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Health Educator Course Content

From Bird's Eye View Book

Module 1: Compassion
Lesson Plan 1: About Dr. Darwish


Understand how simple kindnesses are important to patients and families – and how demonstrating compassion often doesn’t take more of a clinician’s time.


Learning Objectives

  1. Students will critically observe clinician behaviours to identify which ones demonstrate compassion.

  2. Students will reflect on their own experiences of the effect of compassion demonstrated by others when they were in health care settings or felt vulnerable in some way.

  3. Students will commit to an action to incorporate compassion in their work.



1. Read or listen to a chapter from Sue Robins' Bird’s Eye View book called About Dr. Darwish.

  • Read the chapter here.

  • Listen to the author reading the chapter here:

2. As you review the chapter, note all the compassionate behaviours shown by Dr. Darwish towards this family who has a new baby with Down syndrome.


3. Consider the Reflective Questions, either in a group setting or as a written assignment.


4. Commit to a Take-Away Action.


Reflective Questions



  1. Describe a time when you were shown compassion in a health care setting, or any time when you were feeling vulnerable.

  2. How did it feel?

  3. What did that compassion do for you?


Dr. Darwish

  1. Which demonstrations of compassion took planning with the clinic staff?

  2. Which compassionate behaviours took more time?

  3. Which compassionate behaviours did not take more time?


  1. How did Aaron’s family feel during the appointment?

  2. What was the effect from Dr. Darwish’s approach after the appointment?

Take-Away Actions

Which demonstration of compassion can you commit to incorporating into your own work with patients?  What would you need to put in place in order for you to fulfil your commitment?




Bird’s Eye View: Stories of a life lived in health care by Sue Robins.

ISBN: 978-1999156015

Supplemental Readings

Poem – Late Fragment by Raymond Carver


Journal Article - Qualitative Health Research, Best Practice in Provider/Parent Interaction, Betty Davies, Rose Steele, Guenther Kroeger, et al.


TEDx Penn Talk – How 40 Seconds of Compassion Could Save a Life by Stephen Trzeciak


Essay - Love, the Word That Medicine Fears by Dr. Kirsten Meisinger

Special Thank You

A review of this material was kindly provided by:

Wendy S. Looman, PhD, APRN, CPNP-PC, Professor, School of Nursing

Chair, Child and Family Health Cooperative

University of Minnesota 

Ella Gay, RN, BScN, Pediatric Nurse

Stollery Children’s Hospital, Edmonton, Canada

This content is protected by the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

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