Think globally in terms of our own country…today the nurse is a global nurse, and we are all global patient experience champions simply because the patient demographics are so diverse and so multicultural.

For over 12 years, I worked throughout Eastern Europe, creating the infrastructure for the health systems of the newly independent countries of the former Soviet Union.  The infrastructure was complex and although nurses were recognized as nurses, they were not licensed in many areas, and they had no voice in the patient care experience.

As nurses, we define the patient experience.  And, as nurse leaders, we must reshape our goals to address the overall patient experience, rather than HCAHPS measures alone.  How do we accomplish this? We create a framework to govern staff behaviors including 1) cultivating an environment of caregiver empathy; overcoming common pitfalls, including unmet needs, unclear next steps for a patient and their families, and disruptions in care, and 3) identifying institution-specific needs through interaction with former staff and patients.

Healthcare is a business; the difference between healthcare and any other business is that the commodities with which we deal are human lives and human happiness – neither of which should ever be compromised.  Healthcare consumers are often thought of as ‘customers’ – yet they are so much more than customers because their access to goods and services is trust-dependent.  Unfortunately, each of us is a potential patient, and some of us have already experienced and survived the healthcare experience.

The topic of patient experience is not new; what is new is our perception. Consider what’s in and what’s out:

What’s In What’s Out
– transparency – hotel amenities alone will no longer drive experience
– teamwork – a commercial approach
– communication and the new script for nursing – the flavor of the month
– therapeutic relationships – customer service
– a global community of caregivers and patients – tunnel vision
– patient empowerment – enabling patients
– metrics – guesswork based on surveys

Can we care, literally, for the world, and make it a good experience?  Yes, we can!  Is it a “Yes, we can process” within your organization?  If yes, to what do you attribute your success? If not, what actions will you take to facilitate change?