Employee Satisfaction = Patient Satisfaction

By Tammy Pikey, CMSRN, Methodist Charlton Medical Center

Enlightened hospital leaders know employee satisfaction leads to patient satisfaction. When employees feel valued and enjoy working with their teams, it translates to patient satisfaction.

Improving satisfaction is the right thing to do and reflects our goal to treat others as we want to be treated. And with federal reforms around the corner, Medicare will soon put a price tag on patient satisfaction as part of the value-based purchasing initiative. It’s clear that employee engagement and patient satisfaction are more important than ever.

Leaders at the front lines or behind the scenes can improve employee engagement and satisfaction. Here are some tips:

  • Listen. Solutions begin with listening, the single most important leadership tool.  Taking time to listen not only helps us understand the root of the issue or a new idea, but also validates the employee’s input. So, have an open-door policy. Take direct calls. Return emails and texts in a timely manner.
  • Be there. Work with the staff on a daily basis so you understand the issues they face. Walk the floor physically to observe the dynamics and challenges. Visit with staff. Talk with patients and ask what can be done to improve service.
  • Follow up. If an employee has a question, suggestion, or concern, be sure you research as appropriate, then follow up with the staff member to close the loop.
  • Do not ignore a minor complaint. Minor complaints often grow to become major complaints. At the first sign of an issue, be proactive.

Every day presents new opportunities to improve the patient experience. Here are some tips:

  • Pick your attitude before you come to work. Before you start your shift, you can decide what kind of day it’s going to be – and you can keep that attitude throughout the whole day. It will help you through the bumpy spots.
  • Look and Listen. Looking at your patients and acknowledging them is the first step in understanding the issues. Studies show that looking in a person’s right eye communicates that the person has your full attention. You’ll improve the patient’s experience simply by looking and listening which communicates you care about their issue no matter how minor it might seem to you.
  • Work as a team. Reach out to others for help, and help others when they need it.
  • Empathize with the patient. Remember to always smile. You may have a lot on your plate, but keep in mind that your patient may be battling for his or her life, so keep your issues in perspective.
  • Be respectful. When you communicate clearly with your patients and their families, be respectful of what information they may have already gathered or are trying to understand. Be considerate of their faith, beliefs, and needs.
  • Be appreciative. Always say “thank you.”

Whether it’s a patient or employee, sometimes, the best thing you can do is just listen and let him or her know you care. At Methodist Health System, HEAT is our service recovery acronym:

Hear them out

Empathize

Apologize

Take action and do something about it

The correlation between employee and patient satisfaction is not something we just talk about at Methodist. It is a commitment we bring to life throughout the organization in various ways. Our managers and supervisors undergo leadership development training to learn better employee engagement techniques. Employees set annual patient satisfaction and quality goals. And, ongoing recognition salutes employees who go beyond their job descriptions to improve the patient experience.

At Methodist, employees brighten the lives of fellow employees, patients, and families every day. Are you ready to shine? Visit Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

EOE/M/F/D/V

© Methodist Health System

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