When Your Husband is the Patient

“Honey. Honey, wake up. We have to go to the hospital right now.”

My husband has had his share of health problems, but I’ll never get used to being awakened from a sound sleep to those words.

I somehow managed to get myself out of bed, brush my teeth, and throw on some clothes before braving the several feet of snow and merciless winter wind to get to the car. As he was doubled over in pain in the passenger seat, I pulled out of the driveway, into the dark and headed toward the local emergency department.

Walking in the front door toward the registration desk, I took notice of everything around us. Having worked at my share of hospitals, I was on high alert. Was the person at the desk looking up as we walked in? Was the waiting area clean? Were there signs telling us where to go and what we needed to do? I noticed everything.

It’s funny how we’re so much more vigilant when it’s a loved one as opposed to ourselves.

I got him over to the front desk and smiled when the woman told us her name and said she was going to walk us through the registration process. She was patient while he took a few extra moments to pull his wallet from his back pocket. The pain in his stomach made it hard for him to straighten up but she didn’t seem to mind.

We got back to the treatment area almost immediately and I noticed that everyone we passed on the way to his room acknowledged us in some way, whether it was a smile, a hello, or just eye contact. I started to relax. A little.

It wasn’t long before the physician came in and asked one simple open-ended question, “Hello, Mr. Kalthoff. What brings you in tonight?”

Anyone who knows my husband knows he can’t ever answer a question with a simple answer. If you ask him what time it is, you’ll learn all about the history of watchmaking.

I watched this doctor’s face as he relayed his entire medical history and that of his father’s and was truly impressed that she didn’t interrupt. She asked very focused questions to get him back on track but it never came off as rude or impatient. I could use some of that, especially when I ask what he’d like for dinner.

She got to the heart of the medical issue that brought him to the ER and in no time he was back in imaging getting a CT scan. They even let me go back with him, which I didn’t expect, and told us it would be about an hour before we’d get some results. I looked at the clock and started the countdown.

While we waited, several people came in to check on him, including a student who had anticipatory service down to an art. Without having to ask, he brought me a glass of water and a pillow for the uncomfortable chair I’d been sitting in and an extra blanket for my husband. I was impressed. He was oblivious. The pain meds had kicked in.

Which brings me to the point. Often, patients don’t notice the things family members notice. And even if they do, they’re less likely to be upset by them. I can make excuses for doctors and nurses all day if I’m the patient, but if it’s my family, that protective instinct kicks in and I’m ready for battle.

Thankfully, that night in the emergency department, there was no need for battle. Everyone was marvelous. The CT results came back sooner than expected and his condition was explained in a way we both could understand. We left feeling much better than we did when we came in and I happily filled out the survey when it came a few days later in the mail.

When we talk about patient experience, we cannot forget the people who are with them. They notice everything. They worry more. They have more questions. They listen closely to how their loved one is spoken to or spoken about. We have to remember to include them in the discussion and address their needs, as well.

The Case for Leader Rounding

They call it sacred time. That hour between 9 and 10am where the leaders of the hospital go into their assigned rooms out on the floors and talk to patients and their families. It’s an hour when no meetings are to be scheduled. It’s protected time, dedicated solely to patient rounds.  

Sometimes it’s a social visit: how are things going, is there anything we can do to improve your stay, do you need anything, etc. Sometimes, it’s a focus on a particular issue: is it quiet at night, are you able to get enough rest, what kind of noise is keeping you awake, is it equipment, staff, other patients?

After rounding, there’s a huddle to review any big issues that need escalation and recognize any staff that patients said provided outstanding care and service. It becomes very apparent at those huddles who is doing those rounds and who is phoning it in. When day after day, a person says, “My patients were sleeping,” or “My patients said everything was fine,” we know there’s not a whole lot of rounding going on.

It was a source of frustration for me, trying to make those leaders understand the importance of connecting with patients. After all, this was our opportunity to see the hospital through their eyes and find out what’s working well, what’s not, and what’s important to them so we could make things better. Why wouldn’t they make time for that?

Pleading and begging and even data about how leader rounds improves patient experience scores didn’t appear to be having much of an impact. Turns out, nothing is as compelling as a real-life story.

Doug was in charge of facilities, a no nonsense kind of guy who made sure all the engineering, heating and cooling, and equipment was humming. I never would have guessed he’d be so passionate about patient care.

He was in a room one morning trying to have a conversation with the patient and his family members and needed an interpreter. We had interpreter services with an outside company and, while reaching those individuals was sometimes a chore, it was necessary. After connecting with them, it was clear the family was in the dark about what was happening when the physicians and nurses came in.

Doug hung in there. He stayed with them, wanting to know if they knew what the patient’s condition was, if they understood what the medications were for, if they’d had a chance to ask questions, and on and on. He reassured them, told them he’d get them the answers they needed and left to find the manager of the unit.

She, too, did some digging and identified each of the nurses who had been caring for this family. Of the six or seven, only one had documented in the chart the she had used the language assistance program.

From that moment on, everything changed with this family. No one went into that patient’s room without the interpreter service and no one left without checking with the family that all of their questions were answered.

We likely never would have known any of this without the leader rounding program and for Doug’s persistence. He could have reported that the patient wasn’t English speaking and the interpreter services weren’t working. He could have reported that the family said everything was fine. He could have skipped the room altogether and just said the patient was sleeping, But he didn’t. He went in, took the time, and helped this family get answers.

I can only imagine what they must have been feeling up until Doug stepped in.

Some hospitals don’t do leader rounding because they think it’s too much work or they don’t want the nurses to think they’re checking up on them. We do it because we feel that leaders are part of the care team. We bring a different perspective in with us and we’re another set of eyes making sure patients and their families are receiving the best possible care and service.

Doug’s story was just what we needed to light a fire under some of the leaders and help them see just how important it is. I hope it does the same for you.

The Elephant in the Emergency Department

I am a big fan of Liz Jazwiec and her 2009 book Eat That Cookie! Make Workplace Positivity Pay Off for Individuals, Teams and Organizations. In it, she talks of her time as the manager of a busy Chicago emergency department where the motto seemed to be “I’m here to save your ass, not kiss it.”

I first heard of Liz when the hospital I was working for at the time hired her to give a talk to our managers and directors. She had been a patient experience cynic who thought the whole thing was ridiculous. The president of her hospital told her she had to get her patient experience scores up or she’d be looking for another job. At first, she resisted but soon realized he was serious.

Like so many nurse managers I’ve met, she thought patient experience was fluff stuff and had no place in healthcare, especially a busy ED where things were quite literally life and death. She sneered at the smile police who told her to “just be nice” while she was working hard to bring people back from the brink of death.

To Liz, many of her patients were cranky, ungrateful whiners who were tough to deal with. But as she started being nicer, she was surprised that they started being less cranky, showed some appreciation, and were easier to deal with.

Eventually, Liz not only got her patient experience scores up, she became a believer in the patient experience movement, even becoming a coach for The Studer Group. I love her story and if you haven’t read her book, you really should.

Something else to consider when it comes to the ED is throughput and the effect it has on the nurses.

Much of the dissatisfaction in the ED comes from waiting too long with no idea of what’s happening and why. Staff can certainly help by keeping patients informed but when things are backed up, staff start feeling the pressure, too. When there’s no available bed on the floor, an ED nurse has to now be a telemetry nurse, something they don’t particularly enjoy.

ED nurses are trained to stabilize and either discharge or admit. Once the decision has been made, the ED nurse moves on to the next patient. To have a bunch of patients on gurneys lining the hallway needing ongoing care makes ED nurses anxious. They want the patients to get up to the floors as much as the patients do.

Additionally, there are patients in the ED who need specialized care that the hospital may or may not provide. Sometimes, getting a surgeon or psychiatrist to come in can be a challenge and getting a patient transferred to another facility can take hours. These situations, too, can make staff anxious; they have to manage the questions and complaints but they’re powerless to actually fix them.  

Without efficient discharge processes on the floors, patients can end up staying a day or two longer than needed and that means longer waits in the emergency department for patients who need an inpatient bed. Case managers, social workers, hospitalists, attending physicians, and house supervisors all play a role that affects wait times, and, subsequently, patient experience in the ED.

Nothing can take the place of a warm greeting, staff that meet and even anticipate your needs, and physicians that explain things in a way you can understand. But when it comes to patient satisfaction in the ED, you have to include throughput and inpatient discharge processes in your efforts or you’re only solving part of the problem.

The Family Conference

I hadn’t been involved in the case. I didn’t know anything about why the family was upset, only that their father had died and they had questions about what had happened.

I met the patient’s two adult daughters in the hospital lobby and escorted them back to our conference room where several staff members, including the hospitalist physician who had cared for him, were waiting. After we’d gone around the table and introduced ourselves, I asked the daughters to tell us about their concerns.

As they told their story, I looked around the table and took note of how we were sitting, where our hands were, what kinds of expressions were on our faces. Most of us were sitting forward in our chairs, hands together, eyes on the sisters, while periodically nodding our heads or pursing our lips as they spoke. One of us sat back in his chair, arms folded across his chest, looking mostly at the table. The sisters noticed.

“Why can’t you look at me?” one of them demanded. “I’ve been asking questions about what happened and all you can do is stare down at the papers in front of you.”

He looked startled. “I just want to be sure I’m answering your questions accurately. I printed parts of his record so I don’t say anything incorrect.”

I could appreciate where he was coming from; he came to the family conference prepared to answer medical questions about what had happened. He didn’t come prepared to address their feelings about what had happened.

The woman continued, “All of you at this table have offered an apology and I believe everyone here feels genuinely sorry. Except you.” I shifted uncomfortably in my chair as she pointed at him.

“Maybe you do feel bad. Maybe you do have some empathy for me and my sister but you need to learn how to make people see that. I don’t believe for one second that you care at all and I really hope I’m wrong. If you really do care, then don’t just say you’re sorry. Show it.”

I was starting to feel really bad for him. Here he was in a room with several staff members, including the Chief Medical Officer, getting raked over the coals for a death that really wasn’t his fault. And that’s where he was stuck – it wasn’t my fault.

I’ve said before that patients and their families don’t care whose fault something is. They just want to know you heard them, you’re sorry, and you’ll do your best to be sure it doesn’t happen again. In this case, the patient’s daughters wanted medical answers, yes, but they also wanted all of us to understand how difficult things had been and to take steps to improve. This poor guy was stuck.

As uncomfortable as this family conference was at times, I’m very glad we had it. It gave all of us at the table a chance to hear directly from the family how scary, confusing, and frustrating it can be when loved ones are in our care. We forget sometimes that treating a patient also means caring for a family, and showing genuine empathy involves more than simply saying you’re sorry.

For the Non-Clinical PX Leader

Last time, I asked the question: “Do you have to be a nurse to be a good patient experience professional?”

I know a lot of great patient experience leaders who are nurses but I don’t think an RN is a prerequisite. Sure, being a nurse gives you some street cred when you first walk onto a unit and nurses might be a little more inclined to listen to you because they know you know what their job is like. But it’s not everything.

So what should we non-clinical patient experience leaders do?

  1. Listen to and support the clinical staff. This is the most important part of the job. Happy nurses make for happy patients.
  2. Never immediately assume that the patient is telling you the whole story. The patient is telling you the story as he sees it. ALWAYS get the story from the nurse, too.
  3. Remove ridiculous and repetitive work. As an administrator, you have the power to make things easier for nurses. Ask them to tell you what makes their work difficult and then do everything you can to get rid of those things.
  4. Recognize and reward. Tell them, show them, do whatever you need to do to demonstrate how much you appreciate them.
  5. Hold them accountable for bad behavior. Let’s be honest, every now and again people are going to say or do something they shouldn’t but make your expectations clear and hold them to that standard. We should never meet rudeness with rudeness.
  6. Keep what’s best for the patient as your “True North” when faced with a difficult decision. It’s not about making them happy, it’s about doing what’s best for them.
  7. Spend some time on the floors shadowing a nurse. If you really want to know what it’s like, schedule a few hours out there with them. It’s an eye-opener.
  8. Talk to clinical staff as partners, not subordinates. After all, you can’t do the work yourself. All those ideas you have about improving things for patients, they are the ones that are going to be carrying those out. Talk with them, not at them.
  9. Recognize the science behind good service. Positive patient experience is in fact tied to better clinical outcomes. Be sure your clinical staff understands that.
  10. Keep learning. Consider getting certified. The exam for the CPXP designation isn’t easy. Demonstrate your commitment by continuing to keep up with the research.

The days of patient experience being a “nice to have” but not “have to have” are over. This is no longer fluff stuff; there’s actual science behind a better experience leading to better clinical outcomes.

A good patient experience leader can’t be just a pollyanna, always spreading sunshine and roses (although those don’t hurt). We have to know how to inspire, how to engage hearts and minds, and how to stay positive through difficult times. We have to be able to meet people – patients and staff – where they are and make a connection.

Do You Need to be a Nurse?

“Are you a nurse?” It’s a question I get asked a lot, mostly by nurses, and I wonder sometimes if it would have made a difference in my career.

When it comes to patient experience, the service trainings and other improvement efforts we spearhead are geared primarily toward nurses. Nurses comprise the largest percentage of the workforce in hospitals and they are typically the ones patients remember, even more than physicians. Of course we have training for ancillary staff and non-clinical teams but most of our conversations about patient experience involve nurses.

I’m sure if I had RN after my name it would change my perspective. I’d be a lot more comfortable on the floors, going in and out of patient rooms, and knowing what to do in case of a medical emergency. I’d have a much better understanding of what it’s like to work on a med-surg floor, trying to manage the many demands of patients, their families, and physicians, not to mention entering everything into the electronic medical record and the countless other things nurses have to do for 8-12 hours straight.

Am I really qualified to tell them how to deliver better care and service?

You might think not, but more and more, the people we’re hearing from in the patient experience conversation these days are the patients, themselves. We read their comments from the surveys and bring them in to tell their stories of what it was like when they were lying helpless in a hospital bed.

Many keynote speakers at Patient Experience conferences are not nurses, but patients, who talk about how frightened they were and how much they needed the hospital staff to show them more compassion and kindness. Patient and Family Advisory Councils and Focus Groups are widely used to suggest changes and improvements to the way care is delivered. And you know what? Nurses listen.

So I ask the question: do you need to be a nurse to be a good patient experience leader?

My opinion, of course, is no. While being an RN would give me a different perspective, it wouldn’t necessarily give me a better one. When you’re a hammer, everything tends to look like a nail and patient experience is more than nursing care.

I work with physicians, housekeepers, billers and coders, security guards, registrars, telephone operators, and many others, all of whom are involved in patient experience efforts. While I need to understand their perspective, I don’t need to have lived it, myself. I’ve never been a server in a restaurant but I know good service from bad.

I think what’s at the root of the question, “Are you a nurse?” is that nurses want to know that we understand how difficult their job can be. I think they’re worried that some administrative pencil pusher is going to try to tell them they how to do their job.

That is not my style.

I think what makes for a good patient experience professional has less to do with the initials after your name and more to do with the love inside your heart.

  • Can you stay calm when people are yelling?
  • Can you listen to criticism without getting defensive?
  • Can you de-escalate a tense situation?
  • Can you resolve a problem without throwing another person or department under the bus?
  • Can you inspire people to action around a common goal?
  • Can you figure out a way to present dry, dull data in an engaging way?
  • Can you genuinely connect with another person, especially one in some kind of pain, and convey sincere kindness and caring?

I believe that’s what makes for a good patient experience professional, nurse or not.

It’s the Perfect Day for a Grilled Cheese

He was angry. He was so angry, he got out of his hospital bed, grabbed his crutches, and walked down to administration to find the president to complain.

From his perspective, everything that could go wrong in a hospital stay had. Nothing was right. Everything was poor. He couldn’t imagine how we stayed in business if this was how we treated people. A few different staff members had tried to talk with him, explain things to him, tell him that he was wrong about us, that we really are a good hospital. Nothing helped.

“Somebody call Kate.”

I’ve been doing patient experience work for a long time so I’m used to going in and talking with people who are really upset. More often than not, I’m able to break through and resolve the situation. That day, I wasn’t so sure.

When they called me, he was refusing to eat, saying that he didn’t trust anything from our cafeteria. He said he had gotten so many trays of food that were wrong, he didn’t think any of them would be right. And he’d complained about it so much, he thought the kitchen staff might “mess with it.” Instead of trying to convince him that our staff would never do anything like that, I started by listening to him.

He told me about everything that had happened to him since he came to us, all the ways the communication had broken down, all the things that didn’t go the way he thought they would. I apologized. I told him I couldn’t imagine how frustrating it must be to feel like everything is going wrong. I apologized for letting him down. I didn’t offer one single explanation or excuse just then, even though I could have. There were plenty of things he wasn’t factually correct about but at that moment, it didn’t matter. What mattered was his perception. And his perception was we let him down.

I asked him a few questions about his life outside of our hospital, what his life was like before he came here and learned quite a bit about him. We kept on talking about things that had nothing to do with why he was here and eventually he asked if we could step outside for a moment so he could get some fresh air. We walked outside to a very cold and rainy day, typical for the Midwest. After just a bit, it was clear that we were both getting cold so I said, “You know what I think? I think this is the perfect day for a grilled cheese sandwich. I used to love coming inside on a day like this and having a nice, hot, gooey grilled cheese sandwich. Does that sound good?”

He stared at me for a second, suspiciously. “You’re thinking about it, aren’t you?” I smiled.

“You know I don’t trust this food here,” he answered.

I said, “What if I went down there and got it so the staff thinks they’re making it for me? Would that help?”

Again, he waited a moment before answering, “A grilled cheese sandwich sounds really good.”

He went back up to his room and I went down to get the sandwich. I had the head of our nutrition services bring it up with me so he could see that she was on our side. We then got to talking about the problems he’d encountered and I had a chance to explain what had happened. It wasn’t so much that things had gone wrong but we hadn’t done as good a job as we should have in explaining those things. I tried to make it clear I wasn’t making excuses, just trying to reassure him that he was safe, no one had messed up, but we needed to be better about communicating. He smiled and not only ate the sandwich, but ordered dinner and breakfast for the next morning. Success.

The next day, he was cleared for discharge and before he left, he asked to see me. I went up to his room to make sure everything was in order and to ensure he knew what to do once he got home. He thanked me, took my hands and brought his head down so his forehead was on them, stayed there a moment, and kissed my hand. “This place needs you,” he said. “I appreciate you and everything you did for me. Thank you.”

It was the perfect day for a grilled cheese.

Surprise and Delight

I recently came across a book called The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan Heath. If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest you do. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down and it completely changed the way I approach my work in patient experience and employee engagement.

In healthcare, we talk a lot about Evidence-Based Best Practices, things that have been tested and shown to be effective. We work tirelessly to implement and measure best practices and then we wonder why our patient experience scores are so low. It’s frustrating.

I took a look at our comments on our surveys and the responses we get on our discharge follow-up phone calls. They largely consist of, “Everything was fine.” Ugh. Fine. I hate fine. Fine is the kiss of death.

Turns out, these best practices, things like introducing yourself to patients, explaining what the next steps are in the plan of care, or describing the possible side effects of their medications are things patients have come to expect from us. We’re not going to get outstanding surveys if we only give them what’s expected. It’s like buying a car with air conditioning. We’re not going to wow people with the awesome air conditioning package; they expect it. They didn’t always. I can still remember cars without air conditioning but it’s unthinkable now. Same with these best practices. Patients notice when we don’t do them.

So how do we create a hospital stay memorable enough for patients to even bother filling out a survey and then to describe their stay as exceptional?

This is where Dan and Chip’s book changed my whole perspective. They dive into the science behind what makes things memorable and offer real-life, practical examples of what staff can do to create those peak moments that patients will remember more than anything else. They don’t have to be expensive or labor-intensive or time consuming. They can be quiet moments of connection or surprising moments of responsiveness. And they not only delight the patients, they can touch the other staff, re-engage them, reconnect them to their passion and have a ripple effect across departments.

Best practices are important, they’re the minimum level of service we should be providing every time, and they’re not going to get you anything but middle-of-the-pack results. If you want to deliver a truly exceptional experience, surprise and delight.

The other piece is knowing that, as leaders, we are very good at solving problems. We know how to smooth out the potholes but we probably don’t know how to create peak moments for patients. You know who does? Your front line staff, that’s who. Let them drive this. Don’t roll out some ‘moment making’ program in which administration tells the staff exactly what they are to do to delight patients. Empower them to come up with those ideas and deliver them.

And while they’re out there pouring their hearts into this, you’d better be doing everything you can as a leader to surprise and delight them. Fill their cups, do a few unexpected things to show your support and appreciation of them. Don’t expect them to create any moments for patients that you wouldn’t also create for them. Watch how fast your culture changes, how happy your staff members are, and how infrequently you hear the words, “Everything was fine,” in your discharge follow up phone calls.

The Trouble with HCAHPS Presentations

“I had no idea. We’re doing a lot better than I thought we were.”

I’ve always struggled with the way HCAHPS scores are presented. The grids that the big patient satisfaction vendors produce show the percentage of patients who gave the very best score (we call that Top Box), and where that percentage ranks among your peers. Let’s say 80% of your patients say the nurses always treated them with courtesy and respect. Depending on how patients in other hospitals rate the nurses, that 80% could put you in the 95th percentile or the 30th.

When the percentile rank is the only thing staff see, they don’t really have a good sense of just how well or poorly they’re doing. They don’t know if the other 20% of patients are saying the nurses usually, sometimes, or never treated them with respect, but makes a big difference.

I was presenting the latest patient experience data to our nurse leaders, many of whom were new to their role, only this time, I didn’t give them the prefabricated grid that showed our percentile ranking. They’d seen that grid over and over and all it did was frustrate and demoralize. “How could we be in the 12th percentile? I know we have great nurses here.”

Instead, I took the distribution of responses (Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree) to the question Would you Recommend this Hospital to Your Friends and Family and put those in a pie chart. I called their attention to the percentage of Strongly Agree and Agree responses and showed them that the overwhelming majority of our patients have a positive reaction to us. We weren’t horrible. We weren’t delivering terrible care to our patients.

For months, staff saw our very low ranking and thought we were miles away from our goal of the 75th percentile. The scores were meaningless because the goal seemed completely unattainable. Showing them this distribution of scores reinvigorated them.

  • If we can just move the second highest score to the highest score, we’ll be in fantastic shape.
  • Patients aren’t perceiving us as bad nurses, we just have to be more consistent in our delivery of care.
  • If it only takes one person dropping the ball for that rating to go from always to usually, don’t be that one person.

These were things staff could wrap their minds around. So if you have to present HCAHPS scores, present them in a different way, a way that doesn’t frustrate, depicts the human story behind the score, makes the goal appear within reach, and illustrates just how directly staff influence those scores. It may be the first time they’ve ever heard them that way.


Daily Rounds

“Thank you for coming back and checking on me.”

For years, patient experience experts have been touting the benefits of daily rounds on inpatients by members of the leadership staff. I don’t think anyone would disagree that it’s good for leaders to get out from behind their desks and out on the floors. Staff appreciate seeing executives up close and patients feel good knowing that the leaders of the hospital are involved in the day-to-day goings on.

I had always worked in hospitals that were so large that rounding on 100% of patients every day wasn’t the expectation. We encouraged people to do “as many as they could” and hoped they got to maybe half. In fact, one hospital had a goal of 4 patients per unit per day. In a 54-bed unit, it felt like we were sending a clear message that it didn’t really matter.

Currently, I work in a health system that expects leader rounding on 100% of patients every day and there are processes in place to ensure it’s happening. Like many non-clinical leaders, I was apprehensive about going into a patient room for a quick visit. Normally, when I get called in to visit a patient, it’s because he or she is upset about something and I’m there to try and solve a specific problem. Without a task to accomplish, what would we talk about?

Well, there are some general questions we ask to get the conversation started and it was surprising to me just how much people want someone to talk to when they’re stuck in a hospital bed all day. I thought they’d shoo me away and ask to be left alone so they could sleep but almost everyone has been happy to spend a few moments chatting about how their stay has been.

Additionally, it’s been very rewarding to visit the same people a few days in a row and see their faces light up when I walk into the room. “Oh, hi! You’re back.”

I had visited one woman every morning for the past three days and really enjoyed her. She was in a fair amount of pain but kept in good spirits by watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel. She told me about her kids, her grandchildren, her recent health problems, and all the things she hoped to do once she got home.

Our rounding time is set to happen between 9-10am, but after visiting with her one morning, I learned she was scheduled for some surgery later in the day. I maneuvered some things around in my calendar and decided to go back up afterwards to see how she was doing. She was genuinely happy to see me and I her.

We spent only a short time together but it was good to see that she had gotten through the procedure just fine. As I got up and headed for the door, she said, “Thank you for coming back and checking on me.”

Leader rounding is certainly beneficial to patients, but it can also be beneficial to us if we approach it with the intention of making a meaningful connection instead of simply checking the box and saying, “Yep, I went in there. Everything’s fine.”

Keep in mind, too, that bedside nurses notice when we come back outside of the designated rounding time. Instead of simply doing exactly what’s expected of us and nothing more, we can demonstrate genuine patient care and role model going above and beyond by popping in throughout the day.

For any executive who says, “I don’t have time,” I encourage you to make time. Block out 30 minutes as sacred time when meetings cannot be scheduled. Get out from behind your desk and spend some time with the staff and a couple of patients. It can make a world of difference, not only for your patient experience scores, but in staff morale and for you, too.