We all have hot buttons or at least pet peeves that can irk us to no end. A few of my pet peeve statements are all too often overheard during mystery shopping and sometimes during personal healthcare encounters. Two that cause my blood pressure to rise quickly are, “You’re not my patient,” and “It’s not my job.”
When a patient hears, “You’re not my patient” from a person wearing a hospital nametag and uniform he will likely wonder, “Then whose patient am I?” Put yourself in the patient’s shoes and think how you would feel if someone said that to you. Imagine lying in a hospital bed and reaching out for help only to be told that you’re not the responsibility of the team. Everyone must own the patient experience. With a sense of ownership, that statement should never cross your mind let alone your lips.
“It’s not my job,” is another statement that demonstrates lack of ownership. I remember a nurse saying that to a patient who asked her to empty his trash while we were doing evening rounds. She was orienting me to my job as a new graduate nurse. I was appalled and embarrassed. Once in the hall she gave me some sisterly “advice.” She told me that if we started doing everyone else’s work, they’d all get lazy and expect it of us. She also pointed out that as nurses, this type of menial task was far below our level of skill. If we started doing these jobs no one would respect our role as nurses. Needless to say, I didn’t last long in that environment. I didn’t want to work with anyone who thought she was too good to respond to patient requests. Nor did I want to work in a culture that promoted this level of arrogance.
The point is that everyone needs to own the patient experience. Virtually any patient request can be addressed respectfully and efficiently without ever making the patient feel bad for asking. It is your job and they are your patients.