I’m Here: Compassionate Communication in Patient Care

“I’m Here” is Marcus Engel’s personal story, given from the patient’s point of view. The author describes his unique experiences and encourages all healthcare practitioners to continue providing compassionate care. Engel provides two types of advice at the end of each chapter: one reflects on the chapter and shares his personal medical experiences and encounters with a nurse or doctor, as well as his sentiments. The other type of advice is a recommendation for how to use it in real-life circumstances. Despite the technological progress and ubiquity of automation, the importance of quality nursing care for patients cannot be overemphasized. A good nurse has professional knowledge and skills and such qualities as responsiveness, compassion, mercy, and kindness. This story proved once again that the nurse provides the patients with general help and support and motivates them to a speedy recovery, rehabilitation, and further adherence to the rules of a healthy life. Even though Marcus went through a tragic accident, “one of the worst cases of facial trauma imaginable” (Engel, 2010, p.16), this book leaves readers, especially nurse practitioners, inspired and aspired to excellence.

“I’m Here” is based on Marcus’s real-life experience, which happened when he was 18 years old. While driving to the restaurant after the hockey game, he and his three friends were struck by a drunk driver. As a result of this accident, Engel was left blind. Moreover, he had to go through facial reconstructive facial surgery, a two-year recuperation, and rehabilitation. In his first moments of consciousness, he hears the most important words, “I’m here,” from a female called Jenifer. “These two little words are a verbal embrace, a warm, safe place of protection for your patient,”- explains Marcus (Engel, 2010). As he travels across unfamiliar terrain, he loves the sympathetic treatment he receives from various medical workers, who treat him with respect and care. Marcus emphasizes the importance of reassurance and comfort and I agree with it. A nurse is more likely than a doctor to visit a patient; thus, it is his or her job to reassure and encourage him, as well as build hope in him for the therapy he is receiving and a rapid recovery. Knowing how much it meant to Marcus’s recovery, I will do everything possible to make my patients feel secure and protected.

Another insight I noted and would use in my practice is to compliment my colleagues and coworkers. This habit has always been in my practice; however, Marcus gave me an entirely new perspective by stating that “Barb’s compliments for Rick, Betty and Stephanie showed how much she cares about them. And how much she cares about me” (Engel, 2010, p.42). Giving compliments to a coworker, we help patients to trust other professionals and reassure them that they are in good hands. Once again, Marcus Engel reminds healthcare professionals that the main goal is to “help your patient” (Engel, 2010, p.57). I have never thought that a simple compliment can change both colleagues’ and patients’ lives; however, now, when I do, I won’t hesitate to use them more in my practice. It is also important to mention the character of Barb, as one of the most caring and understanding people in Marcus’s life, the epitome of an almost ideal nurse.

One of the ways to empower patients is to give them more information and communicate clearly-states Mr.Engel. For example, Marcus was aware that he had undergone one of the procedures, but no one informed him of the time or date of the procedure. Marcus awaited a handshake from a specialist doctor as well, but it never arrived. Throughout the book, the author managed to explain his anguish, personal trauma, stages of healing, and his feelings and experiences. Once more, I got convinced that patient communication and experience are crucial and significantly impact people’s well-being.

Overall, “I’m Here: Compassionate Communication in Patient Care” is a genuine story, which I would recommend to my colleagues all over the world. All healthcare workers and people considering a career in the healthcare field should read this book to understand better how their activities, communication, and behavior affect patients’ experiences. This book is full of personal tragedies, stages of recovery, but most importantly, compassionate care and effective communication. Engel also emphasizes the importance of small gestures like a gentle touch, introducing oneself, and being present, which are often overlooked amid the chaos of a hospital day but are extremely infectious to the patient, and ultimately serve as a reminder of why so many of us wanted to be at the bedside in the first place. Emotions and a detailed account of the incident made me feel as though I had been present when it occurred. This is crucial for healthcare workers, in my opinion, because patients’ feelings and experiences should be researched directly from them. This book offered me a unique perspective on how a patient feels in a medical setting, motivating me to perform harder in my profession to improve the patient’s hospital experience.


Engel, M. (2010). I’m here: Compassionate communication in patient care. Phillips Press.

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