Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D. Blog

Thoughts and ideas on healthcare

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I'm Susan E. Mazer -- a knowledge expert and thought leader on how the environment of care impacts the patient experience. Topics I write about include safety, satisfaction, hospital noise, nursing, care at the bedside, and much more. Subscribe below to get email notices so you won't miss any great content.

PX2018: The State of the Human Experience in Healthcare

April 27, 2018

Elder careThe Patient Experience Movement is, indeed, a movement in motion.

At the Beryl Institute PX2018 Conference in Chicago last week, I met more professionals invested more in the humanity of their patients than those who focus solely on the patient diagnosis and its financial implications.

There was some talk about patient satisfaction but this took a back seat to the push to recognize the larger framework of the human experience.  The patient experience has finally distinguished itself from patient satisfaction.

Still, there are many who do not know how the two are different.  Patient satisfaction asks, “How did we do?”  Patient experience asks, “What happened?”

There are many hospital leaders who speak to the patient experience but do not invest in it.  The investment comes in many forms, but it is not so much about more funding as it is about assuring that staff can provide exemplary care.

Discovering the Heart of the Patient Experience

Over three days, 1,100 attendees at the PX2018 Conference pushed each other to look deeper into the eyes and hearts of each other to answer questions like, “What more can we do? What are we missing? How can we reignite the passion in those who experience burnout from trying too long without being heard?

In a survey of consumers conducted by the Beryl Institute earlier this year, results indicated that the most important component of a person’s patient experience was a feeling that staff cared about them.

For this to happen, caring must be consistent throughout the entire healthcare organization, in every interaction and event, in every place, and on every phone call.

Need to Experience Care to Show Care

During this PX Conference, the idea of “caring” was emphasized in every workshop, educational session, and keynote. Georgina Garcia, RN, MS, Executive Director of Kaiser Permanente, West Los Angeles Hospital said, “The consumer doesn’t care how much you know until they know that you care.”  

How we make our caring evident to patients and family members is the challenge.

And, I wonder if clinicians can be caring if they do not experience caring from others. Can nurses be compassionate if they themselves are not treated with compassion?

There’s No How-to Manual for Human Caring

Professional oaths, policies, and procedures in the healthcare system provide the language and tasks — even the obligation to care.  However, the human experience of is not about any of that.

Rather, it demands authenticity that moves from the heart of one person deep into the heart of another, that is unfailing in the caring it expresses, and unquestioned in the mind and experience of the patient and family.

Dr. Jean Watson, whose nursing theory of Human Caring is now practiced across the globe, identifies “sustaining humanistic-altruistic values by practicing of loving-kindness, compassion, and equanimity with self/others” as the first of her 10 Caritas Processes.

While Dr. Watson’s work has been directed to nursing, all of us involved in improving the patient experience are called upon to consider our understanding of human caring.  Acknowledging the humanity in ourselves and others, respecting the sacred space created by moments of human connection, enriches our own experience of being human.

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