All employees of Upstate University Hospital are learning to ensure that patients have good experiences during their time at Upstate. A group of managers who attended training at the Cleveland Clinic will share best practices in a series of training sessions taking place at the Downtown and Community campuses through the end of the year.
Nurturing a patient-centered culture is accomplished one patient at a time, trainers Becky Mesmer, RN and Denise Letourneau, RN told the first group of employees to complete the training this week. That means making sure that when someone enters the hospital, he or she gets the best experience possible, that they are comfortable and receive what they need.
When someone comes to the hospital for surgery, people from 30 departments may “touch” that patient, but the patient has just one overall experience. The training underway — called “I Am The Patient Experience” — is meant to remind all employees that they play an important role in shaping this.
Mesmer said employees need to have a smile on their faces and their cell phones in their pockets when they are at Upstate. They should make eye contact with others in the hallway, say “good morning,” and assist people who appear lost. “That extra two minutes you take out of your day is going to make their day,” she said, adding that the smile or “thank you” you receive in return is going to make your day.
Words that do NOT work in the patient-centered culture: “It’s not my department.” “There is nothing I can do.” “This happens all the time.” “We are short-staffed.” “Thank God it’s Friday.” “Hospital policy says…”
Words that work in the patient-centered culture: “Thank you.” “May I help you?” “I want to make sure…” “My pleasure.” “Welcome.” “I understand.” “I have the time.” “For your safety.” “It is important.”
Even employees who are not directly responsible for patient care play a role in improving the experiences of patients. Here’s what the training says to do:
1. Reassure the patient. 2. Explain what the patient can expect to experience. 3. Actively listen. 4. Answer questions or concerns, or find someone who can. 5. Express appreciation, as in: “Thank you for choosing Upstate.”
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