More Thoughts on Patient Satisfaction

How can we keep our patients “happy and satisfied” when we’re trying to carry out the business of being a hospital?

Kool-Aid Man

Image via Wikipedia

You can’t.  You can do programs, have meetings and task forces, play up the fact that these are our customers not our patients and roll out a plethora of initiatives to help increase the scores.  It will work for awhile, then the staff tires of being treated like crap daily while being asked to “be nice and please the customer” and things revert back tot he way it was.  Or the more common scenario, nursing busts ass to makes things better, increasing call light response time, hourly rounding and trying really hard to make the experience of being in the hospital as satisfying for the patient as we can, and the someone (docs, I’m looking at you…) comes in and fucks it all up.

I try.  I drink the corporate Kool-Aid and and do my part.  I try to explain to my patients that yes, I will be waking you up every 4 hours to check your vital signs.  Yes, you have to wear this heart monitor all night long.  No, you won’t be able to eat or drink, not even a little after midnight before your procedure.  I level with the ones who are in pain that I will never be able to make them completely pain free.  I will try to make them as comfortable as possible, but I like to still have them breathing.  I teach my other nurses the same, to reset the patient expectations from the get-go to reduce issues later on.  Some days it works, others, not so much.

In the end though, there is no pleasing everyone.  There will always be at least one or two bad apples that no matter what you do, will be upset and “un-satisfied.”  And too often, it is those who think they are entitled to everything that create the most havoc.  And how do we respond as an organization?  We tell them they are right, we are wrong and are taking steps to rectify the situation.

Sorry, you’re a patient, not a customer.  Anyone who tells you different is either trying to sell you something, wants something from you or works in an office far and away from the actual daily work of nursing.

Perhaps this video sums it up the best.

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