“Care” is perhaps the single most overused word in our healthcare vocabulary — used to talk about both the tangible and intangible aspects of what we do. It’s a noun and a verb. Care is provided and felt.
Care is about technology and empathy. Care is paid for through insurance companies and care is offered freely from the heart. One kind of care is easy to define because we can see it in action; the other is more easily felt than discussed.
Could it be that care is that happy meeting point between the action-oriented care of the clinic, the radiation suite, and the operating room and that ill-defined feeling of mutual love and respect.
Action without compassion isn’t care in my book. Sure, we are providing something, but what is it? And empathy without introducing a bias to come to someone else’s aid, well, that seems like an hollow-promise.
Maybe, ultimately, ‘care’ is the kind of thing, to borrow from the Supreme Court, where you can’t define it, but you know it when you see it. There’s an authenticity to real care, that transcends all the happy talk, and it’s that authenticity we feel.