Your hospital’s staffing strategies have a direct impact on your patients and how satisfied they feel with the care they recieve. Who you hire, their background in the medical field, and their approaches to patient care all go into how patients feel they were taken care of.
We want our patients to feel that they were given quality care, but there’s no one set way to guarantee patient satisfaction. Factors like nurse-to-patient ratios, nurse engagement, and staff diversity can all play a large role in patient satisfaction, and there are other key factors you can work toward to improve patient relations.
Below we’ve outlined how your staff affects patient satisfaction and what strategies you can implement to continue to improve.
Why Is Patient Satisfaction So Important?
When measuring quality in health care, patient satisfaction is often the most common and important metric that facilities use.
It helps to think of the patient as a consumer and the hospital as a business that is providing the consumer with a service. As a facility, you want your patients to be satisfied, because that means they’ll be more likely to seek future health care from your facility or recommend your services to others.
In that way, patient satisfaction directly relates to profit, but it also affects staff morale and retention. By keeping patients happy, staff feel proud to work for your facility and more invested in their work.
Additionally, maintaining high patient satisfaction rates can decrease the chance of potential issues in the future, like malpractice suits. Even when a patient’s care or treatment may not have had the most ideal outcome, if they feel like you did everything you could and treated them well, they’ll either not have the grounds for a lawsuit or feel like one is unnecessary.
On the other hand, if your patients are dissatisfied with services or their quality of care, the reputation of your hospital could decrease immensely.
Your facility could gain a poor reputation, which could directly affect the number of patients you intake, your profit, and the amount of funding you receive. Additionally, health care professionals often come into the field with the goal of making a difference, and that’s difficult if the patient feels like they’ve been let down.
How Staffing Affects Patient Satisfaction
One of the key areas that facilities can improve patient satisfaction is through their staffing policies.
You could have the most sophisticated technology and state-of-the-art medical facility in the world, but staff who are burned out, disinterested, or unsafe in their patient care can make patients stay far away.
For that reason, facilities looking to improve overall patient satisfaction should look closely at how they recruit and hire staff and fill staffing needs.
Good Staffing Improves Nurse-Patient Relationships
The more time nurses and staff have to spend with their patients, the more of a rapport and a relationship they can build together.
When a nurse gets to know their patient and who they are beyond their immediate needs or health issues, that makes the patient feel seen and valued. They’re more likely to open up about any issues or concerns they might have and more likely to trust the health care team and their treatments.
But that only happens if nurses have time to develop those relationships. If a hospital is understaffed or takes too long to fill staffing vacancies, nurses have less time with their patients, and that can make patients feel ignored and staff less likely to be able to properly fulfill responsibilities.
Good Staffing Ensures Quality Care
It’s no secret that if the quality of the clinical care is high, patients feel like they’ve been well taken care of. One way that hospitals determine the quality of a health care professional is through their education level.
The more skills and experience that your doctors and nurses have, the more qualified they are to handle the different obstacles they come across. Having more education and additional certification means your staff has had more specialized experience and is therefore better prepared to handle any type of patient ailment.
That’s why many hospitals prefer to hire nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Those facilities who make that push to recruit nurses with a BSN have a higher percentage of patient satisfaction.
Staffing Strategies to Implement
No matter what the rating your hospital or facility has, there’s always room for improvement. The continued nursing shortage and overall need for medical professionals means that now is the time to start thinking about how you staff your hospital.
Below we’ve outlined some staffing strategies that you can consider implementing or making sure your current staffing policies already use.
Prioritize Effective Communication
To ensure your staff can provide quality patient care, you have to know that they can communicate with them.
With today’s patients being more involved with their health care, encourage your staff to listen and empathize with patients alongside talking them through medical procedures and treatments. Staff should prioritize building a rapport with their patients, which includes taking the extra time to educate and listen to them.
Effective communication shouldn’t just be between staff and their patients. Patient care is a team effort, and staff need to be able to communicate well with other people on the health care team.
The more open and willing they talk to each other, the less likely they are to make a mistake caused by miscommunication. Additionally, if your staff communicates well, that raises morale, which translates right back to the patients.
Encourage Teamwork and Collaboration
How often does your staff work together as a unit? When staff feels like a team, they have a sense of community that directly extends to the patients and makes them feel involved.
Encourage your staff to discuss cases and treatments that are giving them trouble with other members of the health care team, no matter their credentials. Through teamwork, they can collaborate and learn from one another while improving comradery and experience.
Weekly meetings and organized events such as volunteering also help build the bond between co-workers.
Advocate for Better Nurse-To-Patient Ratios
The more time a nurse has to spend with their patients, the more patient care and satisfaction will approve.
Hospitals with high nurse-to patient ratios have nurses who regularly feel overworked, burned out, and unappreciated. They aren’t able to put in the necessary time for each of their patients, and that can lead to mistakes like delayed medication, missed symptoms, and closed off communication.
While there are other factors at play, such as the number of discharges and admissions and constantly changing patient acuity and needs, facilities must set adequate staffing levels to reduce nurse-to-patient ratios and give nurses the time they need with their patients.
It might not seem budget-friendly in the short term, but in the long run, good patient ratios can help with staff retention, saving money on constant hiring and training of new staff to replace those who burn out and leave from overwork.
Diversify Your Staff
People with different backgrounds have the ability to connect with patients on different levels. Since your patient pool can be incredibly diverse, your staff should reflect that.
Patients connect much better with staff members that look like and resonate with them. Hire qualified staff from different ethnic and social backgrounds who vary in age and gender. The more voices you can bring to a staff, the better the experience your hospital will have to offer your patients.
Although each facility’s needs and resources will vary greatly from location to location, these are some basic ways that can help improve your patient’s overall satisfaction as well as improve your facility’s overall quality of care.
If you’re looking to staff your hospital with professionals who prioritize patient care, visit us at Clipboard Health. We can connect you with the best nurses who are looking for per diem shifts in your area through our easy-to-use app. Contact us today to see how we can support your staffing needs.