By Lori Gunther

Leaders in healthcare strive to provide safe, high-quality patient care that will yield the very best outcomes. Nurse leaders have the power to ensure that patients and families have the best possible experience while they are in their care – and this is central to all healthcare quality improvement initiatives. In order to do this, nurse leaders need to “buy-in” to the concept of Patient Experience or ‘PX’. They also want to foster employee engagement, communication, and establish processes for improved PX.

More Communications

Providers don’t talk to each other enough. Increased quality communications needs to be a priority. Members of the care team—physicians, nurses, social workers and even caregivers—don’t spend enough time communicating with each other about the patient’s needs, and no one from the care team spends enough time communicating with the patient. We are all busy – but the increasingly complex needs of patients and families, an explosion of medical knowledge, technology and overall shifts in healthcare systems have created the need for more effective communication at all levels. Communication plays a huge part, especially for leaders because improving the patient experience depends on strong collaboration among all types of providers from across the care continuum.

Improving Effectiveness

We need to link everything together. That includes ensuring staff alignment to strategic plans of improving patient experience in order to safeguard successful outcomes. We need to have meaningful discussions about the challenges nurse leaders face and provide solutions, particularly those solutions that have shown great success. This will, in turn, support leaders in their quest for improved PX.

My hope is that nurse leaders will continue to engage with their employees to support QI initiatives so they can determine which strategies are most effective, leading to improved communication between staff and the families they serve.

 – Lori Gunther is a frequent speaker at Synova Associates Nurse Leadership Forums