Surveys. We’ve seen a great deal of them in our daily lives, from registration forms with appliances to internet personality quizzes.
In actuality, surveys are used for marketing. They measure how a certain product is performing or how well a commercial is selling a product.
In nursing and hospitals, the surveys that are used measure how satisfied a patient is. They measure whether a patient was happy with their experience or dissatisfied.
This is another way of management monitoring nursing in the guise of improving patient care. In addition, patients may not appreciate their care, though it helps them.
What are Surveys?
Press Gainey is the most popular survey with hospitals and other medical facilities. Generally, the patient is sent a packet to fill out, detailing how they felt about their stay.
The surveys can measure the quality of the food, how well the nurses treated them, and the amount of wait time they experienced. Many other metrics are also looked at to help management determine where they need to improve.
Only certain patients are sent the survey, and then a small amount of those receiving them actually fill out the forms. Some don’t even bother, and this may be due to dissatisfaction or simply not wanting to take the time.
As nurses know, the survey is only as good as its sample size. If only the patients with an ax to grind complain, then the results we be skewed toward the negative.
How Do Surveys Affect Nurses?
Unfortunately, surveys affect nurses on many levels. Some facilities offer monetary incentives if the metrics meet certain thresholds.
They also take the focus off patient care. If we are too busy worrying if their food arrived cold, then how can we effectively take care of them?
Some patients also do not understand the need for waiting. For instance, a long wait in an ER may be due to several traumas and have nothing to do with the ability of the staff to meet the patient’s needs.
When nursing becomes more about pleasing the patient than about helping them, nursing may turn down a dark track. Often, patients are displeased with the inconvenience of being in a hospital, and that is not something that is easily changed.
Blending Service and Care
Surveys have their place in modern healthcare. It helps to get a bird’s eye view of what is going on with patients under our care.
The problem starts when too much emphasis is placed on these surveys. When nurses are told to act to make the numbers skew toward the positive, the question has to be asked if this is in the best interests of the patient.
The patient may think they are unsatisfied when they received excellent care. Sometimes, hospitals are not very comfortable places, they are not hotels, and patients shouldn’t expect to be pampered.
It is a difficult balancing act between the two to determine when surveys have overstepped their bounds. In the end, the determining factor will be the patient and whether changes made for the survey ultimately benefit them or hurt them.