The other day I had an interesting conversation with someone who had been working in healthcare less than a month. Making her transition from the hospitality industry, she had lots of valuable experience in customer service. In our conversation, when I said that not all of the staff have patients but they all have customers, she challenged me. She felt very strongly about the term patient vs customer. “They are all patients,” she explained. “Even if the staff doesn’t work directly with the patients, they are still THEIR patients.”
Okay. I like this concept, but let’s ponder this a bit. When inpatient census is high and the nurses are juggling up to nine patients, are they still EVERYONE’s patients? In my opinion, they become everyone’s patients when everyone pitches in. That means having processes in place like a “no pass zone” and a high census plan that gets all hands on deck. The support can come in many forms including having administration pass fresh water and make rounds while the business office staff answers call lights, etc.
It so happened that as we were having this discussion of semantics that the nurses were up on the units scrambling with high census. Let’s just make sure that when we say that they are EVERYONE’s patients that they are really everyone’s patients.