Two tips for improving patient satisfaction

Lori Chovanak
Lori Chovanak // October 28, 2016

Choosing healthcare as a profession begins with the desire to truly help people during times of great need. Playing an active role in enhancing a patient’s experience during a health crisis is moving to the soul. Sometimes the things patients need to feel cared for is simpler than we might think.

As healthcare providers, it’s important to know that the smallest of things can make the most impact for patients and their families. What may seem routine to us can be significant for a patient’s experience. On the other hand, little opportunities that we may overlook can leave a patient and their family missing the attention they expect and deserve.

Take a breath

When we are interrupted and emotionally impacted by our work, we need to take the time to check in with ourselves, to consider what’s going on inside. How we are feeling affects our work, and that’s important to remember.

I’ve been a registered nurse for 23 years and have loved every minute of it. Like my colleagues, I am drawn to the profession because I want to help people when they most need it. This means placing patients before ourselves. We work extra shifts, skip meals and bathroom breaks and put issues in our own lives on hold to focus on our patients “who have it worse.”

But it’s okay to take a moment to assess yourself when you need it. Keep in mind that our emotional well-being affects the people around us, including patients and colleagues. When we take care of ourselves, it helps us fulfill our commitment to providing care for others.

Sit down for a sec

This commitment also requires constant learning. We have to be aware of healthcare changes so that we use best practices to the highest standards to improve patient outcomes. Healthcare is complex and changing fast, and that can overwhelm any patient situation. In my experience, it’s the small things that are most rewarding to learn and apply in this healthcare environment.

These small gestures can be as simple as sitting down while talking to a patient. Studies show that if we spend a minute in a patient’s room and stand, they will report we were there for 15 seconds. If we sit down for that minute, they report we were there for 5 minutes. This amazing difference isn’t well known, and it’s a fast, simple thing you can do to change patient perceptions about their care.

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I’ve spent years going in and out of patient rooms. I always want my patients to feel genuinely cared for and to know that they’re an important part of my day every time we interact. I didn’t always hit the mark, no matter how good my intentions. After reviewing PatSatPlus, I now sit down when visiting with my patients. What I have experienced is a transformation in my patient interaction. I have more meaningful conversations, the patient feels heard and they often express their gratitude for the attention and time.

I highly recommend adding this tactic to your practice to help improve both the patient and nurse experience. It’s highly effective in maximizing patient encounters without adding time to your day. Little changes like this one offer a richer experience as we carry out our work.

When it comes to helping patients feel safer and respected, something as little as taking a seat can make a huge difference.