"We're spending a lot of time and effort around coaching people to be really effective communicators because it's not something that we learned in school," Myerson echoes. "It's about the human experience."
Be visible and open
Myerson says patients aren't always comfortable expressing their concerns during their hospital stay, especially if they're unhappy with a particular clinician. Patients may also not know who to complain to in the first place. That's why nurse managers have to be visible and available to patients.
"What we like to do is have the nurse manger round on every patient every day. It is a really great way for the patient know who's in charge of the unit," she says. "At the end of the day the nurse manager is really the CEO for their unit."
Nurse managers at Mt. Sinai also hand out postcards with their name, photo, and contact information—in English on one side, and Spanish on the other—so patients have it handy if they need to get in touch. Nurse managers at Cleveland Clinic also round on new patients and distribute business cards.
"If I know who's in charge I can go right to the boss," Myerson says.
But it's not only the boss who has a role to play in listening to the patient. For instance, Myerson says some of their housekeepers have a great, natural ability to interact and connect with patients, and sometimes patients will confide things in them. When that happens, they're instructed to tell either the charge nurse, nurse manager, or their own supervisor.
In fact, everyone on the nonclinical teams receive education about making eye contact with patients, smiling, and introducing themselves. Myerson adds that building services team members have huddles before each shift, and "they talk about patient experience almost every single huddle."
"Everybody has a role in the patient experience," Myerson says.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.