Sunday, December 4, 2022

7 Strategies Nurses Can Use to Enhance the Patient Experience

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Consumer satisfaction is the key to the success of any business, and the healthcare industry is no different. Today’s industry is consumer-driven. Unless your consumers are satisfied with the service you are offering, your efforts for success won’t bear fruit.

Regarding patient satisfaction, nurses are in the prime position of influence because of their regular and direct contact with the patients. 

These frontline workers are best positioned to ensure good quality service provision and deal with the consumers’ concerns.

To ensure an excellent patient experience, you must first know what underlies patient satisfaction. What factors influence the patient’s level of happiness with the service provided? Once you know this, frontline workers, including nurses, can address these concerns.

Nurses must be trained in the strategies effective in improving patient experience, and the following are some of the valuable ways this can be achieved:

1. Ensure effective communication

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Nurses are the healthcare providers most actively involved in patient care and are responsible for communicating most of the information. Therefore, nurses must ensure effective communication with all their patients.

Effective patient interaction involves empathy, understanding, care, respect, and more.  

Psychological, social, physical, and other such barriers to communication can obstruct patient-provider interaction. One situation in which such barriers are more common is when nurses deal with elderly patients.

The inevitable cognitive and psychological decline, among other things, make miscommunication more likely. 

Nurses who’ve studied MSN agnp degree programs have received special training in gerontology and can handle these issues better than others.

Since miscommunication can be consequential, patients are likely to be scared, and if this fear is escalated because of uncertainty or miscommunication.

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As a result, they might withhold vital information from healthcare providers.

The more the patients know, the better they will respond to treatment. While ignorance might be bliss otherwise, here, the situation is different. 

Well-informed and knowledgeable patients are better able to care for themselves after being discharged from the hospital.

2. Emphasize teamwork

Healthcare provision is a joint effort of several professionals who work together. In addition to improving service provision, research indicates that when patients perceive teamwork and good care coordination, it leads to a positive patient experience. 

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When patients feel that their care is well-coordinated, it encourages confidence and eases their fears. Alternatively, hearing different and contradictory information from other team members can elevate their fears and cause stress.

Therefore, good teamwork is crucial for ensuring patient satisfaction by communicating confidence and improving the quality of service provided.

3. Simplify the appointment schedule

Nurses

When someone ill is unable to seek treatment on time, it will only lead to frustration and anger. You must ensure that the appointment procedure is simple and easy to access. Nurses can propose a scheduling protocol that minimizes waiting times.

Long wait times can worsen the patient’s health condition and lead them to seek treatment from someone not skilled in the service they are seeking.

4. Inculcate technology

Technology has become a significant part of healthcare, and you should consider including it in your service for greater patient satisfaction. 

Electronic health records, smartphone applications, telemedicine, and much more can be used to speed up service provision and make it more efficient.

Research shows that patient satisfaction increased in one facility when a patient portal platform was introduced.

Patients can benefit from technology in several respects; they can access information regarding their situation from an online platform, and telehealth services can save time, money, and effort by offering services within their homes.

On the other hand, healthcare apps can help them self-monitor their medical condition.

One technological development that can be made in healthcare centers is centralized command centers for effective communication between nurses, doctors, and other service providers. 

This way, nurses and doctors can easily access room availability, schedules, patient needs, etc., from a platform that is continuously updated jointly.

Also Read: 5 Challenges that Nurses Encounter And Ways to Overcome Them

5. Exhibiting empathy and understanding

nurse challenges

Since nurses are the ones the patients are most likely to interact with regularly, empathy from them can improve their experience, earn their trust, make them feel more comfortable, and respond better to treatment.

Empathetic nurses connect well with their patients and understand their points of view. Such a connection ensures that patients are open to suggestions by the nurses they trust. They also respond to treatment better than distrustful patients.

Research has proven that empathy improves patient outcomes, satisfaction, and compliance and enables more effective patient-provider communication.

Nurses who know how to communicate empathy to their patients can keep them calm, reduce their anxiety, and make them feel cared for and understood.

6. Work on improving patient education

Nurses are the ones in charge of most of the patient education. They are the ones to inform the patients and their loved ones about the medical condition and discuss the diagnosis, medication protocols, and treatment outline.

Family nurse practitioners who have to interact with the patients’ families are most actively involved in education and counseling.

One way to improve patient education is to use the patient-teach-back method; this involves asking the patient to repeat what they understood. 

This way, nurses can ensure that the patient has received the information correctly and encourage better adherence to instructions.

If the patient cannot grasp everything, nurses should be prepared to repeat the information without exhibiting impatience or irritation.

It is crucial to ensure that the patient and family understand everything because miscommunication can cause defensiveness, anxiety, and resistance to treatment options.

Also Read: Taking a Bow for My Real-Life Superheroes On International Nurses’ Day, 2021!

7. Be culturally aware

Nurse

Healthcare providers are likely to interact with patients from all walks of life. You will encounter people from various cultural, social, educational, and economic backgrounds.

Everyone responds differently to treatment, and you are likely to face strange beliefs that you might disagree with. You must be sensitive to such differences and not show any discrimination.

Keep your personal biases and stereotypes in check to ensure that all your patients receive top-quality care. Do not undermine or derogate beliefs and values you find unusual.

Always extend empathy and care to everyone regardless of their cultural, social, or educational background.

Final words

Nurses play the most crucial role in ensuring patient satisfaction; they are the ones who are responsible for most of the patient education, frontline care, regular check-ups, monitoring, and more. For this reason, nurses are also best positioned to improve the patient experience.

Nurses can do so by working on their communication skills, including technology, conveying empathy, improving patient education, and being culturally sensitive. This way, patients will receive top-quality care and will feel understood. 

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