Patient Satisfaction

  1. I work in a small rural hospital. Although we get generally good ratings from patients and families regarding their care, we feel that we can do even better. I would like to know what some of you and your facilities are doing to increase patient satifaction. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   JennieBSN
    Uh, I hope you sensed the irritation in wild's post, 'cause it sure rang true for me. This whole 'customer satisfaction' crap has gotten WAAAAAAAAAAAY out of line. You want to increase PATIENT (they are NOT customers, honey, a hospital ISN'T mcdonald's, contrary to popular belief) satisfaction? MAKE YOUR NURSES HAPPY.

    MAKE YOUR NURSES HAPPY...have adequate staffing. And by adequate, I don't mean some corporate consultant moron's definition if adequate, I mean the NURSES' definition of adequate. Go to the floors, and ASK your nurses if an 8-12 pt. load per nurse is what they would consider ADEQUATE staffing levels, like the stupid consultants recommend. I bet you'll get a totally different story.

    MAKE YOUR NURSES HAPPY...give them more than 1-2% pay raises once a YEAR. Pay them what they're worth!! They put their lives on the line every day, work themselves ragged, and yet constantly hear management breathing down their neck to give MORE, MORE, MORE. Nurses are not VALUED by administration. Paying them what they're worth speaks volumes in how nurses feel they are perceived by management. If nurses are paid peanuts, the message comes across loud and clear that administration doesn't give a d*** about nurses.

    MAKE YOUR NURSES HAPPY...support them. Listen to them. Don't just give lip service when they complain about something that needs to be changed. Don't just blow sunshine up their a**es and tell them you're 'reviewing the situation' and will be 'addressing the problem.' DO SOMETHING. If they tell you something is wrong and needs to be changed, for God's sake, LISTEN AND ACT.

    MAKE YOUR NURSES HAPPY...have enough staff so that they are not constantly called on their days off to come in and cover short staffing. Have enough staff so they are not asked to stay over when they have just worked 13 hours. Have enough staff to eliminate mandatory overtime.

    You want better PATIENT satisfaction? Make your nurses happy. A happy nurse gives good care, and that's what makes a patient satisfied. Having the nurses act like waitresses and maids isn't going to make it any better, trust me. It will only make you lose nurses, and your PATIENT satisfaction will go waaaaaaaaaaaaay down.

    You want better PATIENT satisfaction? Stop calling them 'customers' and telling the staff to treat them as if they are 'customers.' Show some respect for your STAFF. Let them do the job they were hired to do without forcing them to tiptoe around patients and their families to increase 'satisfaction.' 'Customers' go to McDonald's or the mall. 'PATIENTS' go to the hospital.

    Reality check, willie...if you want happier patients, you'd better make your nurses happy FIRST.
  4. by   Janet Barclay
    Snakes in the ER? Wildtime? Where in the h do you work?
    :0) lol
  5. by   CC NRSE
    Sorry Wiilie but I am sick of patient satisfaction surveys and/or suggestions. Wildtime, just as you described, I work at one of those hospitals who cater to the patient/family. Our ER also provides juice, snacks, ect... to patients and familys. We even went as far as providing rooms for the families of the patients in Critical Care to spend the night. (that was prior to our census going up.) As someone before mentioned, the problem begins when you don't have enough ancillary staff to provide these services (which we don't) added to the already heavy load of the nurses (3 pt sometimes in critical care, 8 - 10 on the floor and 5-6 in the ER) the responsibility falls on the nurses. Frequently the families start demanding the service and complain if they don't get it. Then patient care suffers. Nurses get mad, burned out and leave.
    I think Kday had the right idea. I've said many times, a happy staff means happy customers. if your staff is happy, most the time, they will do the best job they can. Also communication, listen to your staff. Don't always assume they are wrong and the customer is right.

    Willie, I guess I don't have the right answer for you, but I do know what not to do.
    I know I may sound a little sour But customer satisfaction has been shoved down our throats for the last 9 months. We have had a big turn over d/t unhappy employees (some getting fired) in regaurds to customer satisfaction. Our administration is just now asking what they can do to make it better for us. I feel this is only d/t staffing. At one time we were using agency, we can't even get them now.
  6. by   night owl
    You have to what??? Provide snacks to the families??? I'm so glad that I work in LTC and not in the hospital because the day I have to offer families "snacks" is the day I'd resign! What the hell ever happened to the good ole vending machine or the coffee shop? Are they obsolete these days? I'm not a damn waitress, I'm a nurse, hired to take care of the sick and injured. You have a question, I'll try to answer it the best that I know how. You need consoling, I'll do that too, but to provide snacks??? If the hospitals can provide snacks, why can't they provide more staff? Your question is, What are some of you and your facilities doing to increase PATIENT satisfaction? Well, How about increasing the staff so that they may spend more time with the patient and go that extra mile and say give a basic back rub? When was the last time any of you had enough time to do that? Or even to be able to just sit and talk to the patient? It's crazy out there in the hospital setting to begin with. This stuff about providing snacks and if I don't I'll be "Let go" is just plain NUTS!!! The door would have to hit me in the a$$ on the way out and the harder, the better because I'll fly farther away from those kind of places. Kday I agree, customers go to McDonald's and PATIENTS go to the hospital. Their families go to the coffee shop or the vending machine and that's the way it would be for me if I worked in the hospital!!! I guess I would be fired the first hour on duty. Oh well...
  7. by   nurs4kids
    I too work at one of those hospitals Wildtime describes. Yes, a non-profit Hilton. Most patients are medicaid, and most parents come in here more concerned with their needs than those of the child. I "fetch" drinks for parents and visitors, we provide pillows and blankets for all. Free cable TV and a vcr (if it wasn't stolen by the previous family). Free local phone calls. I apologize for the two sleeper chairs, I know they aren't quite like home. If you live 50+ miles from the hospital, we'll provide both parents three meals/day. If you can't get a ride home, we'll pay a bus or cab for you. Oh, you forgot your child's carseat? No problem, we'll give you a very nice one for $20, that is unless you can't afford $20 in which case we'll give it to you at no cost. Sure, you may bring all your children here to visit and allow/encourage them to raid our pantry of all the patients snacks. You need some extra formula and diapers to take home?? No problem, I'll even carry them to the car for you. We've done all this for you, yet you're not happy with your "stay"? I don't blame you for taking home our linens, you got nothing else for your money. I sincerely apologize, for what you're paying (zilch) you would expect better accomodations.

    hmmmmmmm, i feel better now that i've vented..lol

    In case you didn't get the gest of kday's post: MAKE NURSES HAPPY, AND PATIENTS WILL BE HAPPIER
  8. by   Jenny P
    Thank you, Kday, for telling it like it is. I also believe that if the nurses are happy, the patients will be happy.

    I would love to be able to spend the time to give that extra little time to comfort the patient and calm the family. Serving snacks to families and waiting on them routinely? No way. I have been known to give family members coffee or juice and some TLC IF they are in need of a shoulder to lean on when their family member is deathly ill. I find my patients do better if their family members are calm and believe that the nurses are competent. I don't think its necessary to wait on family; I just tell the family members that their loved one is my primary concern.

    And I refuse to use the words "customer" or "client" in place of "patient". My dictionary defines "patient" as someone who is receiving treatment by a doctor, dentist, or other medical personnel. That sure sounds like the people I care for.
  9. by   night owl
    I certainly got the gest of Kday's post! If the nurse is not happy, then you won't make the patient happy therefore I ask you...Why on earth do you stay in a place like that one Nurs4kids? You'll never be happy because you're too busy keeping the family members "happy," more like kissing their a$$e$ if you ask me. No way did I go to school to do that!!! You mean to tell me that you actually carry stuff out to their cars? Why don't you just be a "volunteer???" Do they have any more volunteers? I haven't been anywhere near a hospital in a long time. We still have them in LTC on days. Let them do those things. I'd be too agravated doing the "bellhop" thing and when the pt asked for something I'd be too tired to do the job I went to school and studied my butt off for. No wonder you're not happy. And who's fault is that? Anyone who does that kind of bull---- trying to be a good nurse. I'm not angry at you Nurse4kids, I just get by blood pressure boiling when I hear these stories about nursing so don't take my message the wrong way. Please? But you'll never be happy if you keep it up and the patient care will suffer. The CEOs would have to kiss my butt instead of me kissing theirs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  10. by   nurs4kids
    Night Owl,
    I was being just a bit sarcastic..not much, just a bit. I am sickened by how the HOSPITAL caters to theses societal leeches. For the most part, most of this stuff is done by ancillary personnel. Yes, I'll happily carry something to a car as I walk a d/c out. Sometimes it's easier to walk them out quickly as opposed to waiting on the Transporter to come; esp if it's an impatient family. Why stay there? It's the only pediatric facility in a three state area, and I prefer pediatrics. The nurse patient ration is, at worst, 5:1 so we do have time to do some "guest relations". Lastly, when we become aggravated by some of this stuff, we jokingly sing to oneanother, "We believe the children are our future..."
    So, to answer..I stay because I love the kids, the hospital is no worse to nurses than other hospitals in the area (it's a give and take). My point was to show that this "guest relations" thing can get a bit out of hand, as it has at our hospital. Also, at the 12th hour of my three day stretch, I was probably venting a bit.
  11. by   Zee_RN
    .....everything Kday said....ditto

    Well said, Kday, well said.
  12. by   HotSpam
    I've been out of the hospital for a little while and I am sure that some of you here will think I am out of touch but,

    I know a lot of hospital systems just spent big bucks to attend/participate in an Anderson Consulting workshop in Orlando that was solely focused on satisfaction. In part they used Disney as a model.

    Now these guys aren't stupid. They know you can't really compare Disney to Hospitals. We also know these workshops are lavish and fun and allowable if they are incorperated into the quality assurance the hospital is working on. If they take some ideas from the workshops and apply them in the hospital environment it not only validates the workshop but goes toward satisfying state and jcaho requirements for QA, CQI, or whatever flavor of improvement they have going.

    Realistically, they also know patient satisfaction doesn't effect the bottom line much - after all they are a somewhat captive audience. There is another BIG reason to find ways to improve satisfaction though. See if you follow this.

    Any idiot knows the fastest, most surefire way to make patients happier is to increase the staff. Adding 1/4 more nurses and 1/4 more ancillary staff would almost do it. All patients and their families want ios good prompt medical attention. Without adequate nurses it isn't going to happen. Nobody really gives a crap about the little cartons of juice a nurse can grab 'em.

    So why do the admins spend time and money finding 'creative' solutions to satisfaction woes? Because they are not willing to consider hiring more staff. Let's face it, the shortage 10 years ago got them used to understaffing and we all got used to it. When plenty of nurses were available they stuck to the short staffing models.

    I am convinced half the talk about the nursing shortage is nonsense. If a hospital staffed with great ratios for nurse and patient satisfaction they would have NO problem getting all the nurses they need.

    That's all I got to say about that...

    HotSpam

    [This message has been edited by HotSpam (edited April 28, 2001).]
  13. by   Jason-ACNP
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by willie2001:
    [B]
    Although we get generally good ratings from patients and families regarding their care, we feel that we can do even better. I would like to know what some of you and your facilities are doing to increase patient satifaction.

  14. by   Jason-ACNP
    [quote]Originally posted by Jason-ACNP:
    Yet once again...a classic example of the internal breakdown affecting health care. Why don't you focus on getting "good ratings" from your nurses? Maybe your hospital is one of the few hospitals that haven't been affected by the shortage of nurses.

    Here is an idea for you though. You can do the same thing the hopsital I used to work for did to help our nurses provide the best care. You can send your public relations person (or the closet person you have in your rural hospital) to Disney World to learn how to give "exceptional" customer service. What's the cost you ask? It's a hell of a deal. Only $65,000 for a three day seminar. Where did they get the money you ask? Well, I think they took the money that they had budgeted for the salaries of the 107 nursing slots that had not been filled for months. Amazingly, they were even to save even more money on salaries when even more nurses walked out as a result of their "kiss-ass" mentality.

    If however you aren't able to afford the $60,000 price tag, here are a few suggestions that I've heard "customers' demand of nurses within recent weeks.

    a.) Be sure to get them a magazine sitting five feet from their bed whenever they don't care to move a muscle. It's just that added touch to show you care.

    b.) Respond to every call-light within two minutes. Many times the men have an itch on their balls that requires "immediate attention". (The itch just seems to "respond" better to a nurse's touch (female of course).

    c.) As one nurse posted several days ago, if your hospital allows small dogs during visiting times, have a paper towel or cloth ready at all times to clean up the pet's deposit.
    I could go on, but these may be good implementations to start with.

    Best of luck with your mission.


    [b]
    Originally posted by willie2001:

    Although we get generally good ratings from patients and families regarding their care, we feel that we can do even better. I would like to know what some of you and your facilities are doing to increase patient satifaction.


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