If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard this statement, “Patients are just too demanding!,” I’d be writing this blog from my yacht! It never ceases to amaze me that people working in healthcare say things like this. I was recently interviewing a hospital executive who, when asked what one thing he’d want to improve the culture, said, “Change the patients’ expectations of us. They’re too demanding and unrealistic.” The upside of fielding comments like this is that it makes it so much easier to diagnose the underlying culture issues. The downside is that, when these attitudes are engrained among leaders, it makes it incredibly tough to improve the culture. Clearly, this type of comment is classic victim-thinking. It translates as: Poor us. Our patients don’t appreciate us; that’s why they score us so poorly on the satisfaction surveys. If only they truly understood us and our needs, they’d be kinder and more generous toward us.
Time to End Victim-Think
I think it’s high time to stop the victim thinking. If we all commit to challenge this type of comment, rather than letting it pass, we might just move the needle on the patient experience. Count me in. How about you?