1. Murphy, Kathleen RN, CNA, MSN

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QWhat are some strategies to help convince staff that we must remain consumer-friendly even though patient satisfaction scores are currently unsatisfactory?


Cultivating exemplary patient relationships with high patient satisfaction results is at times a challenge, but certainly not an unobtainable goal. You'll find that staff members believe they're giving excellent clinical care, but that doesn't always translate into what patients and their families perceive as meeting expectations.


As a leader, it's imperative that you learn how to teach staff members to change their behavior to meet the patient's needs. Doing so requires an element of encouragement and the ability to recognize each golden opportunity to change the culture on your unit. Start with one-on-one interactions with the staff and provide a compelling story in a way that makes it meaningful. This approach leads to an outcome that stimulates a sufficient sense of urgency to encourage staff to embrace a consumer-friendly atmosphere.

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Next, one of the single most important initiatives you can implement is nurse manager rounding on every new admission. This practice allows you to actively seek patient and family feedback during the hospital stay and role model the behavior you expect from the staff.


When staff members are truly engaged in exceeding patient and family expectations, you can present patient satisfaction survey data in a meaningful and positive way. Remember that patient satisfaction survey results can help you identify ways to improve clinical outcomes on your unit, which translates into better care for your patients and their families.


Finally, make staff members aware that service disappointments may occur. When disappointments do transpire, they should be addressed and resolved with a sincere and genuine apology. Resolving patient complaints can be intimidating for staff; therefore, bringing a coworker into the interaction can lend support and add calm to the situation. Colleagues working together to solve problems for patients and families exemplifies teamwork at its best.


Q I recently terminated an employee, but he arbitrated the decision and won. He's now back on my unit. What are some suggestions on how to interact with him?


Dealing with a problematic employee is one of the most challenging aspects of your job as a manager. Because the termination decision was overturned, you may feel that you weren't supported. Keep in mind, however, that the goal of the grievance process is to arrive at a fair resolution of the employee complaint in an atmosphere that's free of animosity and based on mutual respect for all parties involved regardless of their position.


Here are some tips to help you communicate with your employee when he returns:


* [white diamond suit] Don't let yourself get stressed about the situation.


* [white diamond suit] Be professional in all your interactions with him.


* [white diamond suit] Treat him with kindness.


* [white diamond suit] Keep an open mind and be prepared to compromise.


* [white diamond suit] Foster an environment of teamwork.


* [white diamond suit] When you feel discouraged, seek direction from your superior.



Learning to accept an employee back after the grievance process will be a professional milestone for you, clearly demonstrating your patience and leadership maturity.