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Nurse Leaders' Top Concerns: Patient Experience, Quality Care

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, February 15, 2011

Others believe excellent patient care is reflected in good scores, no matter where in the country the organization is located, while poor experiences will be reflected whether the regional character is "suffer in silence" or "I deserve better."

It won't make a bit of difference where you're located, however, if hospital executives don't find a way to communicate the organization's commitment to improving experience to the people who really make the difference, from the nursing staff to the janitors.

All staff should receive training in communicating with patients and visitors so they know what acceptable and unacceptable interactions look like. How many poor-scoring surveys feature comments about just one staff member? An interaction with someone who is perceived to be rude, unhelpful, or just uncaring can ruin a patient's perception of what was flawless care.

I'm not saying that everyone has to subscribe to Disney-levels of plastered on smiles and "the sun always shines" fake sincerity. Rather that delivering a meal tray without a word and not making eye contact with the patient in the bed should be a thing of the past. As should not introducing oneself to patients with name and job title. There are basic levels of customer service that shouldn't have to be taught, but that may need teaching.

Above all, people need to understand how the commitment to patient experience ties into the organization's overarching goals for safe, quality patient care for all. And how every person's job contributes to the same goals.


Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at rhendren@hcpro.com.

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3 comments on "Nurse Leaders' Top Concerns: Patient Experience, Quality Care"


John Adams (2/16/2011 at 3:44 PM)
Just as we prune the trees and shrubs most doctors will prune their practices and get rid of highly demanding and biligerent patients.

Beth Boynton, RN, MS (2/16/2011 at 11:42 AM)
Patient satisfaction surveys are an extremely complicated issue and I think we should be careful with how much weight they get as well as the questions they ask. It is very alarming that they would be rated as more important than patient safety by nurse leaders. In my next newsletter (March issue) we are running an op-ed piece by Meg Helgert, FNP on this issue. It is concise, informative and an important perspective. If you'd like to get a free issue, sign up via my website link.

bob (2/16/2011 at 11:05 AM)
Patient satisfaction is a key element of quality care. Patient satisfaction scores should not only be tied to reimbursement, but also tied in to the evaluation of quality. Patient satisfaction should not be seen as a separate priority, to be ranked higher or lower than quality. We still have too many patients who are very unhappy about their insensitive "high quality" care.