Self-Compassion for Healthcare Communities (SCHC)

 A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.

Chris Germer, PhD

Have you ever wondered if there was a skill you could use to help you sustain real compassionate care for patients in the face of competing demands like technology and documentation, time pressure, patient trauma and fatigue? 

“I learned practical skills that I use every dat at the bedside and that I share with my residents.  It gave me something to teach them and model for them besides simply telling them to take a day off when they were overwhelmed.”

Residency Program Director

Self-Compassion Training for Healthcare Communities (SCHC), also known as Self-Compassion in Action, is a 6-hr evidence-based healthcare adaptation of Mindful Self-Compassion, the empirically supported program of Dr. Kristin Neff at UT Austin and Dr. Chris Germer at Harvard Medical School. This training aims to improve wellbeing and personal resilience in healthcare professionals by teaching mindful self-compassion skills to deal with distressing emotional situations as they occur at work and at home.  

“As a hospitalist in a busy trauma center, this course changed my life and my perspective on my work.  I have a life now, see my family, and enjoy caring for patients again.”

Pediatric Hospitalist

In research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, Neff.Knox.2020 the SCHC program was found to significantly:

Decrease:  Depression, Stress, Secondary Traumatic stress, and Burnout

Increase:  Self-compassion, Mindfulness, Compassion for others, Job satisfaction in healthcare professionals

As opposed to other self-care techniques, self-compassion practices can be used on the spot while at work with patients and colleagues.  

I never gave myself credit for how difficult my work is in healthcare and what it cost me personally. This course validated my own suffering which prompted me to actually make changes in my life and work from which everyone benefits.

Pediatric Oncologist

Self-Compassion for Healthcare Communities (SCHC) Research

Burgeoning research is showing that self-compassion skills can be of particular benefit to health care professionals, allowing them to experience greater satisfaction in their caregiving roles, less stress, and more emotional resilience.  The good news is that self-compassion skills are trainable and build your capacity to handle stressful challenges.

Burnout, including secondary traumatic stress and emotional exhaustion, is prevalent among health care professionals and is a factor contributing to turnover (Cocker & Joss, 2016; West, Dyrbye, & Shanafelt, 2018). “Chronic stress associated with emotionally intense work demands for which resources are inadequate can result in burnout,” write West, Dyrbye, & Shanafelt (2018). The purpose of the 6-week Self-Compassion Training for Healthcare Communities is to teach healthcare workers on the job skills to meet the emotional demands of their work. Mindfulness and self-compassion practices for healthcare are intended to lower the chance that professionals will end their shifts emotionally depleted and increase their likelihood of feeling accomplished and satisfied in their caregiving roles.

Two studies conducted on Dell Children’s Medical Center staff who attended the 6-week training showed participants significantly increased in self-compassion, mindfulness, compassion to others, compassion satisfaction, and feelings of personal accomplishment, and significantly decreased in levels of stress, anxiety, depression and measures of burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and secondary traumatic stress). Other peer-reviewed literature has found self-compassion training to reduce symptoms of burnout and increase self-compassion, mindfulness, and compassion satisfaction (Delaney, M.C., 2018; Eriksson et al., 2018). 

  • Cocker, F., & Joss, N. (2016). Compassion fatigue among healthcare, emergency and community service workers: A systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(6), 1–18. Link
  • Delaney, M. C. (2018). Caring for the caregivers: Evaluation of the effect of an eight-week pilot mindful self-compassion (MSC) training program on nurses’ compassion fatigue and resilience. PLoS ONE, 13(11), 1–20. Link
  • Eriksson, T., Germundsjö, L., Åström, E., & Rönnlund, M. (2018). Mindful self-compassion training reduces stress and burnout symptoms among practicing psychologists: A randomized controlled trial of a brief web-based intervention. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(NOV), 1–10. Link
  • West, C. P., Dyrbye, L. N., & Shanafelt, T. D. (2018). Physician burnout: contributors, consequences and solutions. Journal of Internal Medicine, 283(6), 516–529. Link

SCHC Structure:

  • Learning Modules:
    • Session 1:  What is Self-Compassion? Definition, Science and Research of Self-Compassion
    • Session 2:  Practicing Self-Compassion: Physiology and Practice of Self-Compassion with Mindfulness
    • Session 3:  Discovering your Compassionate Voice: Motivating Ourselves with Fierce Self-Compassion
    • Session 4:  Self-Compassion, Resilience and Strategies for Meeting Difficult Emotions
    • Session 5:  Burnout: Self-Compassion for Caregiver Fatigue
    • Session 6:  Making it Count: Reconnecting to Core Values
    • Booster sessions offered monthly to graduates for ongoing practice and community

SCHC Objectives:

At the completion of this activity, participants will begin to:

  • Describe the key components of self-compassion and mindfulness and how they can be integrated into your role as a healthcare professional.
  • Explain the difference between empathy and compassion and utilize strategies to avoid emotional exhaustion.
  • Practice techniques to increase self-compassion at work and everyday life.
  • Practice at least one skill from each session to care for yourself emotionally while caring for others who are experiencing difficulty.

CEU Information

  • CEU’s: IMPORTANT NOTE: You must attend all classes live and complete a post course evaluation to receive CE credits.
    • Nurses, Psychologists and MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, LCSWs:
      • Nurses: UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is  approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number  CEP16351, for 7.0 CE credit
      • Psychologists: Continuing Education Credit for this  program is provided by UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. The UC San  Diego Center for Mindfulness is approved by the American Psychological  Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The UC  San Diego Center for Mindfulness maintains responsibility for this  program and its content. This course offers 6.0 CE credit.
      • California licensed MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, LCSWs:  Continuing Education Credit for this program is provided by UC San Diego  Center for Mindfulness. 6.0 CE credit may be applied to your  license renewal through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. For  those licensed outside California, please check with your local  licensing board to determine if CE credit is accepted
    • Physicians: CME Credits:
      • 6 AAFP Prescribed credits. AAFP Prescribed credit is accepted by the American Medical Association as equivalent to AMA PRA Category 1 credit(s)™ toward the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award. When applying for the AMA PRA, Prescribed credit earned must be reported as Prescribed, not as Category 1.

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