Top 10 List of Patient Survey Ideas

by jadelpn Guide

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Can we change a culture on an achilles heel? Can we change patient perception if nurses are not "bought in" to the idea of "customer" care? Can we make some culture changes to reflect a more individualized approach to nursing care while still maintaining a positive patient oriented enviroment? Can we do all this whilst including families, and information and sharing time sensitive information? The following just scratches the surface of some patient satisfaction thoughts.

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    Top 10 List of Patient Survey Ideas

    The short version of what a patient satisfaction survey is can be described as a way for a facility to track how we are doing with the "customer service" aspect of our jobs. One of the key points of customer service is that it can and does reflect the overall culture of a unit. It could be tied to re-imbursements. Usually patient satisfaction companies have a three prong approach--Listen/Learn/Lead. We listen to the patient's goal, we learn from the survey to make the patient experience better, and we lead by targeting improvement plans.

    As nurses, we are not always in tune with a customer care concept. Clinically focused nurses do have a role in the perception of care. Yes, it is just one more "thing". Yes, to target an improvement plan that has scripting is not always a favorite thing. However, if all of us buy into the fact that surveys are real, they are here to stay at least at present, and could be an integral part of nurses getting paid--if we can change the culture, is it not feasible to think that we can all communicate in a way that is customer satisfaction based?

    The following is a list of some ideas on culture change. There are a few broad subjects common on most surveys, and a top 10 brainstorm of ideas to get the creative juices flowing, in attempting to avoid having to have communication scripted, being "spoken to" about lack of "customer satisfaction" and how to at least start the conversation to the betterment of the unit culture.

    Right, wrong or indifferent, these ARE questions that your patients are being asked to answer. The answers can be tied to reimbursement. New nurses can be asked to follow scripted material and not stray. More experienced nurses, this will make your brain hurt. This is made for coming to a happy medium we can all live with.

    STAFF CARED ABOUT YOU AS A PERSON:

    Yes, this is a question.
    1. The most simple way of conveying respect and caring is to use the patient's name. To introduce yourself. Use eye contact.

    2. Make sure that you are not giving off the suggestion that the patient doesn't have the "right" to be where they are. If the chief complaint is important to THEM, then it should be acknowledged that the patient did the right thing in coming to have the issue looked at, no matter how "unimportant" we believe the issue to be.

    3. Patients want validation that they "did the right thing" in coming to a facility. Whether we personally believe that to be true or not is of no matter. We need to support the idea that it is "ok" that someone has come, that someone deserves to be seen and treated.

    ADEQUACY OF INFORMATION TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS

    4. Know your policy, and how to diplomatically explain the same.

    5. Be mindful that most intentions are good ones, and that the patient has control of who knows what when. Whenever possible, the patient should have the right to explain things (or not) to their families.

    6. If the expectation is that you need to give out information, use your resources. Whether that be the charge nurse or the MD. Be mindful of the information, and if you want to be at that level of information giving.

    7. It is always important that patient's feel as if they are in control of their own health care information.

    8. Be 100% sure of your policies and and procedures, know your resources as to not get caught up in saying more or less than you should.

    INFORMED ABOUT DELAYS

    9. There are many things that can be considered emergent with a patient. Feeling out of control is tough even with a well person. A patient who is not well is stressed. Waiting seems like an eternity. To keep a patient well informed of what is happening when can help to alleviate some anxiety.

    10. Most patients just want to be assured that they have not been "forgotten". Or that what they believe to be a really important result is being communicated in a timely fashion. Even to let a patient know that the doctor will be in and when to discuss is important. As well as discussing the plan of care with the patient on assessment.

    Customer/Patient Satisfaction Surveys are, for now, an important thing to facilities. To intergrate some key points into practice may be a good way to ease our way in to a changing culture in a positive way. Bottom line, love them or hate them surveys about patient experience is a reality that we all have to deal with in our practice.
    Last edit by Joe V on Oct 5, '13
    pinkiepieRN, NRSKarenRN, and Joe V like this.
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    jadelpn joined Nov '08 - from 'Massachusetts'. Age: 48 jadelpn has '25' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'ER, Med Surg'. Posts: 3,057 Likes: 6,115; Learn more about jadelpn by visiting their allnursesPage


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    10 Comments so far...

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    And when we finally arrive at a single payer system will any of this really matter? All of this is predicated on the belief that the patient has a choice when in reality the patient has little choice. What I see is patients having less and less choice, whether from the decisions of an insurance company or a government bureaucrat.
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    With all due respect, a patient has a choice on which hospital they choose to go to. They can (and do) request that people "not care for them" (happens all the time). Most patients are active participants in their own care, they can refuse treatments.

    Other than that, is there a reason that as a nurse you would not want to act appropriately?
    pinkiepieRN likes this.
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    There's a difference between acting "appropriately" and the blatant butt-kissing that's more and more being expected.

    The sad fact of the matter is that patients and their families are being allowed to act more and more obnoxious, and instead of dealing them like any other customer service-based business would do, which is tell them to take their business elsewhere, we're expected to give them what they want, no matter HOW RIDICULOUS it may be.

    If we're going to act like a customer service business, we need to actually act like those businesses. We're told the Disney way of doing things, but Disney World would kick out anyone that treated their employees like nursing staff is regularly treated.
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    Quote from jadelpn
    With all due respect, a patient has a choice on which hospital they choose to go to. They can (and do) request that people "not care for them" (happens all the time). Most patients are active participants in their own care, they can refuse treatments.

    Other than that, is there a reason that as a nurse you would not want to act appropriately?
    Unless a patient is independently wealthy they do not have a real choice. Billionaires have different choices than the working class. Steve Jobs had a different choice for a liver transplant than you would. If I go outside the network my insurance company dictates they won't pay. You think that is a choice? You can refuse a dialysis treatment, that is a choice. You will die. On an existential level of course you have choice, that is the nature of free will, but in healthcare patients choices are extremely limited and dictated by the system.

    Acting "appropriately" also involves recognizing the huge burden that is placed on patients by a system that is extremely hostile to anyone who attempts to buck the system. Try visiting the website I hate dialysis for examples of the choices patients with ESRD have. I guess you could label me "non-compliant".
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    When families call or ask for information, I always tell them, "Because of a patient's right to privacy, please let me check their chart to make sure you are listed as a contact." If they are, I give them brief, basic information. If they aren't, I ask if they would like to speak to the patient directly if the patient is alert and oriented. I get annoyed when it is an adult and another adult calls and says "NO, I want to talk to YOU," as if I am going to give more information then that patient. If they insist, I will enter the patient's room and ask if it is okay to speak with So and So regarding their status.

    I always explain everything thoroughly, even if the patient has heard it before. I've found that patients often forget information, even if the previous shift told them. For example, I will explain to patient's about the routine heparin shot for DVT prophylaxis and why it is important. I always allow the patient the right to refuse, as long as they are well-informed about the risks.

    Delays, I apologize and explain what is happening diplomatically. I will try to advocate for my patient if possible, but if the GI lab is behind because of an emergent case, then there is little I can do.

    The hardest thing is communicating test results. Patients often want to know - "what are the results of my chest x-ray?" If it is something as simple as a potassium level, I will tell the patient the value and explain the normal values. I will sometimes offer an explanation - for example, "your potassium may be low because you have been vomiting and having diarrhea, which causes you to loose electrolytes such as potassium." But even then, I feel like I may be toeing the line of my scope of practice. I often don't feel comfortable giving patients the results of MRI's, x-rays, and other scans. The reports are often long and sometimes I have difficultly interpreting them. I also don't want families and patients to panic. I will tell families and patients, "It is outside of my ability as a nurse to interpret your test results. I have called them in to the doctor. She will be able to explain them to you fully. However, there is nothing on the test result that indicates we need to take any immediate action at this moment." Does this seem appropriate to you all? How do you handle these questions? Often, patients and families want to know the results NOW, while the doctor may not be back to see the patient and give them the information until the next day if they have already rounded, and nothing emergent is found.
    CountyRat likes this.
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    All good and valid points.

    However, unfortunetely or not, these surveys are the soup special o' the day, and not going anywhere anytime soon.
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    The over the top hiney kissing does get old. Back in the day, if an ortho patient came to the floor and they were diabetic, they received a diabetic meal and ACHS checks. Now we get diabetic ortho patients that raise the roof if they get a diabetic diet. How is this handled? We give them what they want and then get the joy of doing ACHS and somewhere in between accuchecks with absurd amounts if insulin to keep this person happy.
  12. 1
    Quote from wooh
    There's a difference between acting "appropriately" and the blatant butt-kissing that's more and more being expected.

    The sad fact of the matter is that patients and their families are being allowed to act more and more obnoxious, and instead of dealing them like any other customer service-based business would do, which is tell them to take their business elsewhere, we're expected to give them what they want, no matter HOW RIDICULOUS it may be.

    If we're going to act like a customer service business, we need to actually act like those businesses. We're told the Disney way of doing things, but Disney World would kick out anyone that treated their employees like nursing staff is regularly treated.
    HEAR HEAR! No other profession would accept the treatment that nurses are expected to put up with. Try behaving like that in a bank or at the mall....

    It's a health SYSTEM....go with the system or go home and fix it yourself!!
    wooh likes this.
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    [QUOTE=Chisca;7553604]Unless a patient is independently wealthy they do not have a real choice. Billionaires have different choices than the working class. Steve Jobs had a different choice for a liver transplant than you would. If I go outside the network my insurance company dictates they won't pay. You think that is a choice? You can refuse a dialysis treatment, that is a choice. You will die. On an existential level of course you have choice, that is the nature of free will, but in healthcare patients choices are extremely limited and dictated by the system.


    Like I said...it's a system. Don't like it? Unhappy with lack of choice?
    Try 3rd world hospitals. They don't feed patients at all, it's up to the family to bring in food.
    and the sterile dressings are likely to be out of date stock from our hospitals.
    Still unhappy that you have to wait 4 hours for treatment?
    If it's an EMERGENCY you'll be seen....otherwise you have to wait your bloody turn!
    CountyRat and jadelpn like this.


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