thinking we have it so bad and Wa-La things like this wake us from our own pitty party and we see our lives are pretty dang good, thanks for this vidio it helps many of us have ampathy for those who are dealing with life in many differant and worse situations than us. Lets appreciate the other person. Do something good today that can put a smile on anothers face.

Beautiful and so true.Everyone should take a moment to watch, learn, and use in their everyday life.

Thank you for this. I always need perspective.

What a way to tap into the extent of compassion. I could hardly watch the entire video for the tears. Thank you for the reminder of my connection with each and every human being.

This video touched my heart. Reminding me not to judge so that I can understand and relate in appositive manner all those I meet

We are "hardwired" for human connection. Human-centered design is an absolutely wonderful approach. God's speed to your work.

I hope others will realize how important it is to think before you speak. Even though you might have had a rough day, treating others with disrespect wont make your day better.I thought about that... once, at my veterans day program, right next to my grandpa,a world war 2 veteran just sat and cried the whole time.poor Guy. Even though I dident even know him, I gave him a hug. Everyone should watch this. You just might learn something about having compassion. I know I did. I thought about what he saw,heard, and felt,and I cried too.one word. Compassion.and all this coming from a ten year old!

It's about time that someone is thinking about how healing and environment fit together. Yea for Cleveland Clinic! I am a chiropractor and homeopath - in my own clinic, I thought about the patient experience when they are here. I have incorporated beauty and simplicity in my clinic: subdued lighting, homey atmosphere, handmade beautiful art. My patients appreciate it and they feel comfortable in the space.

A powerful tool for all of us in healthcare, to enable us to "see" others in their everyday world and the personal human crises going on as well as the exhaustion of a physical condition and treatment or diagnosis.

I thought this video was very thought provoking. I was a nurse in the sixties when nursing was not so technical and more focused on people.

Thank you for this. It was and is the perfect message for the eve of the first day of Ramadan. BarkAllahFik!


Health care workers, including doctors, are now forced by management to see more patients in a shorter amount of time. This makes them feel guilty and stressed. CEOs and management receive more pay than ever but they aren't the people who see patients in a medical facility or in their homes. I retired from health care after 18 years and loved the work but I could see what this was doing to the morale and temperament of staff and patients. The bottom line is important but this dire situation needs to be examined. Everyone needs more time.

How do i post on facebook??

Thank you!

Different kind of people with a different kind of problem,life style, ideas, work,sickness, family, love life, religion, & last but not list death time ! So while we are alive give thanks & have that gratitude to our creature Almighty God JEHOVAH & His Begotten Son Jesus Christ to gain Life Everlasting in a Paradise earth as in Matthew 6:10 Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.

so very true...

surely gave me a reality check....

Thank you for making me stop & think- and shed a few tears.

Last Friday I was admitted to ER for a day. I totally understand the feelings of everyone in the video. I appreciate very much every medical personnel working in the hospital. They were friendly, helpful, and caring. It is not easy for them to work through their workdays with people who are in pain, unhappy, and cranky. We, as patients, do not need to add to their stress by complaining or yelling at them for our pain and uncomfortableness. I thank all medical personnel for choosing the medical field and taking care of us.

A picture is worth thousand words. Emotion and feelings are such important parts in our daily lives.

I love the show, On Being. It always give me hope and rejuvenates my soul. I just watched the Empathy video which a friend passed on for reflection. Empathy is so important in our lives. It makes us more human, kinder, more loving. Thank you.

Such a beautiful presentation of what a hospital and healthcare should be... the very reason why some of us want to be healthcare workers other than getting a steady paycheck.

Beautiful message! All physicians should be requied to view this.

good stuff--would like to email

Everyone has a story to tell and a challenge to take, that makes life interesting. Be a support to whoever is in need in any small way.

I'm glad they're paying attention to people, not just sterile places. But both are necessary in hospitals and other health places. International Women's Day is March 8. That's Cindy wang's birthday. She's now an opthalmologist in Boston and the mother of four children. Of course, she has full time help. So you remember the Wangs? They had lived on Orchard Grove. He had taught at RPI and left to teach at Oklahoma U in Norman, Oklahoma.
A friend here goes to the Cleveland Clinic. IT's not so far from Pittsburgh.

bobby;this is marvellous video,very touching,keep it up,God Bless

As a 4th year medical student, this feels like one of the most important pieces of education material I've ever seen. I'll be sure to share it with my colleagues in medicine....and in every other part of my life. From a deep place of gratitude, thank you.

Just amazing.. thanks

It's one touching video. Tells you about the journey of life. Although at a hardest situation, they can still draw a smile and their face and continue their daily life.

Enjoyed the Video and How very True! Everyone we meet is fighting some kind of battle, we just don't always know what it is. Be kind and continue to strive for Treating others the Way you want to be Treated....The way the Good Book teaches us to do!

So good to learn that the science of healing space is gaining interest and credence. I've benefitted from it first-hand. As a patient of the Frauenshuh Cancer Center at Methodist Hospital (St. Louis Park MN), I commend it as a wonderful example of such a place.

Is there a way to purchase a DVD of this program: Empathy Video That Asks You To Stand in Someone Else's Shoes

Trent Gilliss's picture

I'm not sure Cindy, but the best place to check is Cleveland Clinic.

Showing this in my social work class this afternoon. Thank you.

Just recently i was thinking that people in hospitals or other such stressful occupations ought to have a rotation of some sort which allows them to change duties from time to time. Nurses and police officers have to deal with so much of other peoples' stress on top of their own that it is simply unrealistic to expect them to be capable of doing their jobs consistently well with a balanced attitude. It is too much to ask of people. Could there be certain shifts of 3 hours of just filing and no personal contact? Or rotating in with other hospital duties such as the easier, more pleasant ones of filling out the paperwork as new mothers leave the hospital? I'm sure it would be difficult to implement and that each hospital is different. But I envision a time when certain occupations will pair with certain schools- perhaps a center for massage has students who need practical experience for their certification. Who better to practice on than EMT personnel or others who really, physically and mentally need and deserve a massage? This idea and others- why not build kindergarten playgrounds next to nursing homes so the elderly can watch the children play? They could pass flowers through the fence. The children would have more eyes looking out for them and the elderly could benefit from seeing the movement.
A list of all the duties necessary to any hospital organized in terms of stress and pleasure. Aside from the specific duties which require specialized training, there are so any other things that happen in a hospital on a daily basis and everyone suffers from doing the exact same thing day in and day out. It could be on a by request basis. You get to a point where you ca't take it and need a break. So you log on to the live, interactive hospital site which lists what needs done where and when. Somehow it could work.
Empathy must extend to everyone- this is why you put your own oxygen mask on before helping others in the event of an airplane emergency. We're no good to others if we can't even breathe.
This video is wonderful. We need more of this type of teaching in our world. Thank you.


What an incredibly beautiful and moving video as we peek into the lives and hearts of people and hopefully begin to really listen and see....

Add green spaces to your evidence-based design. See the "The Nature Principle" by Richard Louv.

The complexity of human life, can it be fully understand? The human ability to empathize is what I call the God particle! This is in the DNA of all human beings because humans are "created in the image of God" (Genesis 1:27).The human ability to love and empathize are evidences of the God particle."And of some have compassion, making a difference"(Jude 22). This is when you "rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with them that weep" ( Romans 12:15). The God particle is not always demonstrated because some people are evil to the core and are unable to empathize and be compassionate. But thank God, there are more people who can empathize and have compassion that those unable to empathize and have compassion.

I have been in many hospitals over 88yea, in different states and locations. I have the skill and compassion of many good Doctors and nurses for my survival and long life.I am now in a nursing home with excellent care. No one knows how hard these Medical personnel work over many years. I am grateful for them. You just don't know unless you have been there.
God Bless them

When I take care of my patients, I like to think I am treating them as if they are a part of my family ... My Mom, My Dad, sister or brother

Glad there are a kazillion responses. Speaks to the importance and beauty of the topic and video, and to the quality of On Being's readers/viewers/listeners. I too am a retired nurse, but have also been a hospitalized patient on various occasions. As a co-worker and patient, I have at various times been horrified at the tremendous lack of empathy displayed by hospital workers, including nurses. It's not just patients however. Suffering abounds and often below the surface, so it's not always visible. I love the quote "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

Food for thought - for all of us, all the time.

Very moving and excellent message!

I wish we could truly understand and feel that we all have the same emotions. What makes me happy will make the "other" happy. "Regardless of the race, gender, ethnicity or age, they are just like me. I am one of them." I am not any different in terms of being here, on Earth.

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I am a psychotherapist who runs drunk driving groups and have been looking for additional ways to explore and teach empathy to clients. This video is just the ticket! DUI recidivists with multiple arrests are shown to be lacking in empathy for those that are potentially impacted by the decision to drink and drive. You can teach all the info about the hows and whys about alcohol use but if you don't help others develop empathy for others--and themselves--then all if for naught. It is a tall task but an important one. Thank you for sharing this.

It's about time a YouTube video had this message in this way.
Great job!

After watch your video tears comes in my eyes. Great work

With much appreciate to those who produced this great video, Empathy. It is truly a picture is worth a thousand words.

I am also connecting with a good deed Organization. Our organization does act of kindness for helpless people. If no one has taken food from long time, our organization provides bread and cookies for the needy people. Moreover, we are helping students for educate themselves.

Thank you for this reminder that we don't know what other people experience until we see these kinds of reminders. We all get so caught up in our own issues that we mustn't forget other people are experiencing issues of their own.

This is very moving. I have worked with empathy programmes, mainly for children. There is something intrinsically powerful about a visual demonstration and this video is beautiful - it makes it very easy to identify with every one of the people represented. The patients and care givers at Cleveland Clinic are indeed very fortunate to be part of such an enlightened organization.

That's so true depiction of life... we are all humans and we should feel compassion and respect for each other.


As a professional working with introverted women challenged by a crisis of confidence, this is a powerful reminder that no matter what personality temperament we hail from, how each of us presents ourselves to the world does not necessarily reflect the challenges we are facing. We all suffer from a crisis of confidence during tremendous life difficulties that present themselves. My call to action today will be to be a bit more mindful to extend compassion and an ear to those who I may perceive as being carefree or someone that appears to be standing in the shadows - we can all use an added dose of compassion and sensitivity. Thank you.

A well done presentation. Particularly moving today. I celebrate the 16 anniversary of a head injury received at work. An incident proving the mettle of many around me as they either stood to hinder or assist.
Jim Carter, then President of Syncrude Canada, on whose property the incident took place proved to be an outstanding leader who took an interest in the incident and my recovery. Telling me upon my return to work, in the presence of the western regional safety manager for the actual company I worked for at the time of the incident --Intimating that he was watching-- and later when it proved I required assistance from his office- He did not hesitate to respond.
Those who were a draw and a drag, dispersed to seek other sycophantic relationships and I was freed to heal and recover.
Through the experience of hospitalization, recovery, reintegration to life, return to work, taking charge of my own retraining, I was continually presented with amazing people who did for me what I could not do on my own. Warren Fairhurst then ran an advocacy service for people trying to maneuver through Alberta WCB, Lee, casemanager for WCB Alberta, multiple and numerous are the names which escape my recall today, each helped in their own way.

wonderful film about people and their troubles and joe very buddhist and christian et al.
i've seen it before a few years ago on On Being by kirsta tippett and trent gillis am passing it on to someone in the medical advice, administrative, educational and professional information field of medicine and disease control..
fabulous ! ! ! i do love how the message is put across... elizabeth enfield...makes reopen up and CRY !

Excellent. I thought all of our staff should see. Sometimes we only see the outside crust of people and don't remember that there could be something going on inside that is difficult for them.

This was great to see! Thank you!

Thank you

Are there empathy programs that can be established for youth detention facilities - juvenile halls?

I noticed one thing missing from this video. Depression or mental health issues. While there are so many of us suffering out here with this I feel it should have been included.

That being said; the video tells us to keep fighting no matter what. To truly look at others and understand that we must be compassionate to eachother. To be grateful and kind. It's good medicine.

Very moving!

Thanks. In a time and place of trauma for so many people it is important that staff are supported to feel and cope with these feelings in order to give the people they work for and with hope and care.


loved this, hits home. I was actually looking for one that I used at my previous job that I shared with the staff coming into our nursing home and seeing the life of an elder moving into unfamiliar places.