Quality Service: Compassion – What is Compassion? Overview

Oklahoma Dept. of Human Services - Adult and Family Services

We are comfortable with evaluating accountabilities, such as timeliness and accuracy. We are also familiar with the evaluation of behaviors, such as teamwork and problem-solving abilities.

The question is how do you evaluate compassion.

The dictionary defines compassion as the “sympathetic care and concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others.”

However, we want a “real life” definition that represents the way we relate to other people, whether it’s our clients, each other, family or a total stranger.

Compassion is more than the feeling we have for someone who is suffering. The more important piece of compassion is the action we take because of our feelings. So, our working “real life” definition is “acting to relieve someone’s suffering”.

By this definition, some real-life examples could include:

  • Volunteers at a soup kitchen;
  • People who donate to a battered women’s shelter or to a charity;
  • Foster parents;
  • Fire Fighters;
  • People who work with Big Brother/Big Sister;
  • DHS employees helping those in need

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