The medical surgical unit at Anne Arundel Medical Center had been facing a challenge in patient perception about our services. We consistently scored low in patient satisfaction categories. Our nurses, providers and other staff were putting in effort, but we were not yielding improved results.
We asked our service excellence coordinator to provide tips for enhancing our patient experience. She provided resources for two areas of focus: increasing staff awareness through patient satisfaction education and streamlining our communication with patients.
I highlighted patient satisfaction tips and education in the unit newsletter, and the nursing director discussed the components of patient satisfaction at huddles and staff meetings. Charge nurses would audit nursing staff behaviors and coach when necessary. The goal was to increase all staff members’ knowledge of patient satisfaction measures established by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. We also sought to educate all staff members about the importance of patient perception of the services we provide daily.
We also implemented an evidence-based, nationally recognized communication tool known as AIDET. This acronym stands for Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, Thank you. AIDET plays out this way: A nurse enters the room of a newly admitted patient and acknowledges the patient by addressing him or her by name. The nurse then introduces him- or herself and provides an estimate of how long he or she will be in the room performing the specified tasks. The nurse then thanks the patient for choosing our hospital.
In addition to following AIDET, we asked staff members to introduce any other staff members the patient would come in contact with during the stay. The assigned nurse and patient care technician work as a tag team at the beginning of and during the shift, whenever information or changes are discussed with the patient. This means we are all on the same page when providing care.
SEE ALSO: End-of-Shift Report
It was hard work, but we were all committed. We declared a 30-day challenge to use AIDET with every patient interaction and make connection with the patients. Constant communication with our patients decreased their levels of anxiety and their dependency on members of the staff. Our patient satisfaction score rose from 55% to 80% in just 3 months.
The expertise of our service excellence coordinator and the nurse-led patient satisfaction training produced an increase in patient satisfaction that garnered the medical surgical unit a coveted hospital-wide award. In December 2015, we received the Inpatient Service Excellence Banner for the first quarter of fiscal year 2016. The banner award is given based on four categories: inpatient results, outpatient results, support services results, and greatest strides. Our medical surgical unit was the top performer in both the inpatient and greatest strides categories. Along with receiving a large banner to display on our unit, we received a certificate and monetary reward. These were presented by the chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer of the hospital.
In January 2016, we started discussions on how to sustain our patient satisfaction scores. We established a patient satisfaction committee, with an overall goal to continue to educate staff and create innovative ways to enhance our patients’ experiences. As a group, we have accepted challenges of doing pilot projects such as bedside shift report and patient rounding with providers at the bedside.
Our staff is committed to maintaining improved care, which translates to greater patient satisfaction. It is a good feeling to know we have satisfied patients, and it is because of our staff that we have a commitment to make that happen.
Jazmin Manlapaz is a staff nurse at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md.