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.

Reflections on 2013: All About Patient Care

January 3, 2014

Susan Mazer's reflections on patient care in 2013The end of a year begs for reflection and projection, for regrets and resolutions, and for ways to start over — even if what happened last year continues into the new year.  For me, 2013 was both amazing and exciting, as well as a year when life became more precious.

In reviewing my blog posts about patient care over the last 12 months, there are a few worth noting because they mark certain breakthroughs of understanding, offer new insights, and got responses from you, my readers.

HCAHPS Version of Jeopardy: Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You (August 23) was inspired by the television game, but more related to my sense of the gap between what patients say and how much we can learn from listening and paying attention.

Welcome to the game of “Jeopardy 2,” the HCAHPS version of the most popular quiz game on television! Today, we are going to provide some online clues and you have to guess the appropriate HCAHPS question to match the clue…

I Witness: My Under the Cover Patient Experience (July 12) came from my own health crisis of E Coli Septicemia, which rewarded me with a 10-day hospitalization, including five days in a sub-acute unit.  It was the first time a physician ever told me that I could have died and the first time I didn’t die when I could have.

Having just spent 10 days in the hospital with E. coli, enteritus, acute colitis, a urinary tract infection, and septicemia, I have great tales to tell about my patient experience…

Pain Management is More than Drugs (September 20) is about the ways that children ask for relief from hurt, even if the hurt is imaginary.  Pain management requires more than medication; it calls upon the healing powers of touch, caring, and nurturing.

My darling niece, Jessica, at three and a half years of age has already learned all she needs to know about pain management.  What she does first is declare what hurts.

From Qatar-Universality of Nursing (June 14) draws upon reflections from the first conference of Middle-Eastern Nurses Uniting in Human Caring that took place in Amman, Jordan; and the two day workshop my husband Dallas Smith and I presented in Doha, Qatar, with Dr. Jean Watson.   Halfway around the world, a patient population so different than ours, but nurses are still nurses and the concerns are universal.

It is when we include caring and love in our work and in our life that we discover nursing, like teaching, is more than just a job; it is also a life-giving and life-receiving career for a lifetime of growth and learning. — Jean Watson, Ph.D., RN, AHN-BC, FAAN

HCAHPS Scores and Curry (August 13) looks at the mysterious ways of HCAHPS scores that seem to defy comprehension.

In Indian cooking, curry is a generic word for “stew” — many spices put together in mysterious ways that result in a taste that is a combination of sweet and hot. The relationship I see between HCAHPS scores and curry is that the questions are the spices and the outcomes are as mysterious as the final taste of a fine curry…

2014 holds much promise for many of the issues that confronted us in 2013.  And, it also adds challenges that we do not yet know.

Patient care is now defined as clinical outcomes and the patient experience. Clinical outcomes now include post-hospitalization.  HCAHPS remains and ever pressing report card that, although imperfect, reflects what happened to the patient according to the patient.

Accumulative learning means that all we now know from last year informs the coming year.   That is the ultimate paradox of the new year concept, and one that we can all think about as we move forward.