The nurse experience
While all are running towards satisfying the patient's experience I wonder when we will worry about the nurses' experience? I know that the system doesn't get paid for the nurses' experience as they are for the patient's experience but I think it's important.
What if we put as much effort into worrying about the nurses' experience as we do the patient's experience? The backbone of our healthcare system is being lost with worrying more about what the perception is for care. Doesn't seem to make much sense to me that we haven't thought more about the staff who care the most for the patients who enter our hospitals.
Medscape revealed the following statistics for satisfaction in nursing in 2016: There were over 10,000 recipients responding to this questionnaire. I think as an industry it is important to take note as to why nurses remain in this profession and what are their grave concerns.
Although technology has improved many aspects of healthcare; communication isn't one of them. When nurses are tied to their computers rather than the patients there is a gap in care.
I recently spent 9 days in the hospital with our daughter. In that 9 days, only one physician sat down to speak to us and only because it was clear neither one of us was happy with what was going on. Nine days!! Not one nurse sat down to talk to either my daughter or I. I never left her side, taking turns with her father to be sure there was someone there 24 hours. Why? because she was medicated and confused and no one came in to check on her. Even when we rang the bell it took 10-20 minutes to have someone ask what we needed. Often it would have been too late as she needed to get up quickly to go to the bathroom. So I helped.
In the middle of the night, we had a nurse come in and announce she didn't know how to give the medication in the bottle she held. Trying to read the directions she nervously was calculating. I went by her side and asked her to come out in the hall which she complied. I then got the resource nurse to come over and help her with the calculations; which I checked to be sure it was correct. These are real-time stories that happen all of the time. What happens to the person who has no one there? Thus the reason we developed our practice. But when it's your own it's different.
I never called anyone throughout the entire time I was there. A week later though I did call the manager and left a message to call me. I told her I would like to share my experience while there in order for her to improve what went on. I never received a call. Would it be better to put it in the survey they send? Probably not because what would happen I believe is coming down on the unit as a whole. Punishing those who didn't respond. Is the problem with the staff? NO. The problem is with the system that doesn't have enough staff on a holiday weekend that we spent with sometimes three different nursing staff in one shift and multiple physicians names on the board. A system that doesn't recognize the value of the key staff; the backbone of their hospital the NURSES.
Nursing satisfaction is multifaceted and revealing in this survey. We go into this role as an honored profession and most trusted profession because we care. Who is caring for us? A question yet to be answered, not with a water bottle on nurses week or a free lunch but by empowering nurses to advocate for their patients as they know how to do without retribution. A tall order to ask from a culture that has changed little in the 25 plus years I've been in it.
Sharon Gauthier RN/MSN
Seasoned Registered Nurse Consultant- Patient Advocate
Owner - PAFY, Inc. Complete Care Management Patient Advocacy Nursing Practice