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Patient Connection in Nursing

According to Adam Grant, management professor at Wharton Business School, job satisfaction and meaningful work are the two things that people look out for while searching for a job. Nurses are no exception to this – making a difference in other people's lives is what attracts most of the people to this profession. Unfortunately, according to a report, among the hospital workers, nurses had the lowest score for job satisfaction and sense of engagement in the workplace.

According to the Annual Pulse Report by Press Ganey, a consulting firm that partners with health care organizations, "employee partnership" score of RNs, LPNs/LVNs and nursing assistants were the lowest among the four divisions of hospital employees. Nurses have high level of patient contact and interaction and this finding seems to contradict the results of Grant's study, which was published in the Harvard Business Review. This report says that the more connected the employees feel to the users of their services the better their performance.

Mary Boustani, MHA, FACHE, former hospital administrator and current managing consultant for Press Ganey, remarked that it would be better if the end users of the service (the patients) after the experience to share it with the employees. This is particularly important as nurses rarely see the long-term outcomes of the patients. As the patient shares their experience, it gives time and opportunity to form an emotional connection between the patient and the nursing staff. Nurses get time to see their efforts as clinicians. Patients returning to visit the nurses will definitely make an impact on the staff.

"Hospital leaders can do their bit for recognizing the efforts of the nurses by taking more time to read and post comments from patients", explained Boustani. Arranging events for patients to share their stories will give an opportunity for the nurses to make an emotional attachment to their field and can serve to re-energize them.

Grant has suggested few tips to increase the connections of nurses and their supervisors with patients and families:

Long-term follow-up – Invite former patients to visit, talk and write about their hospital experiences. This would help the nurses to see the difference their work has made on others lives.

Personalize patient interaction – Collect unique information about each patient during admission. This would help to have greater identification and empathy for better bonding.

Collect novel information – Collect information about the novel ways by which nurses can make a difference. For example, stories of how nurses have taken courageous steps to identify and correct the errors made by doctors.

Get patient's perspective – Enable nurses to see the world from a patient's point of view.

Recognize a job well done – Provide visible awards to recognize meaningful actions taken to benefit the patients.