Nursing as a customer service profession? - page 5

I am graduating from nursing school in the next few months, and I am just beginning my job search. I have discovered that many hospitals have something about nursing as a customer service profession... Read More

  1. by   mattsmom81
    Ya know, I went to nursing school a loooong time ago and 'customer service' was never mentioned as being part of my professional description. If it was I probably would have been turned off and gone elsewhere for a career.

    I was taught (in the 70's) I was a professional and to behave as such. Not to cater and spoil and beg for repeat visits like we are expected to do today. If families were a problem they were escorted out. Not any more. Patients threatening nurses were visited by security and if desired, assisted in leaving AMA. Not anymore. Seems we are wrong if we set ANY limits on patient/family behavior.

    This customer service deal is an invention of the facility, to meet their needs. Not ours. They seem to be reinventing our profession! Any old nurses feel similarly? Or was my nursing school experience simply unusual?

    I'm amazed at how much more the facility wants of us in the past 10 or so years, but with NO improvement in nurse patient ratios. No wonder so manyf us leave or burn out.

    I'm still taking care of 2 patients in ICU but the customer service they want me to provide to friends and family is huge, with open visiting and personal attention no matter what is going on...leaving less time for patient care. It's even worse on the floors, IMO.

    This is the kind of things that fries me: A demanding family member of a patient transferred to PCU from ICU came to me on PCU demanding I go fetch her breast milk which was being stored in the ICU fridge. Now this is totally against infection control policy. But the nurses were so afraid of this woman and her numerous administration complaints they broke policy. I told her flatly she should bring her own provisions to store her milk, and that I could not continue to help her with this. Now she hit the roof and went to the higher ups, but I called the infection control nurse and she backed me up. I of course was told I could have 'handled it better'. Standard line, right? ( if they are mad we obviously did something wrong, right?) But who has time to massage egos of these primadonas? Not me... <sigh> this case, enough was enough and I had to take a stand. How 'bout the rest of ya'll? When have you taken a stand??
  2. by   Texagain
    I don't find service and health care contradictory at all. I never fail to be surprised at how nurses will say it's so important to drink 8 glasses of water a day and gripe about filling a water pitcher. I don't like working with unpleasant people, myself. I've been at the bedside for almost 6 years and have been a patient twice (once for over six weeks). I think my expetience on both side of the rail make me better at my job.
  3. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Originally posted by Puffie
    I've been in nursing for more than 40 years. I remember when nurses were allowed to be nurses and provide nursing care to their patients. I've also been a waitress on the side and a hostess. Now a days my nursing role consists mostly of being a waitress and a hostess to my patient while they quote nursing care advise given them in the local restraunte or hotel.
    I don't feel that it is my legal, professional, nor ethical duty to be "best friends" with my patients as I let them continue to harm not only their own body's but often the bodies of those around them. When did nurse begin to be spelled ENABLER!

    Excellent, excellent post!
  4. by   Riseupandnurse
    "Customer service", I believe, is pushed by the hospitals' boards members. Most of them are businessmen, and this is what they understand. They do not understand nursing. I am a customer at McDonald's. I can order anything on the menu I want, but I can't demand I be served raw meat because of health regulations. I can't scream at the staff or invite several of my family members and friends to go back to the grill and supervise how my food is cooked. I can't expect that the employees will routinely give up their lunch breaks and work overtime because I want extra personal attention. In the hospitals, it seems as though patients are being encouraged to believe that they will have a great experience, be waited on in ways that you couldn't pay a personal servant to do, and will be able to call all the shots. Patients, families, and casual visitors are told to expect they can order the staff about in ways they couldn't at McDonald's, substitute their judgment for the health care professionals', and enjoy the whole experience even though they or their loved ones are sick and in pain.

    I have great compassion for my patients and their families, but I do have some expertise and a perspective they don't, and I also have a responsibility to prioritize my time in such a way that those who need nursing expertise get it before those who would merely enjoy some customer service skills.

    There is no need to lecture me about customer service, because I am a NURSE. A nursing relationship with your patients and families goes way beyond anything a customer relationship could achieve. If the hospitals want the look and feel of a resort, more power to them; let them hire hostesses and greeters. I will be pleasant and kind and do everything I possibly can for my patients, but the nursing has to come first. Otherwise, why did I go to school at all? Why not just ask people what they want me to do? I think more of nursing than that, more of myself, and more of my duty to my patients.
  5. by   nrw350
    AMEN janhetherington!!!!!!!!!
  6. by   mattsmom81
    Great post Jan!!

    Couldn't think of a way to say it better than you did!!!
  7. by   liberalrn
    wow. What a thread. Hafta agre with the oldeis but goodies out there....I once went to an inservice at 0300 (when I worked nights) to learn how to answer the phone. Ya know, my mom taught me how to answer the phone when I was 7. It's insulting. Care, compassion and courtesy are inherent in nursing. In my 16 years as an RN I have come across perhaps 5 boorish unprofessional nurses. We all learnde the lesson quite quickly--if you are impatient or short w/ a pt, that's the pt who won't get off the light....much better to practice a little anticipatory guidance and tlc first.
    I also was shown that video and sad to say...I think it is true.
  8. by   healingtouchRN
    One must remember that the clients/patients have a right (most of the time) to choose where they do business, & if they PERCEIVE poor service, they will tell their friends & family not to come to your hopital/clinic/place of business. This effects business! Remember what I said about perception, you can do a good job & have a flat effect because you are busy & guess what? You have just given the impression that YOU DON"T CARE! Bad for business. My company can FIRE an employee for rudeness, yup, they can, & they have! Reason being? People come to our hospital & have good service, get well, go home....they tell one or two people "I had favorable visit to XYZ Hospital", but let them have a delay in the ER, multiple sticks from the lab, a medication error, & several uncaring, busy, or sassy staff & they are paying for this???? They will broadcast it to every listener available! So, know we are all about service, put yourself in their shoes, or your mama in their shoes. You get more with honey than vinegar!:kiss
  9. by   LilgirlRN
    Unfortunately we work in a business, hospitals are a business, they are in business to make money. Even not-for-profit hospitals are in business to make money. Repeat customers make money for the hospital, if the staff is not nice they will not come back. Treating the patient as if they were your own family member is key, it's what I was taught in school and has been mentioned several times here. However you leave your patient is what they will remember. If your patient is cold and you don't give them a blanket all they will remember is being cold, if they are in pain all they will remember is pain unless you do something about it. Call it customer service or call it being a human being it's what you did do to help them that counts to the patient (and what you charted that counts to the hospital). As far as family members go, I try to think of them as being on the team with the patient and you're treating the team. Most family members really aren't trying to chap your a$$, they are either really concerned or scared that mama is gonna leave them this time, or maybe they are trying to score points by showing so much "concern" by yelling at the nurse. There will always be those patients and family members that no matter what you do you can't do anything right, that's when I call for backup and let someone else try. As overworked and as stressed as nurses are these days, it's a wonder there aren't more complaints than there are. Most patients and their families are aware that there is a nursing shortage and take that into consideration. As far as I'm concerned the best thing ever invented to improve customer satisfaction is the blanket warmer
  10. by   healingtouchRN
    wish every unit had one! my massage therapist said to me just last nite, "a warm blanket is the best thing & a cold blanket is the worst"!
  11. by   healingtouchRN
    Lilgirl, what part of Alabama are you in? I am in the capitol city. Have a great nurses week!
  12. by   healingtouchRN
    thanks for all you do!:kiss
  13. by   udontwannabme
    Suz, You are sooooooo right. thank you for that post