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Member Spotlight - March 2017
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David Carl


Executive Director of Spiritual Care and Education/AVP Patient Experience
Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS)
Charlotte, North Carolina

In his role, David is responsible for the collaboration of Spiritual Care and Education across CHS which includes 40 hospitals as part of its 900 care locations. He is focused on the integration and alignment of Spiritual Care into CHS Patient Experience efforts. He is the Co-Chair CHS Patient Experience Healing Environments Sub-Committee and a member of the CHS Physician/ACP Wellness Committee.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENT IN YOUR ROLE?

I recognized and have begun to actively address Compassion Fatigue and Burnout with 62,000 teammates and created the Compassion Champions role to foster the transformation of the work culture into spaces where teammate self-care can better lead to best care of patients, families and teammates. Instituting Code Lavender responses into CHS hospitals, business offices and physician practices to 1) prevent Burnout and promote integrative healing therapy techniques on the job and in the midst of routines (e.g., brief breath work while foaming in and foaming out, pet therapy walk-throughs, aromatherapy, chair massages, etc.) and 2) bring compassionate responses to teammates who get acutely impacted in delivery of patient care (e.g., medical errors, multiple deaths in a row, professional and personal crises, etc).

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE CURRENTLY FACING?

This is an ongoing evolution and spread of education and integration of this Compassion movement across a healthcare system which spans across North Carolina, South Carolina and an imprint into Georgia. It is also a challenge to help teammates get out of deeply developed patterns where patient care is at the expense of self-care, where walking the 2nd mile is different from overextension leading to collapse, where doing one’s best is not to be confused with perfectionism, where provision of compassion means total drain of one’s own self. Sacred writings of many faith traditions hold that we are to love our neighbor as self, not at the expense of self. Just like we make sure our automobiles do not run out of gas, so we need to keep ourselves fueled with compassion, joy, meaning and purpose.

WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE FUTURE OF PATIENT EXPERIENCE?

The Patient Experience is about treating the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. Beliefs are powerful whether grounded in religion or not. The future will bring a richer wisdom and integration of how modern day medicine resources blend well with the ancient healing resources known by humankind for thousands of years. Neuroscience is starting to show us that whenever we offer, receive, or witness compassion we are all the more whole.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN WHEN NOT WORKING?

I enjoy the arts to include music and movies, being with my 2 granddaughters (ages 3 and 5), walking on the beach, writing and currently learning to play my Native American flute.

WHY DID YOU JOIN THE BERYL INSTITUTE?

The Beryl Institute shares the vision that collective wisdom far exceeds my tiny mind. Learning with colleagues from around the world is priceless. Putting the experience of the patient at the forefront of my focus in healthcare continually connects me to purpose and mission. And the growing attention to the heart of caring and compassion lets me be part of a chorus of like-minded voices whose song is about healing others and self.

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