As I noted in the last post I am a big fan of the 80\20 rule (google Pareto’s Principle if you are interested). Focusing on the least number of items that give you the biggest bang for your buck.  When many of us talk about patient satisfaction they tend to focus on the 1 or 2 truely unhappy patients they dealt with on their most recent shift. They tend to cite these patients as the reason are scores are not better. How could I possibly convert someone who is likely to give us a very low score into a 9 or 10! 

Interestingly very few patients surveyed fit this category. Less that 10% give us a total score of 5 or below.  I am not saying ignore these patients but realize they are not the ones standing in the way of acheiving our goals. It turns out those that give us an 8 out of 10 are about 20% of our patients. They liked their care but did not love it. Converting these patients into 9s or 10s would make all the difference in getting the results we deserve. 

Think about events in your own life where you loved the care or service you received. What was it that you loved about it? Chances are you thought it was professional; you felt it moved smoothly; and  most importantly that they cared about you as an individual.  Care in the ER is no different. We work hard for our patients but they may not always see it or perceive it. 

Below are some strategies to improve how patients and families view our care:

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. “Hi I am David and I am your nurse I will be back with medications for you.”
  • Explain delays before they happen. “Just wanted to let you know I will be back to help you after I attend to a critical patient.”
  • Value privacy. “Let’s go into your room so we can talk” (rather than speaking across the desk).
  • Close the loops. “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
  • Explain what they cannot see. “It took me a while but I got in touch with your doctor\found you this blanket\got an order for more pain medicine”.

Finally. LEAN INTO IT. We all got into emergency medicine to take care of people and to be great at what we do. Nobody should get up in th morning and say I want to be mediocre today. So put a piece of yourself into every patient interaction.