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Colleen Sweeney Speaker

Colleen Sweeney

    Empathizer and Recognizer of Patient Fears

    Founder of Sweeney Healthcare Enterprises

    Conceived and conducted the Patient Empathy ProjectSM

Full Bio
Fee Range

$10,000 - $15,000

Travels From


Colleen Sweeney Promo - 7 minute Sizzle Reel

Colleen Sweeney Promo - 7 minute Sizzle Reel

Colleen Sweeney Demo

Colleen Sweeney Demo

Colleen Sweeney is the founder of Sweeney Healthcare Enterprises, and she’s on a mission to transform healthcare.

Colleen conceived and conducted the Patient Empathy ProjectSM, a three year research study. During this research, she discovered that 96% of all patients have serious fears about health care, coining the term ClinicaphobiaSM to describe the phenomenon. Colleen put this finding to use, developing the Patient Experience PyramidSM as a tool for healthcare teams to uncoverand respond to patient fears. She’s identified the Top 11 Patient Fears and collected astonishing artwork from the Patient Empathy Postcard ProjectSM.

Colleen’s most recent position was as Director of Ambassador and Customer Services at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, IN. During her tenure, Memorial consistently ranked in the top deciles of performance in both Press Ganey and HCAHPS measures of the patient experience. Her insights and initiatives were integral to the organization’s success. Colleen also served as the Director of Innovation at Memorial’s School of Innovation, which realized a 3:1 return on investment by utilizing the collective genius of its employees.

A member of the National Speakers Association and a Certified Facilitator with the Tom Peters Company, Colleen holds degrees in nursing and business, and a master’s certificate in project management. Colleen attributes much of her success to an earlier career in improvisational comedy, which taught her to build enthusiasm, think differently about the work she does and help audiences realize the power of possibility which exists within them.

To book Colleen Sweeney call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.


(75 fast-paced minutes of education and inspiration)

Hold on to your chair as Colleen takes you on a journey inside the head of the patient! She will share the results of her study, entitled The Patient Empathy Project. Part one of a two-part project is a postcard art study asking people to depict what they fear about healthcare, hospitals and doctors. In addition to insights being shared, Colleen will offer practical take-aways that can be introduced immediately to alleviate the never spoken fears of patients. She will also share her Top 11 Patient Fears List which was the result of interviewing 1,080 people about their greatest healthcare fears. Sweeney will impress upon the audience that when you are not asking the question- you are not delivering patient centered care.

Her Patient Experience Pyramid will be shared, providing the framework for the importance of addressing patient fears. A case study will be shared from an organization that asked, recorded and addressed patient fears and their journey to patient satisfaction scores that any organization would be thrilled about!

educational / informative inspirational / life-changing


(120 department changing minutes)

Designed to follow the keynote presentation, this audience driven workshop teaches a tool using The Patient Empathy Roadmap.  It helps healthcare leaders (clinical and non-clinical alike) to identify the greatest fears or concerns of their customers and patients and how to move from the delivery of ordinary to EXTRA -ordinary.  Audiences will arrive at the answer to the one question that will insure raving and loyal fans... what business are you REALLY in? 

The culmination of the workshop causes each leader to take an introspective look at their own leadership potential as Colleen shares her list of  21 characteristics of a '99%ile Leader'.  The workshop finishes on a note that is sure to take some outside their comfort zone.  But, isn't moving outside our comfort zone the necessary move that will catapult organizations to the top?  Isn't that where you want to be?

educational / informative audience activity inspirational / life-changing


(90 minutes of material that makes a difference)

One of the most visible departments in an organization is the volunteer force. They are everywhere! Understanding the crucial role that the volunteer plays in the patient experience is essential to understanding the power that each volunteer has within them. This program will explore the Patient Empathy Project and its findings. This study was conducted to identify patient's most prominent fears in healthcare in an effort to sensitize caregivers to the concerns of the patient. Having knowledge of what patients fear can help volunteers make an emotional connection between 'always' behaviors and the words they choose and the affect it will have on the patient experience.

Colleen will help volunteer services think bigger and differently about the work they do and the value that they can bring to an organization! She will share 10 things that you can implement immediately to change the culture of your volunteer service. Be ready to feel motivated, moved and empowered!

educational / informative inspirational / life-changing


(75 minutes of improvisational comedy that is too true to be funny but we'll laugh anyway!)

An overwhelming majority of healthcare professionals are not fans of scripting.  They like to 'be themselves' and trust their own responses, leaving the patient encounter to chance.  The truth is that we are ALL scripted and some of our scripts need some work.  In this one of a kind keynote, Colleen draws on years of improvisational experience to teach helpful tips in helping to create the first and last 3 seconds of every patient interaction.  The audience will participate in an unforgettable and eye opening teaching experience that is a total mind shift about our relationship with each patient.  In the end, audiences will learn the valuable lesson that 'we teach people how to treat us'.  It is a mark mover, a must see and if things go well... pantswettingly funny!

educational / informative inspirational / life-changing


(75 soul searching minutes for leaders)

Colleen Sweeney knows about fear.  She has spent the last five years studying what patients fear about hospitals, healthcare and doctors.  The Patient Empathy Project identified the top 11 patient fears and how knowing those fears and exercising empathy can affect outcomes.  But how do you get employees engaged enough to even want to be empathetic?  In an industry that is aiming for 99 percentile scores- you need 99 percentile healthcare leaders.  Ninety-nine percentile leaders inherently know that employees have fears also.  Learn what the universal fear is and how effective healthcare leaders tap into the one fear that we all share in order to create win-win workplaces for all.

educational / informative inspirational / life-changing

Speaking Topics:

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