Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Give Me A Hug

on November 21, 2014

hugWe talked about empathy in our meeting today, or to be more exact, how to express more empathy to our patients.

The need for this to be the chosen topic was directly related to the recent drop in our Patient Satisfaction scores — the numbers that relate to our reimbursement from Medicare, which we, as the retirement capital state, is related to the livelihood of our hospital system.

So, it’s not enough that Medicare now dings us for early readmissions (no chance noncompliance and multiple comorbidities play into this, hmm), now we have to come across like sniveling simpletons because skill is not the first indicator; the factor that plays significantly into reimbursement is whether your patient likes you or not.

For me this is no problem. I have the disease To Please , a condition that makes me an exceptional nurse. I drop my ego off at the door and treat every patient the way I would treat my child. Who am I kidding, some I treat better than my daughter. Others aren’t as blessed with the ability to sooth the patient through words, reassurances, and willingness when the patient says “Jump”. They either have a healthier ego than me or, hehe, sensitivity issues.

The reality of the fiscal value of “patient satisfaction” scares me because I don’t think empathy can be expressed with a script or a directive from your manager to be “more caring”. You may come to work with it, but somewhere in your twelve hour day, it gets lost between your twenty minute meal break and your bathroom break five hours later.  You can’t teach empathy. You either have it or you don’t.

And if you don’t have it, or it’s getting harder and harder to express it to patients, it’s time for you to change careers…

or take a long vacation. (:

One response to “Give Me A Hug

  1. writerinsoul says:

    Yes – you can’t pay people to *care* and yet often when they DO, they are no more rewarded than those who don’t.

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