Patients’ Expectations are changing. And while being a nurse is certainly already a difficult enough job, it is your responsibility to keep up with current patient preferences and ensure that their expectations are not just met but exceeded. As healthcare costs continue to rise and people are forced to pay more and more out of their own pockets, it should come as no surprise that they expect higher levels of care. They also expect their healthcare providers to keep up with the latest technology and make receiving services as simple and convenient as possible.
As you know, it takes a lot more than a nice set of medical scrubs to make a great nurse. It takes knowledge, understanding, patience, and an unwavering desire to do what’s best for patients. To be the best nurse you can be, keep reading to discover a few ways nurses can exceed patients’ expectations.
Acknowledge Their Individual Needs
Healthcare isn’t one-size-fits-all. As such, it’s important to recognize the unique needs of each patient. No one wants to be treated like “just another patient.” Instead, they want to be treated as an individual and to know that their voices are heard.
Acknowledge the needs of your patients by taking the time to listen to them and providing individualized information. Share preventative care guidelines and recommendations based on each patient’s age, gender, and other factors. Make sure they understand and take the time to address any questions or concerns they may have.
When you make your patients feel like individuals, they are much more likely to feel satisfied with the services you provide. It may take up some extra time in your already busy day, but it will go a long way in terms of patient satisfaction.
Use Patient Portals
Patients don’t want to have to call their doctor’s offices to schedule appointments or go over test results. We are living in an increasingly online world, and most people have come to expect the convenience of being able to handle things on the internet.
Patient portals have become vital in the medical world, and they are critical in terms of patient engagement. Keep in mind, too, that in addition to allowing patients to go over lab results and book appointments online, using patient portals can have a revenue aspect. Many systems allow patients to make payments online, which many find more convenient than writing checks.
Medical appointments stress a lot of folks out. Because of this, many have a hard time remembering everything they were told by their nurses. Alleviate this problem by giving your patients printouts before they leave the doctor’s office or hospital.
Chances are, the technology you rely on at work puts a vast library of health resources at your fingertips. Take advantage of it not only for expanding your knowledge but also for educating your patients. Many people find it helpful to have additional information that they can review at home and reference as needed. Providing printouts with information that is relevant to your patients’ needs is an excellent way to exceed expectations and show that you care.
It is also a good idea to print visit summaries. In addition to summing up what happened and was discussed during the appointment, these summaries serve as helpful reminders for follow-up appointments and at-home care. It only takes a few seconds to print out health information and office visit summaries, but doing so can have a big impact on your patients.
Engage Family Members
When caring for seriously ill patients or those with chronic health conditions, family engagement is vital. Family engagement is largely unique to the healthcare industry, and its importance should never remain overlooked. Staying in touch with immediate family and maintaining clear communication can ease the stress of a difficult situation while ensuring that the patient’s needs are met at all times.
Involving family members in the recovery process is crucial, too. It alleviates stress and anxiety for both the patient and their family and can improve the chances of a quick recovery.
Patient satisfaction increases when staff members work together. With nursing staff often being the primary point-of-contact for patients, everyone must work together to ensure the best possible experience. All healthcare organizations should already have systems in place for ensuring smooth communication between staff members. It is up to you, however, to make sure that you are using these systems properly and prioritizing teamwork during your shift.
If teamwork seems to be lacking in your organization, consider speaking with members of your leadership team. They may be willing to find ways to build stronger relationships among staff members. Even something as simple as starting weekly meetings and scheduling team-building events could go a long way toward improving teamwork — and, thereby, improving patient satisfaction — in your organization.
It may seem counterintuitive, but taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do to ensure the best experiences for your patients. Burnout is a huge problem among nurses, and its impact is far-reaching. When you are feeling exhausted and burnt out, the quality of care you provide suffers. Making time for self-care and prioritizing your mental health allows you to be the best version of yourself while you are at work. And when you are the best nurse you can be, you have a much better chance of exceeding your patients’ expectations.
In addition to the usual self-care activities like getting a massage or enjoying a long, hot bath, consider upgrading your wardrobe with new jogger scrub pants and stylish scrub tops. New workwear will make you look and feel great. And when you feel great, it’s much easier to put your best foot forward with your patients.
As healthcare costs continue to rise, realize that patients will expect more and more from the nurses and other professionals who care for them. Remember that healthcare is a service-based industry, and strive to provide the best customer service you can. In doing so, you will meet and exceed your patients’ expectations.