From the moment a patient walks through the door, the experience begins. It starts – hopefully- with a pleasant greeting and from there the rest is up to you – your office, your hospital, your network, your leaders, your staff — everyone!
To achieve excellent patient care everyday with every patient, the starting point is attitude. Everyone has to be on board with the mission to serve and create excellence. Any kink in the chain of teamwork and leadership will be cause for negative consequences when trying to raise the bar to new levels of excellence and quality patient care.
So, how do you get this attitude of excellence that translates into positive care and experiences for patients? Here are a few very simple ideas that your office or department can implement right away.
1. Boost Morale – Enthusiasm Inspires Greater Levels of Excellence.
I see or witness so many people in leadership roles who try to get people pumped up by lighting a fire under their butts – metaphorically. But, if you want people in your organization to have more focus, demonstrate a greater level of excellence and find purpose in what they do, then you achieve this by lighting a fire in people’s hearts – again metaphorically. What it means to light a fire in someone’s heart is simply helping the find a greater vision of enthusiasm in the role they play in the overall big picture.
One way to do this is by the simple means of recognition of efforts, acknowledging the little things people do and letting them know how valuable they are. And I don’t mean waiting for an annual company dinner – this has to be daily.
Change up your staff meetings a little. One guy emailed me that his staff meetings were getting so routine and mundane that he could feel morale slipping, so he started incorporating some of my videos and using my books and noticed a huge surge in positive attitudes and efforts. He said, “What a difference it made doing something a little out of the ordinary, but something that really lifted people’s spirits. You could see immediate effects.”
It doesn’t take much, keep it simple, but a little inspiration feeds our attitude and efforts and if your goal is positive people engaged in positive action, then you better spice things up a little.
2. Get Better – Improve.
A few months ago I had to go to the doctor for flu like symptoms. They called my name in the waiting room and brought me back to what I will call the holding cell until the doctor comes or examination room. In this case, it was a holding cell. The nurse who took my temperature, did my blood pressure acted as if she sat on a pine cone earlier in the day and wanted everyone to know she did. She was very quick, not very friendly and made little eye contact and didn’t really seem like she was listening. She said before she left, “Sit tight, a doctor will be in soon.”
So, I waited, and waited, and waited and after sitting there for an hour, I realized, I had to go. I walked out and noticed it wasn’t busy at all. The nurses were just standing around having chitty chat time and I looked at them and said, “Um…hello, did you guys forget me? I have been sitting in that room for over an hour, you guys aren’t busy, would it been a good idea to pop in to check in and give me a status as my time is valuable as well. Now, I have to go and not get treated.”
The nurses apologized and I admit, I was in a cranky mood because I was sick, however, I wasn’t rude in with my comments. What I shared with them was from the heart of a customer. It was feedback on how to get better. And I ended the conversation by saying, “I have been coming her for a long time, you guys are better than this. Right?”
Some of the doctors heard this and several nurses. It was like I gave a motivational speech. One doctor asked, “What happened?”
My response was, “They – the nurses – can explain it better. I have to go. But, you guys are better than this.”
Feedback is not always pleasant, but feedback that makes us better is essential and you have to be open to that information no matter how much it stings. And most of all, you have to do something with it. You have got to get better. Ask everyone the question,
“What can we do to get better?
What can be improved here?”
Ask patients what you can do better and make it happen.
3. Get Everyone On Board.
Have you ever tried to start the wave at a stadium event – or ball game? Well I have and sometimes when you share new ideas for improvements, you will encounter some resistance like criticism, rejection and failure. Don’t quit. The wave of positive change doesn’t happen on your first try.
The key is for you to be consistent in your message and efforts for creating positive change that translates into excellent patient care.
4. Communicate Better
In an industry that is always changing with new technologies, regulations and people – better communication if vital. Better communication speeds up the process to treat patients properly and more effectively. Also view how your non verbal communicates to others. Are you walking around like a droop, no smile or personality? That translates how you will do your work, how you will treat patients and how you will work with others. The way we communicate – verbal and non verbal determines responses in others. If the goal is excellent patient care every day, then you have to work on your communication skills and be aware of them every day.
5. Stick to the Fundamentals
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or overhaul the organization. Small steps will lead to the best results. If you want to create excellent patient care every day, then train people to become better personally and professionally. Train people how to implement the fundamentals of communication, customer service, urgency and accuracy. Encourage people to share ideas and feedback.
People just want to be treated fairly, understood and helped. Being a patient can be scary and there are many fears they face –from how much will it cost, can we afford it, what is wrong or what needs to be fixed– the list goes on and it’s not fun. Be a bright spot in their day or do the best you can to handle things when they go wrong because we are all going to have off days from time to time, but be willing to own it, address it, fix it if you can and make it right by doing the right things that add up to excellent patient care every day.