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Focus on Hiring Happy Nurses to Improve Patient Satisfaction

December 17, 2015

200492737-001Instead of trying to improve the patient experience by mimicking upscale hotels, hospitals should focus on building an engaged and happy nursing staff. That’s the conclusion of a recent article from Quartz, highlighted in FierceHealthcare.

According to the article, hospital efforts to boost patient satisfaction by following the lead of luxury hotels or resorts are misguided, Instead, leaders must focus on the healthcare workers that patients interact with the most: nurses.

"Hospitals should be following successful hotels' lead in driving a culture change among their nurses, rather than investing in costly--and unnecessary--luxury amenities," the article says. "Engaged nurses would not only produce happier patients, but better quality of care too." Hospitals that have a high number of satisfied nurses also report better patient outcomes. When we really look at the hospitality industry, success is less about luxury amenities and more about retaining satisfied employees. Satisfaction translates into happier guests. The same principles apply to hospitals and nurses. "Happier nurses wil effortlessly pass their satisfaction along to patients--no spa required," the article said.

FierceHealthcare had previously reported that when nurses feel respected, they provide better care, which can boost patient and staff engagement, decrease turnover, and bolster patient outcomes and metrics,

All of this is about culture change. How do you create a culture where nurses feel valued and empowered, and where those feelings translate into better patient care and a better patient experience? Culture change is a long hard, process that requires a deliberate effort. It’s not about a specific program or process. Selection is one important component. Hiring nurses who have a natural tendency to be patient-focused, to be a good team player, is a great starting point. But it’s equally important to hire and develop leaders who can handle their management responsibilities while also serving as a transformational leader and engaging their team. Then the organization has to show that it values these attributes in tangible ways and provide avenues to develop these behaviors.

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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.