Nursing as a customer service profession? - page 6

I am graduating from nursing school in the next few months, and I am just beginning my job search. I have discovered that many hospitals have something about nursing as a customer service profession... Read More

  1. by   jenac
    In LTC- "customer service" is a way of life. Dealing with demanding residents and families is no different here than it would be if I were making burgers for a living. Everyone wants it their way ( )- and anything else is wrong. You have to take it all in stride. If I can do the little things to make someone more comfortable or happier-they will be quieter and I will (in theory anyway) get more done in the long run. As for demanding families-you do what you can. You deal with what you can-and sometime that means reminding them that there are other residents needing care too. For example- when Mrs. daughter is upset and yelling about the extra 30 seconds it took an aide to answer mom's call-light for ice, I would generally respond with a "I'm sorry it took so long-they were down the hall helping someone else with their needs. I'd be happy to get that ice for you. Is there anything else I can do for you while I'm here?" That extra two minutes in that particular room now will save me extra time running back to answer the call-light or smooth ruffled feathers later on. Some people are never satisfied though-and I refer them to our DON or Administrator if they have further complaints. "I'm sorry you feel that way. We have done our best to do what you've asked in the best way we can. I would suggest that if you are unsatisfied with your loved ones care, you take any further complaints to the DON or Administrator." It usually stops right there.

    Being nice is easy-being nasty takes much more energy and time.
  2. by   jadednurse
    I think alot of the problems associated w/ the whole "customer service" issue arise from the general public's perception of nursing and the healthcare industry in general. In general, the average American health care consumer (and they are consumers, they pay through the nose for health care) seems to have a general mistrust of health care providers. And, IMHO, who can blame them? Patients often fell that information is not communicated to them (and it's not) and that they receive less than adequate care (and they do) and that the care they recieve is often rushed and impersonal (and it often is).

    Try being on the "other side of the bedrail" as a previous post put it. Over the last few years I have been the patient, the family member, the loved one of a patient and it's given me an interesting and enlightening perspective. And it ain't pretty folks. My family and loved ones were often aghast at the attitudes of many of the nurses, doctors, ancillary staff, administrators, etc. And truth be told, so was I. And with an "insider's" perspective, I often felt torn between defending the nurses/hospital system and condemning them at the same time. It really makes you think twice about your own attitudes and delivery as a nurse.

    I agree with the emphasis being placed on being courteous, caring, helpful and compassionate toward patients and their families. They are, after all, sick, injured, scared, concerned people...they are not out for an afternoon delight of burgers and fries at the local McDonalds. That being said, I do not agree with the way these ideas are being "marketed" by hospital administration, many of whom have never walked a day in nurses' shoes. The message is important, but the method of delivery is insulting!
  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Having been an inpatient twice in the last year, I agree that compassion is key. I also agree many times patients/families are not informed as they should be; balls are dropped. There is no doubt. I also feel, though, blame falls squarely on the shoulders of those that believe nurses should be able to do it all. Obviously, (to us, anyhow), we CANNOT be ancilliary people (lab/pulmonary, etc), housekeeping, psychologists, AND be effective nurses TOO. As it is, where I work, we don't have aides, so yes, we do all that they would do, too. We act as housekeepers, being stuck emptying trash in all the rooms cause they are overflowing and mopping floors so people don't fall when something is spilled. We have to clean up hours-old dinner trays and take them down to the kitchen ourselves half the time. In addition, We do our own lab draws, and a lot of what used to be "non-nursing" tasks.

    So those that believe we are in the customer service business and we should be able to do it all, I ask: Where do NURSING tasks fall in the priority list? We CANNOT always do "more with less" as the bean counters would like to believe. SOMETHING will be UNDONE....and G-d forbid, it is our CRITICAL NURSING TASK that it is.

    THAT is my whole HEARTBURN with the customer-service model of thinking. Blame always conveniently falls SQUARELY on nursings' shoulders. After all, we are the ones to have direct contact with our "customers" a majority of the time. I firmly believe SOMETHING has to change or things will continue to get worse for those "on the other side of the bed rail". The hospitals have never been prettier, fancier, more like "home", but what good are fancy color schemes if NO ONE is there when you need a nurse?
  4. by   Furball
    Perfect post up there, agree totally. Of course the golden rule is paramount, but nurses are spread much too thin to be able to give always-never fail prompt attention to non emergent (yet important) needs of the pt.
  5. by   VickyRN
    The message is important, but the method of delivery is insulting!
    I couldn't agree more!!! I wholeheartedly believe that each and every patient should be treated as if he/she were one's mother, father, sister, brother, child, or even (most importantly) JESUS. Jesus afterall said, "Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me." This is how I view patient care. Notice I said PATIENT care... NOT customer service. These wonderful people entrusted fully to our care are sick people, patients. They are NOT customers and NEVER will be customers!!! IF they were mere customers, well they certainly wouldn't opt to be spending their time in an ICU bed with four IV's, 16 drips, an ET tube, foley catheter, NG, OG... well, you get my drift.
  6. by   nrw350
    Originally posted by VickyRN
    I couldn't agree more!!! I wholeheartedly believe that each and every patient should be treated as if he/she were one's mother, father, sister, brother, child, or even (most importantly) JESUS. Jesus afterall said, "Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me." This is how I view patient care. Notice I said PATIENT care... NOT customer service. These wonderful people entrusted fully to our care are sick people, patients. They are NOT customers and NEVER will be customers!!! IF they were mere customers, well they certainly wouldn't opt to be spending their time in an ICU bed with four IV's, 16 drips, an ET tube, foley catheter, NG, OG... well, you get my drift.
    EXACTLY!!!!! We need to compose a memorandum (or what ever the appropriate word is in this case) that compiles all of these good points and publish it in a news-paper or something to try and get the word out to the public. Maybe by some miracle that will have some sort of good impact on the suits of the hospitals and change some policies to help their nurses out. I know one can dream can't they?

    Any ideas on how to accomplish this?
  7. by   JBudd
    Oh, you guys make me feel old. Never saw that video of the man and the dog, ours was a film (no videos in the dark ages) about a little old lady wandering through the hospital with a bag of money her (deceased) husband had wanted her to give the hospital. She gets treated rudely everywhere and can't find anywone to talk to to give the money. Note how even then customer service was related to CASH?
  8. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    This argument seems similar to those of my colleagues in retail sales. I have been the object of much abuse as I work my way through school, but in my position it is expected as the lowest species in our genus........Homo Retailis Sapiens :chuckle My managers give me crap for not doing the impossible and my customers give me crap for doing what my managers tell me. I NEVER get the benefit of the doubt from either the customer or my managers as to my intentions towards them...............they always assume I've been lazy, or that I'm apathetic to their needs. If the cash drawer is short at the end of the shift it is assumed that the clerks have stolen it, not just counted incorrectly........and on and on and on..........blahhhh, blahhhh blahhhh..every frigging day.
    then management uses these "incidents" to deny our pitiful .25 cent raises every year.
    As retail clerks rise through the ranks to management...........they pull the same crap as they sell-out.


    Since I've been a member of this board, I've noticed the uncanny similarities between retail clerkship and that of nursing.
    I think it's because the same bastards(bastetts) that are getting business degrees are going into both fields.


    I ask you why it is that nurses are not customers??

    Uhhhhmmm?.....that is a basic concept that has seemed to elude upper management. Better performance can be obtained from a slap on the back rather than the sting of a whip!!!!

    over and out.
  9. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Ok, just one more example of 0f uncanny similarity between retail and nursing..............

    I am by far the top performer as far as sales %'s that my managers have told me are important to them.

    Corporate management makes a really big deal about it with certificates of congratulations...........doubling the sales commission received, giving $500 bonuses and constantly mentioning sales performance numbers.
    But never to my benefit, even though I beat my manager by double in every sales category with half the hours reported of his, I have never received any such accollades, and God forbid, the .25 cent annual raise is like Roe vs. Wade!!!

    Sounding familiar??????
  10. by   mattsmom81
    I don't think most of us have any problem being kind and attentive...it is in our nature as nurses.

    Today's generation of patients expects MUCH more than basic kind attention...and administrators are meeting that expectation off the sweat of of nurses, IMO.

    We laid off ancillary staff again last week. Which means nursing picks up the slack for less lab, housekeeping, secretarial , etc. It never ends.

    I agree with Peeps. Seems like customer service is one way only...away from the nurse. I liked my career better when docs were overseeing hospital management. At least docs have SOME kind of a clue..and know we are there to save lives.. not cater like we are expected to do today.
  11. by   GAstudent
    Must say that I myself do think that it is "customer service". What do you think that customer service is? To me customer service is helping customers in a polite, courteous, respectful manner, . This goes really with any job. A car salesman is customer service, as well as selling furniture, working at wal-mart, etc.. You are dealing with pts and their care and must do so in a respect attitude. In cars your dealing with selling the car and wanting them to buy the car from you and when they want to buy another one you want them to come back to you. In a hospital you want them to come back to you.
  12. by   OrthoNutter
    Originally posted by kitty=^..^=cat
    "Competence is more than knowledge and skill -- it's how knowledge and skill are communicated through behaviors that are sensitive to the needs and expectations of the individual patient." --- Me.
    --------------------------------
    One of the best "customer service" facilities I've ever worked for used what seemed like a BATTALION of retired volunteers to do all kinds of the "nicey-nicey" things. Several different little old ladies would roll a magazine/flower delivery cart around to patient rooms throughout the day. It seemed to take the heat off nurses for things like TV channel changes, thermostat and lighting adjustments, telephone and water pitcher placement, etc. They all had their list of things to tell the nurse (pain, IV leaking, patient can't breathe...) and things to tell the CNA (needs to get up to pee, legs are in the siderail...) Our volunteers were frequently complimented by name in patient satisfaction survey comments and letters we got from former patients. They really seemed to make a big difference in keeping the patients happy.
    We have a similar thing going on for a couple of hours during the day shifts at my hospital, provided by the Red Cross. They're all volunteers, they don't get a dime for doing it but they all love the interaction so all we are free to get on with doing things which, to us are far more important, even if the patient may not agree. And because I'm not getting paged by the patients every 2 seconds to do flower arranging, toenail painting, application of makeup or providing cups of tea not only for the patient but every relative as well, I find it a lot easier to fulfill the customer service aspect of my job (ie smile and nod politely in all the appropriate places and mind my p's and q's). I only wish that they were on staff 6-10pm!
  13. by   catrn10
    I have to agree that customer service has become a major part of our many roles. I will also agree that is can be a pain most of the time. I have found that I walk around with a smile plastered on my face all shift. Not only does it mask my true feelings, it also serves to repress the gag reflex......

close