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.


What’s the Patient Experience Really About?

July 7, 2017

Such a great question. Since it moved to value-based purchasing, the U.S. healthcare industry has been focusing on the patient experience, trying to measure it using 31 questions on the HCAHPS survey. What we’re ignoring, however, is the day-to-day challenges that patients are dealing with in their lives and the social determinants that influence their

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    Do No Harm Includes Pain Management

    June 23, 2017

    Recently, I had a discussion with a retired physician from the Veteran’s Administration. She expressed her frustration over the urgent need for pain medication and the lack of time to do the requisite research and education for the patient, which has contributed to the current opioid epidemic. I told her that I had a wisdom

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    25 Years of C.A.R.E.: How It All Started

    June 16, 2017

    Twenty-five years ago in June 1992, my husband Dallas Smith and I launched what was to become The C.A.R.E. Channel. We met through Rising Sun Records in 1984. However, I’d already been involved in working with nurses through the Center for Health Awareness in San Jose, CA. It was beginning this work that drew my

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    What Do We Know About Music and Music Therapy for the Sick and Tense?

    June 9, 2017

    Music has been used therapeutically for thousands of years. From David playing the harp for Saul to Aristotle and Plato declaring that no state leader is healthy without music, we have found that music adds an emotional and spiritual quality to our lives. Today, we know even more about the potential for music to be used

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    The Patient Experience is All About the “Vibes”

    June 2, 2017

    Remember when people were talking a lot about the “vibes” of a person or a place? Vibes was short for vibrations. Vibes inferred that a place or person felt good or bad, safe or in danger, comfortable or uncomfortable. Well, vibes has a studied and defined position in psychology.  The quality of “goodness” or “pleasantness”

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    Measuring the Patient Experience of Music and Nature: A New Study

    May 26, 2017

    “Not everything can be measured and not everything that can be measured, matters.” I am not sure when I heard this. But it always comes up when people talk about the validation and comparative value of qualitative and quantitative research. In response, more and more researchers are using mixed methodologies to seriously investigate the human

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    Can Hospital Noise Be Canceled by Other Noise?

    May 18, 2017

    This is the big question when thinking about how to reduce the negative effects of hospital noise on patients. Noise is a sound that is unwanted, abrasive, distracting, irrelevant, and annoying. It has no distinct, uniform characteristics as being a “noise.” It is a quality assigned by listeners to what they are hearing. The acoustic

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    Living the Life of a Nurse

    May 12, 2017

    This past summer I was on the faculty of a retreat in California for Oncology nurses. It was a three-day weekend event, drawing nurses from Northern, Southern, and Central California. The retreat was all about self-care, about defining and recovering from burnout — about living the life of a nurse. A nurse at the retreat

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    Patient Safety: The Tale of the Lost COW

    April 28, 2017

    Hospital corridors, by design, are wide. They have to accommodate people, wheelchairs, gurneys, computers, meal carts, and all sorts of other things. They just have to be wide. The risk of being wide, however, is that there is enough room to add more equipment, such as computers on wheels (COWs). Inevitably, these COWs wander from

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    What We Celebrate During Patient Experience Week, April 24-28

    April 21, 2017

    Healthcare has never been about anything but the patient experience. Florence Nightingale put it as the guiding mission in her Notes on Nursing. In Nightingale’s day, there were neither antibiotics nor pain meds. There was only the environment in which care was delivered and the active commitment by nurses to relieve patients’ suffering. Today, we

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  • Pain Management

    How Can Patients Be More Involved in Their Pain Management?

    April 14, 2017

    The Opioid Epidemic is the result of relying solely on drugs to remove all pain. But, it’s time to rethink what is possible when patients are fully involved in understanding and contributing to their own pain management. Bringing pain down to a manageable level may not be removing it.  However, it allows patients to safely

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