5 Little Things You Can Do for Your Patients
By Sarah Stasik, Contributor
Have you heard of National Patient Recognition Week? While many healthcare days and weeks celebrate the staff who work to keep people healthy or are dedicated to promoting awareness of certain conditions, Patient Recognition Week is a time when doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers are encouraged to take a more in-depth look at patient satisfaction.
Patient satisfaction is a critical metric across all healthcare organizations. Payers, government entities and others consider it a quality metric, which means the satisfaction of patients reflects on whether you as a provider and the organization you work for deliver an appropriate level of care.
Plus, when patients feel their providers recognize and care for them, they may be more likely to see success with various treatments.
Discover five small but powerful things nurses can do for their patients to recognize them and help them be more comfortable with their treatment. Then, put these tips into action during Patient Recognition Week and throughout your career.
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5 Easy Patient Recognition Tips for Nurses
You probably can't (or shouldn't) bring in special treats or a gift for every patient for the big week. But here are five things any nurse has time to do that can make patients more satisfied and comfortable with healthcare service.
1. Use their preferred name (correctly). Take a minute to ask what a patient likes to be called instead of relying on the formal name on their chart. Calling a Robert by his preferred Bob or Julie Anne by her nickname Jules may go a long way to making the patient more comfortable. And always clarify that you are saying the patient's name correctly
2. Take time to answer questions. Patients may be overwhelmed by all the medical lingo being bandied about their rooms. Recognize when they are confused, upset or simply at a loss, and take a few minutes to explain terms and procedures in a friendly manner.
3. Offer choices when possible. Even if you've practiced good patient advocacy and the patient understands and is in control of their healthcare decisions, they can feel out of control at the same time. Very few people want to be in the hospital or have surgery, even though they know it's the best choice to make. You can help improve patient satisfaction by giving them control over other things, such as food, drink or snack choices. When possible, let them make decisions about taking a shower or walking the halls.
4. Smile sincerely when you greet patients. Don't enter a serious medical conversation with the false brightness of a cheerleader, but do smile and show that you are happy and willing to be of service.
5. Treat their family well. Extend courtesy, explanations and hospitality to patient family members. Help them understand where they can rest or get food. Many patients appreciate it when healthcare staff help family members stay near during treatments.
Ultimately, you can't magically wave a wand and make it all better for any patient. But you can deliver high-quality, caring service that makes the entire experience more satisfactory. Practice doing so during Patient Recognition Week and carry those habits into the rest of the year.