Improving HCAHPS: Why You Should Invest in Nurse Satisfaction

Due to the high cost of medical services, healthcare providers have minimal “wiggle room” with expenses, and rely heavily on financial reimbursements. With hospital rakings correlated to patient satisfaction, hospitals are focused on quickly optimizing the patient experience, raising HCAHPS scores, and avoiding financial penalties. One of the best ways to quickly and effectively improve patient satisfaction is to focus on the happiness of nursing staff.

Although it is often leaders and executives who determine patient-centered initiatives, it is nurses that bear the brunt of these efforts. Policies such as immediately answering call lights and memorizing scripts for bedside comments put a great deal of pressure on nurses. It is no shock, therefore, that job stress among nurses is among the highest in the healthcare industry. While some pressure in the workplace is healthy and motivational, it is important to find a balance for staff members.

Nurses spend more time directly engaging with patients than do any other hospital staff. These interactions significantly shape the patient’s satisfaction with care, and therefore, are a key predictor of an organization’s HCAHPS scores. Job-related stress or dissatisfaction with working conditions are not easily masked, and will typically carry over into nurses’ interactions with patients. If patients are displeased with these experiences, they are more likely to provide unfavorable responses on HCAHPS surveys, and less likely to recommend the hospital to others.

However trite it may be, there is truth behind the statement, “happy nurses equals happy patients.” Confident, empowered nurses will communicate more effectively with patients and deliver higher quality care. For this reason, it is essential to identify and mitigate any sources of nurse dissatisfaction. Leaders must ensure that nurses are satisfied with their work environment and feel well-equipped to resolve patient issues.

When it comes to the patient experience and quality of care, it all starts with the satisfaction of front-line staff. Having a positive, satisfied nursing staff has proven to enhance patient experiences and help improve HCAHPS scores. Click below to see how one hospital benefitted from investing in nurse satisfaction after implementing CipherHealth’s digital rounding solution, CipherRounds.

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In her role as Market Manager for Hospitals and Health Systems, Lucia Huang, RN, integrates her previous experiences on the front lines of patient care within the broader context of the business of healthcare. She is passionate about empowering nurses to provide the highest quality and experience of patient care through technology. Lucia graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Economics from the Wharton School and a BSN from the School of Nursing.