Assume Positive Intent

Have you ever made an assumption about why a person is behaving in a particular manner, only to find out later that you were way off the mark?

When we don’t know why people behave the way they do, we tend to make up assumptions that aren’t always positive.  

When providing care to our patients/visitors, how do we meet them where THEY are, instead of where we THINK they should be?

Examples of when we may do this could be:

  • A patient’s expectations about his/her care
  • A family member’s expectations about his/her experience
  • Families that cope in ways different than our own during a crisis
  • Patient complaints

When interacting with physicians/fellow employees, how do we meet them where THEY are, instead of where we THINK they should be?

Examples of when we may do this could be:

  • Patient hand-off/shift report
  • Sharing diagnostic results
  • Providing/receiving a status report on a project
  • Not receiving information you thought you should

The next time you catch yourself assuming something, stop and ask yourself: Am I sure? How do I know? Assuming the best in others doesn’t mean believing that everyone does the right thing all the time. It is a belief that everyone is doing the best they can, given their current thinking. When we are at our best, we tend to give others the benefit of the doubt and listen to them with curiosity, rather than judgment. We ask more questions and get more information, which leads to better results. Doing this is an example of living our core value of Reverence respecting those we serve and those who serve.