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10 Ways to Help Nurses Improve Patient Satisfaction

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, September 6, 2011

Improving patient satisfaction is a financial imperative. Nurses are on the frontline of patient interaction and can make or break the patient experience. So why do we make it so hard for them to have positive interactions with patients?

Here are 10 changes to nurse procedures and working conditions that would improve patient experience. Some are simple, others more complex, all are effective.

1. Scripting: Many fear that scripting means fast food restaurant–type rote responses. In fact, it’s a useful tool when handled correctly. Scripting empowers nurses with tools to make their communication with patients easier. Regular discussion and training about patient interactions ensures nurses know what is expected. A scripting example: the hospital expects that all nurses will introduce and identify themselves and their professional credentials to new patients, and explain the treatment regimen. Scripting gives nurses tools for handling issues such as delayed procedures and lost test results. It also gives them tools for difficult situations such as deescalating angry patients.

2. Supplies: Keep frequently needed supplies in patient rooms and restock regularly. Maintain a multitude of stockrooms and supply cupboards and don’t make nurses walk miles to track them down. It’s frustrating for patients and staff when nurses have to stop what they are doing to track down supplies.

3. Uniforms: In many hospitals, RNs are indistinguishable to patients from the people delivering their meal trays. Consider choosing a defined scrub color for RNs to ensure that patients know who they can talk to and who is looking out for them.

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