Thank You Notes to Patients?

  1. Hey y'all!

    Do any of you hand write thank you notes? If you do, what do you say? My facility sends pre-printed notes that all of us sign, but for the last month or so I've started sending a relatively generic hand-written note to all of my patients who are discharged home... I work on an oncology unit, so many of our families receive sympathy cards instead. With that said, what is or is not appropriate to say in a thank you note?

    Here's what I typically say in my thank you notes:

    "I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed being your nurse during your stay on 12 East. You were a great patient and I'm so happy you're feeling better.
    I hope you keep getting stronger every day!"

    Lots of times I personalize the note with something I've learned about the patient or their family... and if I truly did not enjoy being their nurse or if they were NOT a very good patient (rude/demanding) I leave those parts out or replace them with something different.

    What do you think?? I always use hospital stationary and never take patient info away from the hospital, so no HIPAA violations.
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  2. Poll: Do you write personal thank you notes to your patients?

    • Yes

      22.45% 22
    • No

      74.49% 73
    • Sometimes

      3.06% 3
    98 Votes
  3. 146 Comments

  4. by   MizzMo
    I'm not a nurse yet (start my program in September!!) but I think what you've said is great.

    I think keeping it general and pretty short is good. I wouldn't get TOO personal as I think it's important to maintain professionalism. But one sentence about something you learned is good like "I'm sure your new puppy will be glad to have you home" etc.

    I think sending a patient a thank you note is a very sweet idea.
  5. by   calivianya
    I think it's a sweet and cute idea, but I'm not going to lie, the first thing that crossed into my head was, "Ain't nobody got time for that."

    If you have time, that's great, but I can't imagine finding time to do that.
  6. by   BiohazardBetty
    I completely understand... being a new nurse, time management is certainly a weakness, but jotting down 3 sentences and a smiley face every 2-3 days hopefully won't make or break my day.
  7. by   HouTx
    What exactly are you thanking them for? Choice of hospital is based on physician preferences/admitting privileges. "Thank you for not using the call bell too much" "Thanks so much for not falling out of bed" "We really appreciated your ability to bathe yourself" The mind boggles.

    Is this another scheme to drive up HCAHP scores? Sounds like it. What's next? This may be 'nice', but I think it is ultimately confusing for patients and their families who already compare us to retail establishments. "Hey, at this price you girls should be topless .. he he he (actual comment from ICU patient's family member)
  8. by   RoyalPrince
    I concur; We as nurses should stand up AGAINST generalizing healthcare as just another branch of consumerism/retail - customer service is all the FAD right now, nurses just keep getting downgraded from professionals to HCAP improving front-line staff
  9. by   CodeteamB
    Now that is a new one. I work in a busy urban ER, so no... I have never and will never write a thank you note to a patient. I'm actually giggling at the thought. Every one of my patients gets a "the door is that way, hope you feel better!" speech, with varying levels of sincerity, but the only thing I have time to write is my discharge note.

    I once had a patient who had been transferred home to us from the states with a pillow to clutch when sitting up in order not to place undue strain on his chest incision. It had the name of the hospital and unit and had been signed by the nurses who took care of him (much in the way you might sign a cast). I thought that was a great idea, it was useful and kind of a "souvenir" for the patient... but a thank you note???

    Good for you though, if this is a heartfelt, spontaneous thing you do. If it is mandated by your employer for every patient (as I suspect) then someone needs their head checked.
  10. by   Tait
    Maybe my world is backwards...but I am used to get the thank yous from the patients o.0
  11. by   LadyFree28
    Quote from Tait
    Maybe my world is backwards...but I am used to get the thank yous from the patients o.0
    Me too.

    If I EVER have to write a "thank you note" for doing my job my way, I will look for another job or remain as an independent contractor...the "Take Care" out the door is my "Thank You"
    Not to be harsh, but the "service" I provide is not, to me, applicable to a "customer" model, and I rebel against that every chance it's presented to me.
  12. by   BiohazardBetty
    I love all the feedback... this is not required (or even encouraged) by my facility. I really feel like my Onc patients are different than other med/surg patients and they are (mostly) truly grateful for us as their nurses. I receive thank you notes from patients all the time and I want to sort of return the compliment. Not to mention we see a lot of these same patients 5-6 times a year and may stay for a month or more, so I want to build a fairly strong relationship with them.

    I don't want this to turn into a big customer service/patient satisfaction score thing... I really just wanted to know if other nurses write notes and to get some ideas of sweet things they may say.
  13. by   K+MgSO4
    Barf! No I don't do that. Cards are supposed to come from the pts to us!
  14. by   macawake
    Quote from helloberry
    I love all the feedback... this is not required (or even encouraged) by my facility. I really feel like my Onc patients are different than other med/surg patients and they are (mostly) truly grateful for us as their nurses. I receive thank you notes from patients all the time and I want to sort of return the compliment. Not to mention we see a lot of these same patients 5-6 times a year and may stay for a month or more, so I want to build a fairly strong relationship with them.

    I don't want this to turn into a big customer service/patient satisfaction score thing... I really just wanted to know if other nurses write notes and to get some ideas of sweet things they may say.
    Like most other posters I would not appreciate it if my employer tried to make me write a thank you note. But I see now, that that's not really the topic of this thread.

    OP, I think what you are doing for your patients is really nice! I'm convinced that they appreciate it and that the work you do and effort you put in the personal touch matters a great deal to them. I think that you are correct, oncology patients who see their nurse on a regular basis gain a lot of strength from their nurse's support and care.

    I'm sorry, I don't have any ideas of things to write. I think the things that you write now sound fine
  15. by   LadyFree28
    OP, is there another way to stay contact???

    If these are Onc patients who you see very frequently, maybe there is a way for nurses to outreach and make follow-up calls or something like that...I worked on a floor that did follow-up with certain Tele pts. It was assigned to two charge and two resource nurses.

    I rather reach out than send a card, if possible. See if you can create an outreach program, instead of the card, perhaps?

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