<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=353110511707231&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Change the Behaviors that Change the Patient Experience

December 17, 2015

We’ve all seen it. Some people just “get” patient centered care - and some don’t. Can you improve the way people interact with patients? Perhaps. Traditional training only goes so far. But what if people could make small behavioral changes that significantly impact the patient experience? I’ve worked with students, nurses, and even physicians, who implemented small changes to how they interact, with great success – but only after someone pointed out the problem with their old approach, and only when they were open to the feedback. The medical resident learns the value of sitting next to the patient rather than standing over her. The young nurse learns that putting a hand on the patient is critical. The therapist learns methods to improve communication during multi-disciplinary meetings. These things happen one at a time and some providers never get the mentoring necessary.

The patient experience can, certainly, be influenced by improvements in the care delivery process, in service processes, and even by scripting and training on making sure you introduce yourself and ask “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

But what these programs miss is that the patient experience (and patient safety), is most influenced by the dozens of daily interactions with physicians, nurses, and service staff. Patients and their families are in a vulnerable state. Their experience and emotional (and physical) healing depend on the ability of each of these people to interact with them in a caring, professional manner, and identify opportunities and risks.

Outstanding patient experience happens when staff understand and attend to patient needs. This requires compassion, awareness, the ability to function well under stress, emotional intelligence, and attention to detail. These concrete behavioral skills aren’t addressed in patient satisfaction training programs.

We’ve developed the first of its kind tool to address this deficiency. The Select C.A.R.E.S. Assessment takes 10 minutes to tell a physician, nurse or staff member what their natural people interaction behaviors and patterns are, and how to change them to improve their effectiveness. Even someone who is naturally more factual than compassionate, can develop small behaviors that convey to a patient that they care and are responding to them. Similarly, the nurse who’s naturally not high in emotional intelligence, can develop habits that help her better pick up on patient needs, and respond accordingly. Patient experience and patient safety are not merely about flat screen TV’s, better food service and OR checklists. They are about how we interact with patients and our ability to be, at all times, keenly aware of their safety and experience. This requires that we provide staff with the tools to improve these behaviors.

  • Compassion is not enough The highly compassionate nurse may lack the awareness to recognize a patient’s needs or attend to important details, thereby failing to meet the patient’s needs or engage them in their care process.

  • Complex collaboration skillsWorking collaboratively or leading multi-disciplinary teams requires an understanding of group behaviors and altering your own behaviors to get the most out of the team. This requires emotional intelligence behaviors.

  • Excitability under stress The physician or nurse, even with high emotional intelligence, may over-react to situations because of an inability to regulate their reactions. This lack of control negatively impacts the work environment and the patient.

  • Clinical expertise is not enough The outstanding diagnostician may struggle to engage patients and the family in the care process.

Features of the Select C.A.R.E.S. Assessment:

  1. Short, easy to take – 10 minutes, online. Results available immediately.

  2. Report is dynamic – insights and recommendations change based on your profile/results

  3. Provides simple, easy to understand results in the behavioral areas that impact interactions with patients, family and colleagues.

  4. Introduces the concept of “Healthcare Emotional Intelligence”

  5. Results and recommendations are presented in a positive light and in a healthcare context – as opposed to generic personality tools that merely score your level of compassion, introversion or emotional intelligence.

  6. Designed as a stand-alone assessment or to be part of existing or on-going training on patient safety and satisfaction. Ideal as the foundation of a discussion about these topics and how to change individual behaviors.

apply emotional intelligence at work

Bryan Warren Bryan Warren is the President of J3 Personica, a consulting, assessment, training, and coaching firm, and a guest blogger for PSI. Bryan is an expert in progressive talent strategies, with a particular focus on leader and physician selection and development.