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Nursing and the Patient Experience

Nursing and the Patient Experience

Each time a patient interacts with the healthcare system, there is an experience. Understanding patient experience is a key step as nurses move toward patient-centered care. In fact, it is so important that the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) created a national standard for collecting and publicly reporting information about the experiences patients have with their care. The Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality reveals that these experiences include, but are not limited to, respectful communication with providers, access to education and records, ease and promptness of appointments, and emotional support.

Patient Experience vs Patient Satisfaction

First, it is imperative to know that the patient experience is not interchangeable with patient satisfaction. Experience comes from the interactions that are determined to be necessary and important for the patient’s quality health outcome while satisfaction is the patient’s expectations about the quality of the experience or care received during the interaction. An integral part of the patient’s experience is the healthcare system’s ability to meet quality measurement indicators for positive health outcomes and patient safety. Additionally, the experience is more positive for patients whose expectations are met, or are exceeded, and this is reflected in higher satisfaction scores.

Understanding the HCAHPS Survey

There are 27 elements of patient experience that are collected in the HCAHPS survey. Some of these elements address:

  1. getting timely care, appointments, and information
  2. how well your doctors communicate
  3. patient rating of doctor
  4. access to specialists
  5. health promotion and education
  6. shared decision making
  7. health and functional status

Now let’s take a closer look at how these elements affect the patient experience.

Timely Care

First, timely care is an important piece of the patient experience. Timely care is the expectation that appointments be prompt and information be readily available. The World Health Organization reports that timely care increases both health outcomes and confidence in the healthcare system.

Provider Communication

Second, provider communication is another important component of the patient experience. Provider communication is demonstrated through continuity of care and increased access to physicians and nurses. The National Library of Medicine states that collaborative team management and post discharge follow-up phone calls are methods that increase both the patient experience and patient satisfaction.

Patient Rating of Doctor

Another important aspect of the patient experience is the patient rating of the doctor. The patient rating of the doctor is, in part, affected by various quality indicators such as communication, appointments, and access to the provider. Patient satisfaction scores have been found to be higher in areas where there was increased hospital competition for patient loyalty.

Access to Specialists

In addition to the patient rating of the doctor, access to specialists also has a positive influence on the patient experience. For example, easy access to pain management providers, a trauma nurse leadership program, and oncology nurse navigators have been found to positively impact the patient’s experience in the inpatient setting. Patients want information, and the healthcare systems that give this to patients are more financially successful and effective.

Health Promotion and Education

Health promotion and education are also extremely beneficial. This involves delivering pertinent information and facilitating health-related changes. Nurses make an important difference here. Nursing-sensitive indicators, the care that nurses deliver at the bedside, directly impacts outcomes for the patient’s health, safety, and experience. Communication about care and medications, discharge teaching, pain management, responsiveness to needs and questions, and nurse manager rounding were all found to increase patient satisfaction during their hospital experience.

Shared Decision-Making

Shared decision-making is another quality indicator concerning the patient experience. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recommends reflective practice, nurse-patient relationship, communication, assessment, cultural knowing, teaching and learning, ethical knowing, interprofessional practice, and negotiation as best practices for implementing shared decision making.

Health and Functional Status

Finally, a patient’s health and functional status is another element involved in the patient experience. This is because when patients have a decreased perception of pain and increased levels of comfort, along with a specific pain management program, patient satisfaction scores increase significantly. Although patient experience and satisfaction are separate entities, they are intertwined and create a quality picture for healthcare to assess from various angles.

Benefits of a Positive Patient Experience

There are countless benefits to a positive patient experience. For example, The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions reports the following financial benefits for the health care provider:  

  • Hospitals with higher patient experience scores have higher profitability. 
  • Hospitals with better experience scores earn significantly more than they spend in comparison to those with low ratings.
  • A highly engaged staff likely boosts patient experience, translating into better performance. 
  • Medicare Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) incentives, which are directly tied to patient experience, improve a hospital’s financial performance. 

More importantly, nurses strive to improve the patient experience in order to provide high-quality patient-centered care. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality outlines the following benefits for the patient:

  • Patient experience is tied to prevention and disease management at both the practice and individual provider levels.
  • When patients have higher rated experiences with care, they adhere to medical advice and treatment plans.
  • Patients with better care experiences often have better health outcomes. For example, patients with more positive reports about their experiences with care had better health outcomes a year after discharge.
  • Measures of patient experience can reveal critical system problems, such as delays in returning test results and gaps in communication.

Advanced Nursing Degrees

A well-qualified staff requires the right education. An educated nurse is one of the factors impacting better patient safety and outcomes. Educated nurses need critical thinking skills, leadership skills, and health promotion knowledge. Organizations seek these candidates out in order to provide the best patient care. If you are considering pursuing a career in nursing, then look no further than Ottawa University for your education. You can earn your Bachelor of Nursing degree and gain the skills and education you need to serve on the front lines of health care. As our students begin working towards their bachelor's degree in Nursing, they often consider continuing on to complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). It is a game changer for their nursing career. 

Ottawa University RN to BSN Bridge Program

Ottawa University now offers our unique RN to MSN bridge program. Qualified students may participate in our Nursing Bridge program, enrolling in three specified graduate-level courses in substitute of three specified undergraduate-level courses. Doing so gives students three courses completed toward their MSN while completing their RN-BSN. Your MSN program at Ottawa University is then shortened from 36 credit hours to 27 credit hours. Students pay undergraduate level tuition for graduate level courses, saving both time and money! 

The Future of Nursing

Many tributaries flow to make the end patient experience for successful healthcare organizations, including awareness of consumer expectations, health outcomes and safety, and financial success. Attracting and maintaining a well-educated BSN nursing staff highly increases the likelihood of that success. If patients are more satisfied, then a healthcare organization is going to be more successful financially, as well as in delivery of exceeding patient outcome goals. This becomes a revolving cycle that grows through the improved delivery of care and increased satisfaction with the patient experience.

Ottawa University's Online Nursing Degrees

The courses in Ottawa University's Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing programs are 100% online and accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. We make it easy for you to transfer credits in order to help keep tuition costs down. We also offer courses in accelerated 8-week terms in order to reduce your time to completion. These are just a few of the reasons why we are proud to be the best, fastest, and most affordable option locally in the Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix areas, as well as serving students nationally through our online degrees. Reach out to an enrollment advisor today!

See Also:

What You Need to Know About the Nursing Shortage

Choosing a Nursing Specialty: Guidance for New and Experienced Nurses

MSN Degree Caters to RNs Seeking Career Advancement

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