An executive coach and celebrated artist, Allison Massari survived a devastating car accident that left her severely burned. She’ll share her health care experience, the importance of compassionate care, and how to transform lives through the art of person-centered care at RISE Nashville in March.

She has been to hell and back.

Nearly 22 years ago an automobile accident left 50 percent of Allison Massari’s body covered with second- and third-degree burns. The pain she endured was excruciating, and she spent years in recovery and rehabilitation. She needed to heal physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

“It was a consuming, long recovery. I always say that healing is very sloppy, messy, and an unattractive process. But we have to forgive ourselves for being human. The key is to never give up hope. You have to believe when your mind tells you there is no hope, that there is always hope,” she says.

While her medical care was excellent, Massari says people shouldn’t underestimate the power that kindness plays in a patient’s healing. Medicine can take people extremely far in their recoveries, but what is vital is human connection and presence. “Compassion,” she says, “heals the places that medicine cannot touch.”

Indeed, Massari says that her entire care would have fallen flat if she didn’t experience the love and kindness from her health care team, whether that was a bedside provider or someone in admissions. “I could tell that they cared whether it was a touch on the hand, the look in someone’s eyes, and even the sound of the voice of someone that I was talking to on the phone. These moments are so vital to support patients. The little moments are the big moments,” she says.

Massari will talk about her experience and what she describes as compassionate care and the art of patient-centered care during a keynote presentation at RISE Nashville, March 15-17 at Music City Center.

“Compassionate care is not just about being kind,” she explains. “Being an expert in your job is compassionate care, and being fully present in your tasks, and triple-checking your work is compassionate care. Keeping an organization financially healthy so you can be there for your patients is compassionate care…Everything trickles down to the patient and is a form of empathy.”

Massari says she has profound gratitude for the work of health care providers and what they do every day for their patients. “They give so much of themselves every day and their work is so vital. I’m extremely grateful to them,” she says.

Massari will deliver her keynote presentation on Tuesday, March 17, the second full day of the main RISE Nashville summit. Click here to see the full agenda.