Please tell me how this is right?!?! - page 4

I work for a large univeristy hospital that also has several branches throughout the metroplex. There has been a huge push for patient satisfaction over the past 9 months. Scores are based on surveys... Read More

  1. by   Tweety
    Deb, trust me after a 12-hour shift with the dreadful ratios I have, and being abused by patients and visitors, don't come at me with customer service because you're likely to get a piece of my "attitude".

    I definately can see in myself on burned out days that the smile and customer service wanes a bit with the incredible stress I'm under. So I know what you're saying. If management would kindly address these issues maybe they wouldn't have to be teaching people to be professional.

    Still, it's my own personal work ethic not to be so burned out that it shows up in a bad attitude given to the patients. If taking a deep breath and saying "I have the time....." suggests caring and wellbeing and reduces future call light use, then I'm for it, because ultimately we all benefit.

    Sometimes I get weary of the "what have they done for me lately" attitude of some people making $30.00/hr and not expecting to deliver a certain professionalism.
    Last edit by Tweety on Nov 25, '05
  2. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Not everyone who is an RN of equal education/training and experience gets 30.00 an hour, Tweety, for the same work. That is part of our problem, too---but I digress; that is another thread.
  3. by   LeahJet
    Quote from Tweety
    If management would kindly address these issues maybe they wouldn't have to be teaching people to be professional.
    Nail.....head....he hit it.....
  4. by   Tweety
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    Not everyone who is an RN of equal education/training and experience gets 30.00 an hour, Tweety, for the same work. That is part of our problem, too---but I digress; that is another thread.

    True. But we're not making minimum wage serving burgers at McD's (where they wouldn't put up with some of the attitudes nurses pass out) either. For a paycheck and benefits of any amount an employer can expect a certain amount of professionalism and service from people who are hired to care for the public. You gotta have people skills to be a nurse. It comes with the territory.
    Last edit by Tweety on Nov 26, '05
  5. by   Tweety
    Quote from LeahJet
    Nail.....head....he hit it.....

    Thanks. That was a "BINGO" moment, but gotta give Deb and the others credit for that one.
  6. by   bloviate
    Quote from nursemaa
    Oh and by the way, these methods come from Quint Studer, who is the guru of service excellence for hospitals. He doesn't recommend customer service at the expense of employee satisfaction, in fact he recommends making sure there is good equipment for doing their job, making sure to recognize and thank staff who have provided excellent care, and rounding often on staff to support and assess their satisfaction, and to solicit their ideas for improving the workplace. He is very supportive of meeting staff needs so that they can meet their patient's needs. But he does say that people who are still harsh and uncaring with patients may have to go....

    This stuff looks good on paper but down in the trenches it stinks. In the hands of a dysfunctional management team this is a nightmare. Lord knows there are enough of them out there.

    IMHO most of the complaints that are generated from this are ancillary services not meeting expectations. Has very little to do with nursing unless some dysfunctional manager is focusing entirely on nurses and "servicing" them with a blizzard of paper instead of getting to root causes of problems in the facility.

    So, maybe management can lay off nurses for once and start hiring ancillary services if they want that Ritz Carlton type experience for their clients. Better yet, when we're short staffed how about management climbing out of bed in the middle of the night and coming in to put bodies on the floor. It's actual hands that get the work done. That's what earns money for the shareholders.

    Honestly, how often does this scenario play out.

    I appreciate you only calling off twice in the last year. You've volunteered to cover short shifts. You've taken heavier loads of patients when we're short. So, here's you're two percent raise. Now lets talk about how to give a good customer service attitude to those very important clients.

    I don't want to call this whole customer service thing hypocrisy because I think hypocrisy is deliberate. I'd have to say this is more along the lines of denial and delusion.
  7. by   bloviate
    [quote=daytoniteby the way, the timing for introducing this program was not done randomly. it is the holidays and people are less likely to up and make a drastic change in their employment during this time of the year. this was factored into the overall plan that was developed. employees are more likely to accept something like this being shoved down their throats when they are facing holiday expenses. the hospital has been told that right off the bat they may lose a fair number of employees, so starting the program around this time of the year limits those numbers a bit. these consultants who develop these programs are very, very smart.[/quote]

    this is amway all the way.

    thanks for sharing.
  8. by   Daytonite
    Having seen what this kind of program did I am concerned for the OP. I understand that the Studor concept behind it is a wonderful one, however, when a consulting team comes in to put a program like this together they also work in all the ways to plug holes and tweak it to fit what the top brass is really trying to accomplish as a final line. The way the OP wrote how the program was presented to them makes me feel, based on the experiences that I had, that administration has probably already determined the criteria for keeping or letting people go.

    I just wanted to also add that one of my very good nurse friends worked at a hospital that was very proud and flaunted that fact that it operated in the black. I was a patient several times in that hospital and I must say that whatever department I came into contact with, the employees were very nice and gave you the impression that they were willing to do anything to make you comfortable. I never, ever heard or had contact with anyone who was curt with me or didn't smile. I used to think it was odd at the time because every employee seemed to upbeat and happy. Part of the reason, I am sure, is because they were paid very well and got bonuses four times a year based on the profit the hospital made. That aside, my friend told me, when I asked her the other day, that they were indeed all put through a customer relations program, were expected to participate in solving problems through unit and department staff meetings and that any nurse who exhibited resistance or openly trashed the way the place was run just kind of disappeared. :uhoh21:
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from Tweety
    True. But we're not making minimum wage serving burgers at McD's (where they wouldn't put up with some of the attitudes nurses pass out) either. For a paycheck and benefits of any amount an employer can expect a certain amount of professionalism and service from people who are hired to care for the public. You gotta have people skills to be a nurse. It comes with the territory.
    And even if we were--- I made 12.00 an hour in OK as a new nurse in 1997. (no not 1980, lol) And I was very customer-oriented and bent over backward to take care of my patients like family members. Talk about low pay----but I was HAPPY and WELL TREATED, so it showed.

    And, speaking of fast food. WHY should a service oriented place like Burger King or McD's have such CRAPPY service???? I can't stand to go these places anymore. Same with Kmart; you have to BEG for help there. No people skills whatsoever, even though they are there to serve the public....

    Versus a place like Safeway, where people trip over themselves to help you and wish you a good day and will reach for items I can't just to help---before I even ask????? THEY have people skills, even the youngest employees who can't be over 18 or 19.

    So many places that are ALL about CUSTOMER SERVICE have employees that either are surly or get my orders all wrong and dont' care. So, you are saying making min. wages means it is somehow more justified to render crappy service? I don't bite. I made min. wage as a food worker years back and always was customer-oriented and kind. It's not about money tweety...it is about being treated well. My managers were gems and I was happy, making my lousy min wage then......

    Here is another example: My sister walked away from a BIG BUCKS upper management job in an electronics firm in Chicago---she was making obscene amts of money, of which I used to be jealous-------but was treated horribly by her boss over her and the company, and not appreciated at all. She used to go home after 10-12 hours' work in tears and too stressed out to even eat dinner or enjoy her baby. It, in turn, began to show in her work, and her customers. ,clients, and subordinates noticed she was different. She knew then and there, it was time to quit, big bucks or not. She took another job, making 1/2 the pay and is overjoyed and renewed. She says finances are tight, but it was totally worth it.

    There is more to life than what we make, Tweety. If it were all about money, I could move on and make a lot more myself in an agency or travel----but I choose to stay where I am cause I am happy. Yes, there are problems where I work, but overall, I feel appreciated and wanted by my unit manager and coworkers and that is worth a lot to me. I treat my patients as if they were family members or friends.....and there is no Studor program or Magnet Status for us. That is what I am trying to say here.

    I think for the most part, you and I agree on most levels, Tweety. Customer service IS part of our jobs----I just do not think Studor or Magnet is necessarily the answer here.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Nov 26, '05
  10. by   BabyRN2Be
    for this post i'm going to come from the customer end of it. if someone from management is reading this, i would like to shed a little light on the subject.

    here's the big one:
    stop calling me with (what i think are) those press-ganey surveys!!!!

    i have a doc which i need to see quite often at the moment. after every blessed appointment, a few days later i get a call from a phone survey about the service at the clinic! let me tell you this, it's pretty darn annoying to drop everything that i'm doing to complete your wonderful survey. yes, i know it's all about customer satisfaction and you want to improve ratings. but your rating system is dragging you down because: here's a clue: it's annoying. especially since i get a call about every week. and you know what? the service doesn't change.

    here's another clue:
    if there's a problem, i will tell you about it. but for now, if you don't hear from me, assume everything is going a-ok from my viewpoint. does this help or is it too much for you to assume that since you don't have a verbal pat on the back from me that i'm not entirely pleased with your service?

    for now, i've requested that all surveys to my home phone be stopped. i use it for business, too, and i may miss a client if i spend too much time on the phone with anyone. yes, they can always call my cell but pay-as-you-go plans aren't exactly cheap either.

    anyhow, this is getting way too long. but can someone from management understand my side of it?

    btw, thanks for letting me vent. this has bothered me for a long time and it's great to get off my chest.
  11. by   Tweety
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    So, you are saying making min. wages means it is somehow more justified to render crappy service? I don't bite. ..........


    No. You missed the point entirely. I didn't communicate it well. I meant to say I expect anyone making any kind of money to provide customer service, even at McD's. If management at McDs doesn't put up with crappy service from their employees why should nursing? But I would think college educated people, making above minimum wage, working with the public wouldn't have to resort to all this extra training and threats of being fired, etc.

    My point in bringing up the money, is that we are getting paid to do certain things, within a job description. I wonder sometimes how some people pick up a paycheck and say "gimme gimme gimme more" and are battleaxe nurses.

    I am not going to stop holding the employer accountable for certain things on their end. A paycheck is not enough to keep me there. If I'm to give the best I can be, I need more than a paycheck.

    I hated my minimum wage job with a passion and hated my manager and was practically worked to death. But I knew it was part of the job not to take out that stuff on the customers and to provide friendly service with a smile. Sure it would have been easier and more natural had I liked the job and was treated better.

    I don't know enough about those programs to make a judgement, as I said way back at the beginning of this thread I'm on the fence. I'm not sure how to address the "customers" who return surveys "the nurses were uncaring". The quality training in orientation doesn't seem to be working.
    Last edit by Tweety on Nov 26, '05
  12. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from daytonite
    secondly, patient satisfaction (or customer satisfaction) while sounding disdainful to a lot of nursing staff is a very real world answer to increasing the number of patients coming to a facility for their health care needs. the retail industry, in particular, has long been aware that offering courteous, friendly customer service increases their sales. healthcare has become a retail item, believe it or not. in some markets (cities) people have a choice of facilities they can be patients in. your hospital has decided they want that business. one of the things they are focusing on that directly affects you nurses is customer satisfaction. there are a number of companies that do customer satisfaction studies for healthcare facilities. i can't think of the names of them, but these surveys can be accessed through your state chapter of the american hospital association. consumers in the know actually look at these reports to chose hospitals they are going to go to! we looked at them when we were looking for a cancer center for my mother's treatment.

    third, the thing i know something about is that disciplinary action is probably being built into this program your hospital is undertaking. you may not have been told that, but i smell it. that fact that they had you all sign a form that you were committed to it gives personnel proof that you understood and were made aware that "high performance" was going to be expected. don't be surprised if you are all introduced to some sort of evaluation tool (form) that assesses your level of "performance". you will probably be told about that in your individual meetings with your supervisor. as you said, "the low performers will be given a choice to basically shape up or ship out." i'm going to suggest to you (because i saw this done in one facility i worked) that customers and employees are going to be able to report those who have bad attitudes, promote gossip and chaos, backstab, are snotty and nasty, deliberately sabotage the work of others, refuse to be part of the team effort, etc. your hospital is going to get rid of these employees. first, they are going to give them the opportunity to shape up. this, then, gives the hospital complete legitimacy to fire them it they do not follow these additional performance standards.

    we can laugh, sneer and poke all the fun over this we want, but most hospitals that do this are looking to get rid of their lousy, bad attituded employees despite whatever level of training and expertise they have.
    we nurses shouldn't think just because we are in the field to help save lives that means we can stomp our feet and stick our noses in the air and we shouldn't care if our patients are satisfied with our method of providing care. it's very true that we are not a maid service or running a holiday inn but i know if i'm a patient i do want to be treated with respect and no, it doesn't hurt to be catered to a little when you are sick. we are dealing with people who are at their worst and who can be touchy and demanding. but (within reason) we do need to see that the patients are satisfied. having been a patient myself about 2 yrs. ago, i have to say i was disapointed with the service (yes, it *is* a service). i'm generally one of the types who doesn't care about being stuck at the end of the hall and forgotten about, but when i stayed overnight in the hospital (i had nasal surgery) i remember calling for help because i was throwing up. i talked to someone over the speaker and they said "okay." no one ever came. sure, i got over it, but it would have been all the same if i had choked to death on my own vomit. i have not yet worked in a hospital, and i do realize patient to staff ratios can be very strained and the work is hard, but from a patient's perspective it seem as though no one cared enough about their job to even come see about me when i called for help.
    i did get a survey to fill out but i never sent it in. i can't say i think these are a terribly bad idea, though. in all fields you will have people with bad attitudes and a sense of entitlement that bring everyone else down. better to weed these types out, i say.
  13. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from LPNtoRN
    We nurses shouldn't think just because we are in the field to help save lives that means we can stomp our feet and stick our noses in the air and we shouldn't care if our patients are satisfied with our method of providing care. It's very true that we are not a maid service or running a Holiday Inn but I know if I'm a patient I do want to be treated with respect and no, it doesn't hurt to be catered to a little when you are sick. We are dealing with people who are at their worst and who can be touchy and demanding. But (within reason) we do need to see that the patients are satisfied. Having been a patient myself about 2 yrs. ago, I have to say I was disapointed with the service (yes, it *is* a service). I'm generally one of the types who doesn't care about being stuck at the end of the hall and forgotten about, but when I stayed overnight in the hospital (I had nasal surgery) I remember calling for help because I was throwing up. I talked to someone over the speaker and they said "okay." No one ever came. Sure, I got over it, but it would have been all the same if I had choked to death on my own vomit. I have not yet worked in a hospital, and I do realize patient to staff ratios can be very strained and the work is hard, but from a patient's perspective it seem as though no one cared enough about their job to even come see about me when I called for help.
    I did get a survey to fill out but I never sent it in. I can't say I think these are a terribly bad idea, though. In all fields you will have people with bad attitudes and a sense of entitlement that bring everyone else down. Better to weed these types out, I say.
    To me, though, not getting a response to a report that you are vomiting isn't poor customer service, it is poor quality of care, which is completely different. It isn't that I don't believe nurses should treat their patients with respect and empathy; it is that I believe those characteristics are integral to patient care, as opposed to customer service. When I hear the term customer service, I think of things like, when you didn't get what you ordered for dinner, did that the nurse take care of it for you? Ideally, she would, yes. OTOH, if she was responding to a call from a patient who was vomiting after nasal surgery and you had given up and just eaten the pork in the meantime, then I don't think it is fair to penalize her with a low satisfaction score.

close