Does your nursing team understand their role in HCAHPS Survey results?

A patient’s experience at your hospital is comprised of numerous factors and touch points, but registered nurses (RN), certified nurse assistants (CNA), and licensed vocational nurses (LVN) are the ones who spend the most amount of time with your patients compared to other members of your hospital team. With that increased interaction time, the nursing team is a critical element in making sure patients have a great experience.

Lately, I’ve been talking with nurses at a few rural and small community hospitals. As we discussed how HCAHPS hospital surveys impact reimbursement, many did not quite understand how important their work was for the hospital.

There are essentially eight key topics covered by HCAHPS survey questions: communication with doctors, communication with nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management, communication about medicines, discharge information, cleanliness of the hospital environment, and quietness of the hospital environment.

When you think about each topic, the nursing team has an important role in facilitating or responding to each area. The thing is, many nurses have never seen the actual survey to understand their impact.

Customer service training is more than telling your team members to be nice to patients. No matter their tenure in the profession, customer service training is an ongoing educational process. As long as it continues to be at the forefront of conversation, it will remain top-of-mind.

An effective training process should lead by example through discussing recent and past experiences and educating the team on alternative solutions for achieving a positive outcome. Scenarios are a great way to demonstrate how to your nursing team can approach, control, and resolve a situation.

Somewhere through an effective customer service training program, all eight elements of the HCAHPS survey should be discussed to help your nursing team understand each from the patient’s point of view. Providing perspective can really drive home the impact of their role at your facility.

I’ve been highly encouraged by the impact of simply showing HCAHPS survey questions to nursing teams. Giving them the knowledge to understand how important they are can make a difference improving your hospital’s scores; but like anything, it’s a process.

Once you empower the nursing team at your facility with the knowledge and understanding of how crucial their role is, the more they will begin to think about past experiences and how to improve future ones. Their participation can make all the difference in the upward trend of positive patient satisfaction.