LinkedIn Pulse | Empathy: Beyond a Connection

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 9:40

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

This is my first LinkedIn Pulse post, Empathy: Beyond a Connection.


Empathy-Heart-Clear Vision:Mission Barbara Ficarra Healthin30 ID-100227359

Being a great leader means having a clear vision, mission or goal. It means being committed, and knowing how to listen and communicate, but it involves much more. It’s about having heart, empathy, and an uplifting spirit.

With empathy and heart we can help our patients feel good, valued and respected. Empathy allows us to engage and empower our patients to take charge of their health and well-being.

Empathy is without a doubt a connection; but in health care, it’s much more. It’s not only a clinical and emotional connection; it’s truly about letting people know that they matter and that clinicians care about their patient’s well-being.

The emotional connection allows clinicians to be mindful of what patients are experiencing and to help understand their lives. Everyone has a story: the new mom in the hospital who is being treated for cancer is unable to hold and to be with her newborn, the son and dad who gave and received a kidney missed attending the college graduation, the grandpa who missed his granddaughter’s wedding because he was undergoing heart surgery. There are lives behind the patients. A life interrupted and lives on hold. Understanding the how and why and what patients are feeling will allow for the doctor/patient and nurse/patient relationship to flourish, making better outcomes possible.

Underneath the diagnosis lies a patient with a life on hold on the outside. Patients’ lives stand still and they are bound by hospital walls, machines and devices. Every patient deserves empathetic doctors and nurses.

It’s important for clinicians to understand that patients are more than their “diagnosis.” Recognizing patients outside life exists, even just for a moment, is invaluable to them. All too often patients and their caregivers and family members are called “difficult” if they ask too many questions. Most of the time patients, caregivers, loved ones aren’t difficult; they are anxious and afraid and want to know that they are being heard. They want a connection.

With empathy doctors and nurses can connect, engage and empower patients. Empathy allows us to understand what patients are experiencing. By acknowledging their emotional state and listening attentively, we can engage our patients and empower them to be proactive and in charge of their health care.

Empathy will foster trust, a partnership forms and the healing process begins.

So as leaders we can think about our patients lives on hold and empathetically help them get back to their loved ones and back to their lives.

Your turn

We would love to hear from you. Please share your insightful thoughts in the comment section below. As always, thank you for your very valuable time.

Barbara participated in TEDMED and was part of the medical communication team.

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LinkedIn Pulse Post-Empathy: Beyond a Connection

Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA is an award-winning broadcast journalist, founder of, health educator, international speaker, and registered nurse.

Exploring the intersection of health, technology and art…


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My First YouTube Video is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Friday, August 22, 2014 19:11

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Accepted

Donna Hill Howes nominated the Sharecare Advisory Board for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Here is my first YouTube Video featuring the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. For more information on ALS, please visit The ALS Association.

I call out Harry Greenspun, MD, John La Puma, MD and Dennis Michaels, Esq.



#IceBucketChallenge #StrikeOutALS

The ALS Association



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List of Health Care Social Media and Digital Influencers on Twitter

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 11:31

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

Marie Ennis-O’Connor (@JBBC) is a healthcare writer, public relations consultant, and digital media strategist. Marie recently compiled a list of 84 health care social media and digital influencers on Twitter.

Twitter is a powerful social networking platform and it allows health professionals to deeply connect and engage with the community. Health care professionals can help educate consumers, raise awareness of health issues and collaborate. This phenomenal platform gives a voice to patients and consumers, and it helps start the conversation with doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

Thank you Marie for this valuable list, and I am honored to be included.

7.26k views 129 items
Marie Ennis-O'Connor

Healthcare & Digital Health Accounts To Follow on Twitter

List of health care social media and digital influencers on Twitter. Add your suggestions to this list.
  Follow List
  Embed List
  1. 1  Aaron Sklar (@aaronsklar)

    Aaron Sklar (@aaronsklar)

    Neck deep in health-tech start-ups. Design for #digitalhealth. #innovation #behaviorchange #co_health #designthinking #populationhealth #patientengagement San Francisco, California

  2. 2  Alex Butler (@alex__butler)

    Alex Butler (@alex__butler)
    Digital #Pharma expert MD @TheEarthworks @TedMed speaker and member of @Wharton Future of advertising global advisory board. Part of the @digitallysick team.
  3. 3  Alissa Sadler (@alissasadler)

    Alissa Sadler (@alissasadler)

    Communications Officer for @OSF_IHRD at @OpenSociety. Harm reduction, public health, drug policy, human rights. Always up for an adventure. A Canadian in NYC.

  4. 4  Andre Blackman (@mindofandre)

    Andre Blackman (@mindofandre)

    Sustainable health innovation. Connector. Working w/health focused orgs + thought leaders @PulseAndSignal (digital branding). Co-founder @FastFwdHealth project RDU/Triangle, NC

  5. 5  Andrew Spong (@andrewspong)

    Andrew Spong (@andrewspong)

    Social business developer. Focused on health communications. Working with pharma, patient associations, & agencies. MD, STweM. Rustington, UK

  6. 6  Andrew Thompson (@proteusceo)

    Andrew Thompson (@proteusceo)
    President, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Proteus Digital Health
  7. 7  Anneliz Hannan (@annelizhannan)

    Anneliz Hannan (@annelizhannan)

    Corporate Communications, Public Affairs, Public Relations, Social Media, Healthcare Communications and a Nurse Who Gives More 'Breadth' To Your Brand. Wilmington, NC

  8. 8  ArtJones (@ArtJones)

    ArtJones (@ArtJones)

    New Media & Modern Marketing are more about PEOPLE than TECHNOLOGY. #HCSM #MHealth #TheFutureOfHealthcare NYC & LA

  9. 9  Audun Utengen (@audvin)

    Audun Utengen (@audvin)

    Connect the dots in healthcare social media @Symplur. Disrupt patient satisfaction surveys @Caretotell. Happy Co-founder of both. California

  10. 10  Aurora (@aurorahealthpr)

    Aurora (@aurorahealthpr)

    Healthcare communicators who love what we do for a living - work in UK and internationally. . London, UK

  11. 11  BarbaraFicarra (@BarbaraFicarra)

    BarbaraFicarra (@BarbaraFicarra)
    Journalist, Founder, Writer Huffingtonpost, Speaker, Media Broadcaster, Consultant, Registered Nurse, Health Educator, Pt Empowerment, HCSM, and.... New York
  12. 12  Bart Collet (@bart)

    Bart Collet (@bart)

    Crossroads of health care technology & pragmatism #mhealth #digitalhealth #AAL #startup #healthstartup Antwerp

  13. 13  Ben Dillon (@benatgeo)

    Ben Dillon (@benatgeo)

    eHealth Evangelist, keynote speaker, SHSMD board member, healthcare web strategist, 2012 #hit100 member, recovering geek. Iowa

  14. 14  Ben Zipkin (@bzipkin)

    Ben Zipkin (@bzipkin)

    Principal @PharmaForward LLC. Focused on digital strategy, analytics, search and social media for pharma and biotech. #hcmktg #hcsm #mhealth Chicago, IL

  15. 15  Berci Meskó, MD, PhD (@berci)

    Berci Meskó, MD, PhD (@berci)
    Medical futurist, geek medical doctor with PhD in genomics, founder of , speaker, blogger, university lecturer, book author, consultant.
    Budapest, Hungary ·
  16. 16  Bill Kelly (@bill_reeldx)

    Bill Kelly (@bill_reeldx)

    CEO-ReelDx. Building a healthcare revolution thru Personal Clinical Video™. Proud dad & husband. @TimbersFC and @trailblazers fan. Life ain't gonna live itself.

  17. 17  Brian Ahier (@ahier)

    Brian Ahier (@ahier)
    Health IT Evangelist ~ Passionate about healthcare, technology and government 2.0. The Dalles, Oregon
  18. 18  Brian S. McGowan PhD (@BrianSMcGowan)

    Brian S. McGowan PhD (@BrianSMcGowan)

    Author of #SOCIALQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare. CLO of @ArcheMedX. Committed to information flow and learning in healthcare.

  19. 19  Brian T. Edwards (@HealthGrid)

    Brian T. Edwards (@HealthGrid)

    Senior #mHealth Analyst @iMedicalApps. Fellow @StartupHealth. #DigitalHealth thought leader. Patient entrepreneur. . Chicago, United States

  20. 20  Caz Milligan (@caz_milligan)

    Caz Milligan (@caz_milligan)

    Social Media for Emergency Management | Associate Crest Advisory UK | EOC Public Information Management | Former Police Officer |All views expressed are my own. New Zealand

  21. 21  Colin Hung (@colin_hung)

    Colin Hung (@colin_hung)

    Tweets on marketing, healthcare & leadership. True believer in Healthcare IT. Co-Host #hcldr chat Tues 8:30pm ET. Sushi, SciFi & TV fanatic.

  22. 22  Colleen Young (@colleen_young)

    Colleen Young (@colleen_young)

    Online Community Strategist in health, Founder of #hcsmca, Manager of Patient Engagement & Social Innovation @ELLICSR Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

  23. 23  COUHET Eric (@couheteric)

    COUHET Eric (@couheteric)

    Médecin généraliste connecté # Fondateur @ConnectedDoctor # Consultant santé 3.0 # Concepteur rédacteur # Mobinaute santé #

  24. 24  Craig DeLarge (@cadelarge)

    Craig DeLarge (@cadelarge)

    Digital Healthcare Strategist & Intrapreneur, Design Manager, Leadership Coach, Mac & Mini Cooper fan, NAMI Board Member, Strategy Storyist, World Traveler

  25. 25  Dana Lewis (@danamlewis)

    Dana Lewis (@danamlewis)

    #hcsm founder & moderator (Sun @ 8pm CT) Seattle, WA

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What is a Medical Emergency?

Monday, June 16, 2014 13:34

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

About Emergencies: What is a medical emergency and when to call 9-1-1


What is a Medical Emergency--Emergency Care Info Healthin30 Post ID-10092232

Debate brews over whether emergency departments are busier since the Affordable Healthcare Act expanded insurance coverage the beginning of this year.

While the debate continues, it is important for you to understand what a medical emergency is and when to call 9-1-1.

The information in this post, What is a Medical Emergency? is from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) – Emergency Care For You – and it is published with permission granted by ACEP.

What is a medical emergency?

A medical emergency is an event that you reasonably believe threatens your or someone else’s life or limb in such a manner that immediate medical care is needed to prevent death or serious impairment of health. A medical emergency includes severe pain, bad injury, a serious illness, or a medical condition that is quickly getting much worse.

  • To help you decide if you should call 9-1-1 answer these questions (as best you can):
  •  Is the condition life or limb threatening?
  • Could the condition worsen quickly on the way to the hospital?
  • If you move the victim, will it cause further injury?
  • Does the person need skills or equipment that paramedics or EMT’s carry right away?
  • Would distance or traffic cause a delay in getting the person to the hospital?

If the answer is yes to any of these….call 9-1-1.

What if I’m not sure?

If you’re not sure about the answer to the above questions, call 9-1-1 and the trained dispatcher will help advise you. It is better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 call taker determine if you need emergent assistance. Always err on the side of caution. When in doubt, call.

If you are experiencing any of the following, call 9-1-1 immediately:

  • Severe difficulty breathing, especially that does not improve with rest.
  • Chest Pain
  • A fast heartbeat (more than 120-150) at rest especially if associated with shortness of breath or feeling faint
  • You witness someone faint/pass out or someone is unresponsive (comatose)
  • Difficulty speaking, numbness, or weakness of any part of the body
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness or mental changes (confusion, very odd behavior, difficulty walking)
  • Sudden blindness or vision changes
  • Heavy bleeding from your mouth, nose, vagina or bottom
  • Bleeding from any wound that won’t stop with direct pressure
  • Broken bones visible through an open wound, or a broken leg
  • Drowning
  • Choking
  • Severe Burns
  • Allergic reaction, especially if there is any difficulty breathing
  • Extremely hot or cold
  • Poisoning or drug overdose
  • New severe headache
  • Sudden intense severe pain
  • Someone is threatening to hurt or kill themselves or someone else

When not to call 9-1-1?

  • Routine visits to medical offices, clinics, hospitals
  •  Flu-like symptoms or common colds
  • Chronic (ongoing) aches or pains
  • Minor cuts that stop bleeding with pressure
  • Broken fingers or toes (unless partially/fully amputated)

At your discretion, for these issues proceed to your nearest clinic or emergency department, but you most likely don’t need 9-1-1.

Don’t call 9-1-1 if:

  • Some crime (burglary, damage) was committed yesterday
  • Your cat is stuck in a tree
  • You need general information (such as phone numbers, directions, road or weather conditions)

Calls of this nature may delay response to true emergencies and delay critical time-sensitive, life-saving assistance.

Who will answer my call? What information will they want?

9-1-1 calls are answered by trained dispatchers who will ask you questions to determine what kind of help you need. As soon as you call, a response is in action but you must stay on the line to answer more questions until the dispatcher tells you to hang up.

You may be asked:

  • What happened?
  • Where are you? (Be specific. This is especially important if you are using a cell phone as the dispatcher may not be able to track your exact location like is possible when you use a land-line)
  • What is your name?
  • What is your phone number?

I’ve called 9-1-1, what should I do while I wait?

  • Answer all the 9-1-1 call taker’s questions.
  • Apply direct pressure to a bleeding wound with whatever cloth/bandages you have
  • If it is at night, turn on the lights in your home, to make it easier for the ambulance to find you
  • If you’re on a cell phone, make sure to give the call-taker EXACT information on your location
  • If you or the other person has Advanced Directives, power of attorney or other legal documents about their wishes for care from the paramedics or hospital, please have these ready when help arrives.

What if I call 9-1-1 by mistake?

If you call by mistake, DO NOT HANG UP, just stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that everything is OK. If you hang up, they may send a police officer or fire truck to your location to investigate if there is a problem.

For further information, please visit here.

Remember to always be proactive and in charge of your health. Be an empowered health care consumer. Always ask questions and speak up and remember to stay calm.

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American College of Emergency Physicians

Emergency Care For You

Emergency Care For You – About Emergencies

The content on this website and related broadcasts is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical condition. Promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical regimen.

Image Courtesy of Ventrilock/


Healthy Eating: Do You Know The Five Refuel Commandments?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 12:41

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

Okay men, this one’s for you. A healthy lifestyle reboot book that focuses on food, fitness and health. REFUEL, is a well-written book, with a dose of humor, by my friend and a leading health expert John La Puma, MD.

REFUEL is a 24 day eating plan specifically engineered for the male brain and body designed to boost testosterone levels, help men shed fat, pump up strength and stamina and improve sexual performance.

Dr. La Puma will guide you through the 24-Day eating plan, and he will provide you with fitness tips, the Dos and Don’ts of healthy eating, simple and healthy recipes, including “15 Dishes Every Man Should Know How to Make,” and tips to keep you on track, plus so much more. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find.

REFUEL for Healthin30 DrJohnLaPuma_Refuel_BookCover-197x300

The Five REFUEL Commandments


  1. Do not eat foods you can crumple or crush. Skip potato chips, hamburger buns, squishy bread, pretzels, and so on. These foods weaken muscles, zap energy, spike insulin, and make you store fat. No cheating—being able to crush a zucchini or an apple with a hammer does not count.
  2. Eat primarily undisguised lean protein and strong vegetables. “Undisguised” means not sauced, dressed, breaded, coated, battered, or otherwise masked. Strong vegetables, like broccoli and kale, are those that boost your immunity and make you physically stronger.
  3. Eat only small amounts of grains, starches, sweets, dried fruits, and full-fat dairy, tart up your carbs. Any grain, pasta or rice should get, at minimum, a sprinkle of vinegar, lemon, or lime. Bread should get mustard or salsa. Acidic foods lower glycemic index of refined carbs, improve insulin response, and slow the rate at which carbs are stored as belly fat. Less belly fat means more testosterone for your body to use for muscle building and fat burning.
  4. Only use a 6-inch plate for meals at home. This simple step will reduce your food consumption by 20 percent. You probably won’t even notice the difference, except that your plate will be full when you start, and you’ll eat with more pleasure because of it.
  5. Drink 3 liters of filtered (when possible) water with citrus juice daily. Drink more water.

Exactly how much is 3 liters? Here are a few different ways to look at the quantity.

  • 6 ½ 1-pint Mason jars
  • 68 shot glasses
  • ¾ of a gallon jug
  • 8 ½ large coffee mugs
  • 4 27-ounce Klean Kanteens
  • 6 ½ American pint glasses

(Reprinted with permission from the author, John La Puma, MD.)

Simple steps for men and women

These are all simple easy steps you can start right now. I love number 4—“Only use a 6-inch plate for meals at home.” No need to super-size. Eating the right amount of food is as important as eating the right foods.

While REFUEL’s focus is geared towards men, women can certainly take part. ”Women are the secret weapon men have in doing REFUEL: the best way for men to succeed is to invite a woman to do it with them,” writes Dr. La Puma.

You may find more information about REFUEL here.

Good luck and let the challenge begin, but remember, this isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle.

Your turn

We would love to hear from you. In the comment section below, please let us know if you’ve dived into a REFUEL lifestyle. Please share your thoughts and comments. We would greatly appreciate it.

As always, thank you for your valuable time.

About John La Puma, MD

John La Puma, MD

John La Puma, MD

John La Puma, MD is a practicing physician, board-certified in internal medicine and a professionally trained chef. His mission is to help you get measurably, happily healthier with what you eat and how you live.

Three of his books–”Cooking the RealAge Way,” “The RealAge Diet” and “ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine”–have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into 8 languages. His new book, REFUEL, aims to change how men think about what they eat–as fuel too–and to help men become stronger, healthier and the best versions of themselves.

The Wall Street Journal calls him a “Secret Weapon” against cholesterol and heart disease. He taught the first Nutrition and Cooking course for medical students in the US, at SUNY-Upstate with Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic, and the first Culinary Medicine course for clinical medical students in the US, at DMU. Dr. La Puma developed the recipes for Dr. Oz and Roizen’s YOU the Owner’s Manual. Repeatedly named “One of America’s Top Physicians” by Consumers’ Research Council, Dr. La Puma has been honored with the American Medical Association/National Association of Medical Communicators “Award of Excellence”.

His new “PBS ChefMD Shorts” series can be seen available nationwide through 2016, and his “Refuel Minute” series is available on YouTube. He is based in and sees patients in Santa Barbara, California.


A fun photo at the Freddie Awards

Barbara Ficarra and John La Puma, MD at the Freddie Awards - Healthin30

John La Puma, MD and Barbara Ficarra at the Freddie Awards-International Health and Medical Media Awards



















Follow Dr. La Puma on Twitter @johnlapuma

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 TEDMED Great Challenges-Medical Communication-Barbara Ficarra


The content on this website and related broadcasts is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical condition. Promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical regimen.