5 Ways RNs Can Improve the Patient Experience

Patient experienceBy Kathy Marshall, Contributor

Nurses play a vital role in the overall patient experience. Many facilities have started huge campaigns on helping to improve patient satisfaction.

Striving to improve a patient’s experience can often create a stressful environment for nursing staff. 

By focusing on five key areas, nurses can start improving the experience for current and future patients.

[FIND new places to help patients and deliver top-quality care as a travel nurse!]

5 Ways RNs Can Improve the Patient Experience

1. Clear Communication to Improve Patient Satisfaction

One of the most frequent complaints of any patient is the lack of clear and timely communication. With many facilities experiencing staff shortages, nurses often are overloaded with patients and have limited interaction.

Taking the time to provide timely updates, clear explanations, and answering any questions can go a long way in creating confidence that you truly have your patient’s best interest at heart.

2. Be Personable

One way to improve the patient experience is to invest in your patient on a personal level. This does not mean you tell them your life story nor have the time to listen to theirs; just simply find a common interest. 

Doing so assures your patient they are thought of as a real human, not simply another room number.

[Related: New Nurses: Avoid These 7 Common Mistakes]

3. Include Family in the Patient Experience

Even though family and friends mean well, they can often be a hindrance to patient care. But remember that the patient has known their family longer than they have known you. 

The patient will value their family and friends input. One rude word or short rebuff can out shadow your excellent delivery of patient care.

Include the family when you can and recognize they are a very valuable asset to the patient.

4. Be an Advocate for Patient Satisfaction

Beyond improving patient satisfaction, being an advocate for your patient is part of your role as a nurse. When you stand up for your patient, they feel connected to you and will be more understanding of your being extremely busy and not responding to every call within seconds.

With the increasing strain on the medical care system, small details are being overlooked, often with the assumption that “someone else” will make sure they are taken care of. 

Take the extra step, to the best of your ability, to make sure your patient is set up for success when they leave your care.

5. Look Beyond the Medical

It is your job to provide the best medical care for your patient. However, more exists in your role as a nurse than delivering medical care. Meeting their basic needs and being a listening ear can dramatically change patient satisfaction.

Taking the time to ensure the patient is warm, clean, and fed are all aspects of your role. Many patients do not have family or friends to assist with activities like eating, so checking on those patients you know are alone is part of your responsibility. 

Even if you have nursing assistants, take the time to follow-through on any questions or requests, within reason.

Nursing is a hard job and often times a thankless one. Sometimes, you may even be tempted to disconnect the call buttons! 

But remember to always place yourself or a loved one in your patient’s place; doing so will help you to connect with them and see their needs beyond IVs and medications.

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