"Customer service" and nursing - page 3

I've seen a lot of people talk about 'customer service' in a disparaging manner, as if that is not what nursing is about and it's making their lives harder to provide it. Could someone explain... Read More

  1. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from LilPeanut
    psycho-social needs are part of patient care as well....

    I'm wondering how so many peds areas do it so well, while adult areas struggle.
    Our peds ares allows no more than 3 vistors at a time to the pt.

    They also have set enforced visitors hours.

    Nurse pt. ratio is smaller.

    Children (most) realize that a hospital is not a hotel.
  2. by   Tweety
    Quote from nursing 101
    My problem is that only nurses get written up for bad customer service issues... MD's can be rude as hell and most patients will just complain to us nurses... But when it comes to nurses they( patients) will go to the higher ups... Go figure!

    Dito what I said before. Being written up for customer service issues and having an environment of punitive care is not going to improve quality care. Unless it's a blatent violation.

    Identifying areas that need improvement and supportive staff to achieve those improvements through education, reward, reinforcement, etc. is what it's about. Not that I'm a big fan of "customer service". To me service isn't about getting a visitor a coke, or waiting on them. It's about the things that matter....do they feel nurses were responsive to their pain, was the nurse demonstrative of caring, etc. If we can't get these things right it's sad. I'll happily tell them where the coke machine, with enough kindness and diplomacy to avoid complaint. If they complain and I get written up, then I quit.

    It's kind of sad it has come to this. Almost as sad that the public thinks so little of us that organizations have to tell us what to say and how to act because we can't seem to do it on our own without complaint.
    Last edit by Tweety on Apr 9, '07
  3. by   Tweety
    I did say to our director in a meeting, when they were talking about customer service that they would not get it with the current ratios. I told them they couldn't have it both ways "you can't have good customer service scores with high nurse to patient ratios", if you want good customer service, give the means to get it done. I don't need another inservice on how to talk to people and treat them."

    The staff in the room practically gave me a standing ovation.
  4. by   TazziRN
    Quote from Tweety
    To me service isn't about getting a visitor a coke, or waiting on them. It's about the things that matter....do they feel nurses were responsive to their pain, was the nurse demonstrative of caring, etc. If we can't get these things right it's sad.
    Again, Tweety, that's not customer service, that is good pt care.

    Maybe you and I have the same definition, just different terms.
  5. by   VAC
    Quote from nursing 101
    My problem is that only nurses get written up for bad customer service issues... MD's can be rude as hell and most patients will just complain to us nurses... But when it comes to nurses they( patients) will go to the higher ups... Go figure!

    Where I'm at, the docs are not immune.....
  6. by   DusktilDawn
    Quote from LilPeanut
    To use your example - your manager told you that after the other pt. was stabilized, you should have gone back to the first pt. and explained what happened. Why is that an unreasonable expectation?

    I have worked in retail and as a waitress, perhaps that's why I have a different perspective? Or maybe it's because I've been a long-term pt. in a hospital and know what it is like to be that pt. who is totally dependent?

    I'm sure the L&D nurses who floated to my unit hated me. I looked perfectly healthy, I was just on bedrest. But if I wanted a ho-ho or cupcake out of my "goody box", I needed someone to get it for me. I wasn't supposed to be doing any sort of exertion. And I needed the goodies and sweets - I was chronically underweight for an unknown reason, and I was actually following the nutritionist's recommendations, but most float nurses wouldn't have that in-depth of an understanding into my case.

    I think too many people forget what it is like to be on the other side of the bed.
    Peanut, you work in NICU where you may be dealing with 1-2 family members, big difference working in an area with restricted visitation and one with open visitation.

    Simply explaining that you were dealing with a critical situation with another patient may work with some, however there are those that want more justification than that from the nurse and unless the nurse is willing to violate HIPAA, they cannot give a better explaination.

    BTW as a nurse, I wouldn't have been annoyed with you as a patient when you called for your "goody box," I would have offered to place it in a more accessible place FOR YOU.
    I've been written up before because a family member was upset that I didn't come back to warm up her husband's soup and he "couldn't enjoy his dinner." According to my then manager, I seemed to have an issue with communicating with patients and their families because I should have gone back to the room and explained why I didn't come back at the time I said I would. Sorry, but if I'm juggling a bunch of patients on a busy med surg floor with no PCA to help me, and one of my post-ops suddenly starts bleeding, I'm not going to leave that bleeding patient to go warm up a bowl of soup. The manager was well aware of the circumstances but she still wrote me up for it anyway.
    Perfect example of management using "customer service" to abuse the staff, and that is what this situation was. This nurse was basically punished for prioritizing his patient care in a responsible manner. The last thing that should have been on NurseguyFL's mind was "warming up soup" when he had a post-op patient bleeding, nor should he leave that patient during a crisis to report a delay in "soup warming" to another patient's family member. Even after stabilizing the patient, the priority would be to ensure that your other patients are stable before warming any soup. Bear in mind, this task can easily be delegated to non-nursing staff, and in this instance NurseguyFL had no one to delegate to. If his manager was there, why didn't SHE make herself useful and warm up the soup. OH WAIT, let me guess: IT'S NOT HER JOB.
  7. by   Batman24
    Quote from VAC
    Does anyone else think it's ridiculous to place such emphasis on customer satisfaction in a business when people are frequently faced with that which they do not want to hear??
    This is not Disney World or a Cruise ship. We can't 'make it all pretty' for them.

    As someone in pre-nursing I was wondering about this while reading the thread. Nurses are there to provide patient care. Sometimes that includes telling people things they don't want to hear. Irritable and hungry people might not want to hear that they can't eat or drink anything before tests come back. They don't like to be told to put on gowns, take off their undies, not to smoke in their rooms, wait for the doctor for a prescription, etc. The hospital isn't fun. It is there to get people better. We can help them in a kind and compassionate way, but it really isn't a treat having to be there. It seems silly to act like these people are going out to dinner or shopping in the mall. The goal is to get them better.
  8. by   LilPeanut
    Quote from DusktilDawn
    Peanut, you work in NICU where you may be dealing with 1-2 family members, big difference working in an area with restricted visitation and one with open visitation.
    This is amusing, but totally untrue. Yes, we have mom. baby-daddy mom's boyfriend. Mom's mom. Mom's dad. Mom's sisters and brothers. Baby's sisters and brothers. Auntie from out of state, cousin who just flew in, dad's step-dad and mom, dad's dad and girlfriend. Mom's friends. Parents and grandparents have open visitation, and everyone else visits from 8-8. Even just with parents and g-parents, that can get very crowded.

    Simply explaining that you were dealing with a critical situation with another patient may work with some, however there are those that want more justification than that from the nurse and unless the nurse is willing to violate HIPAA, they cannot give a better explaination.
    I've never had a pt or family complain when I've explained that there was an emergency with another pt.

    BTW as a nurse, I wouldn't have been annoyed with you as a patient when you called for your "goody box," I would have offered to place it in a more accessible place FOR YOU.
    The way the rooms were set up, there wasn't a good place for that to happen, plus my fridge was on the other side of the room. There's only so much you can have in arm's reach.

    Perfect example of management using "customer service" to abuse the staff, and that is what this situation was. This nurse was basically punished for prioritizing his patient care in a responsible manner. The last thing that should have been on NurseguyFL's mind was "warming up soup" when he had a post-op patient bleeding, nor should he leave that patient during a crisis to report a delay in "soup warming" to another patient's family member. Even after stabilizing the patient, the priority would be to ensure that your other patients are stable before warming any soup. Bear in mind, this task can easily be delegated to non-nursing staff, and in this instance NurseguyFL had no one to delegate to. If his manager was there, why didn't SHE make herself useful and warm up the soup. OH WAIT, let me guess: IT'S NOT HER JOB.
    The nurse doesn't have to warm up the soup, but taking three seconds to say there was an emergency goes a long way to making a person not feel neglected and abandoned.
  9. by   LilPeanut
    Also, customer service does not equal giving them everything they want. Even when I worked retail or other service related jobs, you couldn't give people everything they want. It's all about how you relate to them and making them feel like they are important to you. You may think they are important, but unless the behavior reflects it, the patient has no way of knowing that.
  10. by   Snickett
    I am a nursing student and a recent family member (my father died after a 3 week ICU hospitalization). I am very apalled at the responses I have read! It seems that most of the nurses here could care less about their patients or their families, but are more concerned with their own status and the "Cardiac in Bed 6." As a Nurse or Student Nurse, we have no way of knowing what the family is experiencing or how that radiates/transcends to the client/patient/customer. In NS 101 we were all taught to care for the "Whole Patient"- which includes the family/support mechanism in place.

    As an expert in Customer Service (22 yrs and an MBA), EVERY Business, including hospitals must recognize and cater to their customers- or lose them to competition- and most areas have competition even in Health Care.

    When we as Nurses, Doctors, Lawyers, Politicans, or even Students forget who signs our paycheck- The Customer/Client, then we are doomed as an Economy, Hospital, or Profession.
  11. by   Batman24
    Why don't the families of patients heat their own soup?! As they aren't the ones in need of 24 hour medical care they should address their own needs and let the medical staff attend to those truly in need...the patients. There needs to be some balance in place.
  12. by   TazziRN
    Quote from Snickett
    I am a nursing student and a recent family member (my father died after a 3 week ICU hospitalization). I am very apalled at the responses I have read! It seems that most of the nurses here could care less about their patients or their families, but are more concerned with their own status and the "Cardiac in Bed 6." As a Nurse or Student Nurse, we have no way of knowing what the family is experiencing or how that radiates/transcends to the client/patient/customer. In NS 101 we were all taught to care for the "Whole Patient"- which includes the family/support mechanism in place.

    As an expert in Customer Service (22 yrs and an MBA), EVERY Business, including hospitals must recognize and cater to their customers- or lose them to competition- and most areas have competition even in Health Care.

    When we as Nurses, Doctors, Lawyers, Politicans, or even Students forget who signs our paycheck- The Customer/Client, then we are doomed as an Economy, Hospital, or Profession.
    I'm sorry this angers you, but yes, I am more concerned with the Cardiac in Bed 6. My priority is te multiple drips he's on, as well as the need for frequent pushes for pain, and having to read the frequent arrhythmias that keep making the monitor alarm. I have to constantly reassure his freaked-out family that yes, he's very sick but at this moment he is in no immediate danger of dying. I am also concerned with the CVA in Bed 3 who is dying, and her family. They are about to lose it and I have to provide moral support. So excuse me if I am just a little too busy to go into Bed 5 and warm up the soup, and please forgive me if I am so tired and stressed out that I forget to go in there later and say "I'm sorry I didn't warm up your soup for you but I had two emergencies going on."
  13. by   DusktilDawn
    Quote from LilPeanut
    This is amusing, but totally untrue. Yes, we have mom. baby-daddy mom's boyfriend. Mom's mom. Mom's dad. Mom's sisters and brothers. Baby's sisters and brothers. Auntie from out of state, cousin who just flew in, dad's step-dad and mom, dad's dad and girlfriend. Mom's friends. Parents and grandparents have open visitation, and everyone else visits from 8-8. Even just with parents and g-parents, that can get very crowded.
    Well I stand corrected. No limitations on how many visitors at a given time that are actually enforceable? Somehow I still think the working conditions in regards to visitors/families in your NICU are quite different from a M/S floor.
    I've never had a pt or family complain when I've explained that there was an emergency with another pt.
    Because you've never had it happen to you doesn't mean it never happens. I'm not in disagreement regarding communication nor it's importance towards our patients and their families, nor how having good communication skills can prevent alot of misunderstandings/incidents that involve our patients/families. However, in the name of "customer service" we are being admonished for "looking busy" at our place and for not basically lying to our patients by telling them "I have the time." I think we do our patients and their families a big disservice by communicating to them the impression that they are the only patient a nurse have. I would rather have a patient or family member KNOW they had to wait to have their soup warmed because I have a full patient load and have to prioritize first, than to basically have them believe they had to wait because I'm lazy and uncaring thanks to TPTB and their nonsense.
    The way the rooms were set up, there wasn't a good place for that to happen, plus my fridge was on the other side of the room. There's only so much you can have in arm's reach.
    Absolutely no room for another table, absolutely impossible to find a convenient place?
    The nurse doesn't have to warm up the soup, but taking three seconds to say there was an emergency goes a long way to making a person not feel neglected and abandoned.
    In the middle of a crisis with another patient? We're talking about warming up soup, not neglect nor abandoment, not even in the same ballpark. The manager writting the nurse up about this IS HARASSMENT towards that nurse. I guess if he had taken 3 seconds to talk to the family member they could have also c/o how rude and abrupt he was. The appropriate thing was to take care of that post-op patient and once stabilized ensure the safety of your other patients, than go and discuss soup warming with the family member.

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