When patient needs and concerns are held in high regard, everyone in your facility benefits. But making the switch to a patient-centered culture isn’t always easy. Your team may oppose change and see these revisions as yet another task on their already long to-do lists.
Achieving buy-in is the foundation of supporting a culture of patient-centeredness within your hospital. As a nurse leader, it’s up to you to be a catalyst for culture change. By modeling appropriate behavior and guiding your staff as they adapt to new standards and expectations, you can help everyone successfully adopt this culture shift.
Here are some tips for creating more patient-centeredness in your workplace:
Improve the Patient Complaint Resolution Process
Every healthcare facility has some type of formal resolution process. But over time, staff members may forget their training on these procedures. When complaints are resolved in days, not hours, patients tend to become dissatisfied and feel their concerns are not taken seriously.
Although following the formal resolution process is important, immediately addressing minor complaints and concerns can result in fewer formal complaints and increased patient satisfaction.
Increase Staff Awareness of HCAHPS Scores
Your team knows your survey scores on Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) are important, but do they know why? Take time to explain what these surveys measure and how they impact your hospital.
On the flip side, though, it’s important not to focus on HCAHPS scores as the only measure of patient satisfaction. Instead, use scores to spur a discussion about ways they can improve the patient experience overall.
It’s not always easy to determine which applicants are compassionate and caring and which are simply following a job interview script. During an interview, provide a scenario in which the applicant would have to respond to the demands of a difficult patient. The candidate’s responses can give you some insight into his or her nursing style. Behavioral assessments can also help you identify which nurses share your vision for a culture of patient-centered care. If you don’t already use assessments as part of the interview process, ask your Human Resources department for recommendations.
Help Your Nursing Staff Become Adept in Shared Decision-Making
Traditionally, patients are provided with a diagnosis and treatment plan and have little or no input during the process. But when you apply shared decision-making (SDM), clinicians explain the diagnosis, present treatment options to the patient and help that patient weigh the risks and benefits of each option. Training classes and role-playing sessions will help staff become more comfortable initiating these discussions.
Model Appropriate Behavior
At times, your nursing staff may be so busy handling the clinical aspects of their jobs that they neglect their soft skills. Unfortunately, soft skills have a major impact on HCAHPS scores. You can help your staff improve their skills by modeling appropriate behavior, such as handling stressful situations with compassion and exercising patience. Modeling soft skills is as simple as greeting patients by name, listening closely to their concerns, displaying empathy, providing updates during long wait times for a service and offering choices when possible.
Creating a patient-centered culture doesn’t happen overnight. Often, it requires each staff member to rethink the way he or she interacts with patients and commit to making patient satisfaction a primary goal. The support of nurse leaders is vital to ensuring your staff embraces the new culture and strives to continually raise the bar for the patient experience.
Patient-centeredness can make a major impact on your nursing staff and the patients they serve. Learn more in our free guide How Nurses Can Increase Patient Satisfaction Through Patient-Centered Care.