Customer Service Surveys

  1. I would like to know if other hospitals are participating in some sort of customer service surveys. At our hospital, all the patients are sent a survey in the mail about a week after discharge. It has questions about the service received at our hospital including nursing, physician, food, housekeeping, admitting, and chaplains/volunteers. It is based on their perception of service received. It can be filled out by the patient or a family member. The problem I see is that of the over 200 patients my unit alone sees in a month, only between 8 and 20 of these surveys are returned and usually by those who are upset about something. 3 times a week, either my nurse manager or I go to every patient and ask how the service has been and overwhelmingly we have positive answers. But administration is on our tails because the surveys seem to say that service is poor. Of course this is very frustrating for my nurses who feel (and who I feel) do work hard and do a good job. We have even gotten to the point of telling patients to send in good surveys (like they do when you buy a new car !). Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   bunky
    Clarice we have the exact same thing at our hospital with the same outcome! Our PR people explained that if people are disatisfied they'll tell everyone, as opposed to those who are satisfied who don't tell others. I don't have a solution as to how to correct it and feel that the surveys should end as they are not an accurate measure.
  4. by   traumaRUs
    In our level I ER we have an outside company that sends surveys to 50% of our pts = about 1500 month. I'm not sure what the return rate is but the nurses are scored in how many positive comments they receive. We have gotten so low as to suggest to pts who are pleased with their care that they make sure to return their surveys! I love ER nursing but sometimes feel as though I should work at the McDonalds drive thru. We have one incident recently where an intoxicated pt filled out a survey and was upset that he was tx and two nurses were almost fired over it. I hate to say it, but with the competition keen for every medical dollar, customer service surveys are here to stay. I just hope I can continue to smile as I'm being insulted, sworn at and hit! We all need luck. However, I have to say, that what makes it worthwhile is the mother who called me the next day after I care for her daughter who died of SIDS and thanked me for wrapping her in a warm blanket and letting her rock her one last time!!
  5. by   darla80
    Originally posted by ClariceS:
    I would like to know if other hospitals are participating in some sort of customer service surveys. At our hospital, all the patients are sent a survey in the mail about a week after discharge. It has questions about the service received at our hospital including nursing, physician, food, housekeeping, admitting, and chaplains/volunteers. It is based on their perception of service received. It can be filled out by the patient or a family member. The problem I see is that of the over 200 patients my unit alone sees in a month, only between 8 and 20 of these surveys are returned and usually by those who are upset about something. 3 times a week, either my nurse manager or I go to every patient and ask how the service has been and overwhelmingly we have positive answers. But administration is on our tails because the surveys seem to say that service is poor. Of course this is very frustrating for my nurses who feel (and who I feel) do work hard and do a good job. We have even gotten to the point of telling patients to send in good surveys (like they do when you buy a new car !). Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
  6. by   darla80
    Originally posted by ClariceS:
    I would like to know if other hospitals are participating in some sort of customer service surveys. At our hospital, all the patients are sent a survey in the mail about a week after discharge. It has questions about the service received at our hospital including nursing, physician, food, housekeeping, admitting, and chaplains/volunteers. It is based on their perception of service received. It can be filled out by the patient or a family member. The problem I see is that of the over 200 patients my unit alone sees in a month, only between 8 and 20 of these surveys are returned and usually by those who are upset about something. 3 times a week, either my nurse manager or I go to every patient and ask how the service has been and overwhelmingly we have positive answers. But administration is on our tails because the surveys seem to say that service is poor. Of course this is very frustrating for my nurses who feel (and who I feel) do work hard and do a good job. We have even gotten to the point of telling patients to send in good surveys (like they do when you buy a new car !). Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
  7. by   PPL
    Doesn't it just burn you up? Our facility uses these surveys to determine if we receive any gain sharing. Guess if we got any this year? Just another wonderful example of the hospital marketing itself as something it can never deliver because of poor staffing, then turning it around and blaming the nurses, who of course are beating their brains out to care for the patients, but fighting a losing battle! Thanks.
  8. by   darla80
    Originally posted by ClariceS:
    I would like to know if other hospitals are participating in some sort of customer service surveys. At our hospital, all the patients are sent a survey in the mail about a week after discharge. It has questions about the service received at our hospital including nursing, physician, food, housekeeping, admitting, and chaplains/volunteers. It is based on their perception of service received. It can be filled out by the patient or a family member. The problem I see is that of the over 200 patients my unit alone sees in a month, only between 8 and 20 of these surveys are returned and usually by those who are upset about something. 3 times a week, either my nurse manager or I go to every patient and ask how the service has been and overwhelmingly we have positive answers. But administration is on our tails because the surveys seem to say that service is poor. Of course this is very frustrating for my nurses who feel (and who I feel) do work hard and do a good job. We have even gotten to the point of telling patients to send in good surveys (like they do when you buy a new car !). Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
    I think consumer satisfaction surveys are a sad commentary on the image our culture is trying to portray for nurses. We are not fast food workers or mall staff with a goal for pleasing our patients and the needy families. We are professionals with a goal of taking care of our patients. It would be ludicrous if we tried to talk our patients into chooisng the right IV tubing or they should make a decision about which cardiac med might save thier life. People are in the heathcare sysytem because they need the healthcare professional to take care of them. People are not in our system because they are not sure if they want a burger of fries. I maintain we should not degrade nurses and other healthcare workers by asking the patient and family to put their experience under the microsope for customer satisfaction inspection.

    Furthermore there are many faults with the surveys. Many times the language of the survey is difficult to muddle through. The timing of the survey affects the response. The simplicity of the survey affects the response. A very small portion of the surveys are returned. And it seems to be a trend that the ones returned are from dissatisfied patients or more often dissatisfied family members. One might ask themselves why is this? I say it is because disgruntled people are more likely to complain by filling out the postage paid survey. As has been recently reported in mnay of the news magazines our society has become less grateful. However, that does not excuse using the complaints of an ungrateful society to chastise a nurse who is trying to do a good job. Most of us are in this profession because we want to help people, we want to impact lives, we want to save lives, and we want to enable people to cope with their illlness and disease.

    People who are grateful for their care are more likey to express it in some way at the time of care. The consulting firms do not witness the hug, the tear filled thank yous, the silent glimmer of gratitude in the eyes of our patients. They do not seee the warm hand clasp and the patients who whisper "I could not have made it through this without you!"

    We respect our patients, we respect our profession, we respect ourselves and we should have the respect of our administration, our hospitals, and of the society we live in. I say***** take the money spent on surveys and educate the public as to the vital role of a nurse!!!!!
    Get rid of consumer oriented mantality and embrace patient oriented care!!!!


  9. by   ClariceS
    I do have one thing to be grateful for it that the new point person for the surveys at our hospital is an RN. So now when quarterly reports are made to nurse managers and dept directors it is being done by someone who understands how it affects the nurses' psyche. And now when the reports trickle back to the nurses, they are not put in quite as demoralizing a manner as when an administrator (non-nursing) was in that position. I understand that nursing makes the greatest impact on how the patient percieves their hospital stay. I was just getting very tired of admin harping on nursing for not being at least a standard deviation above the norm when no other dept was even reaching quite to the norm. Now I have to admit I'm pretty proud to work in a hospital where most depts are meeting standard expectations. But like darla80 said, I wish admin and people in general would focus on quality care rather than how much they like it.
    Another point I agree with is that grateful patients show their gratitude in other ways. Part of the reason I became a nurse is because of a nurse who spent that extra minute to hold my hand before surgery. I thanked her then and went to her during my nursing training and thanked her again. And since I came to TX I have recieved more hugs from patients and families than any amount of surveys can cancel.

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