Collaboration and teamwork are as essential to the patient experience as they are to the employee experience. No one wants to go to work with people they don’t like or with whom they don’t get along. Working in discord is difficult for employees, but may be even worse for patients who are already in a vulnerable position.
What happens when patients sense that their care team doesn’t get along? In both our mystery shopping experiences and my own personal observations, I’ve come to appreciate just how damaging discord is to the patient experience. Patients lose confidence in their care and often feel uncomfortable just being in the presence of staff that doesn’t get along.
During one of my mom’s clinic visits, we felt like intruders as the doctor and nurse sniped at one another during mom’s procedure. The air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. When we got out, my mom let out a sigh of relief and said, “Well that was awkward.” How sad that she was made to feel awkward when the whole encounter should have been about her and not them.
Patients hear and see more than you think. Even when the discord isn’t overt arguing, patients read body language and sense discord that makes them feel unsafe. Why? Because they know that energy and attention is on something other than their care. Stay focused on what matters most. The patient.