It’s no secret that patients want to be heard, but the same goes for the employees. When leaders make rounds it’s important to find out if employees have what they need to do their jobs. The problem is that if employees point out shortages of supplies or a lack of tools and the manager does nothing about it; chances are they won’t bother with any information or suggestions next time you ask.
I was recently doing a series of nursing engagement sessions with staff nurses. In the course of our discussions, nurse leaders were shocked to learn about common frustrations the nurses have. When reviewing and reinforcing the nurse’s role in HCAHPS we discovered some of the barriers keeping them from delivering the optimal patient experience. Lack of wastebaskets at the bedside was adding to patient clutter – a cleanliness issue. Missing markers kept nurses from updating whiteboards necessary to reinforce communication about the care plan. Inadequate supply of pillows and linens made it difficult to make patients comfortable.
Unfortunately it’s not uncommon for employees to stop asking if their first two or three requests go unanswered. I’ll never forget the nursing unit I toured that had several over bed tables missing causing patients to have to place meal trays in their laps. The staff gave up after the manager said it wasn’t in the budget.
When employees point out the need for tools and supplies that will improve the patient experience, let them know you are listening and will take action. When you do, you raise confidence among your staff that their suggestions are important and you value their contributions.