As she walks down the hall or answers her phone, Clinical Quality Coordinator, Heidi Benson, MSN, RN, PHN, CPHQ, SSGB, often greets her co-workers or patients at Tri-City Medical Center (TCMC) with a “Wonderful Wednesday” or “Thankful Thursday” affirmation, depending upon the day of the week.
“This is a simple way to bring a smile to someone’s face and begin to engage with them in a positive way,” said Benson who oversees quality and patient experience at the hospital. “Throughout my career, I have always been interested in patient experience and think that healthcare workers should be a patient for a day or two to better understand what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. At Tri-City, we strive to ensure that our patients feel safe and receive compassionate and excellent care, as well as go above and beyond to meet their needs and those of their family.”
Since the best patient experience begins with the best employee experience, TCMC created Tri-City TOUCH – a Team of Understanding Compassionate Heroes – to provide staff and patients with an experience that touches their lives and improves their overall wellbeing. Once a week, three teams comprised of executive leadership and management, visit staff and patients throughout the hospital, asking a series of questions to identify what is going well, what could go better, who deserves to be a staff hero, and would they recommend TCMC to others. Their feedback is then shared and reviewed amongst the teams and with Benson on a weekly basis.
“Our goal is to determine how best to serve and communicate with our patients,” said Benson. “Not only do we prioritize and correct areas in need of improvement, but we also recognize and reward those employees, or ‘heroes’ identified during visitation, who treat patients as they would family and friends, as well as support their coworkers. We are committed to experience excellence through ongoing education, communications training and feedback to ensure that all of our staff are heroes.”
“We also have a team of volunteers who visit five days a week with patients and communicate their needs immediately to staff so that we can quickly resolve certain issues,” said Benson. “Other volunteers, such as our trained and certified dog handlers and their dogs, visit patients to reduce stress and add joy during a patient’s hospitalization. We also provide interpretation services, Spanish (in-house) as well as remote video services for all languages, so that our staff and physicians can better communicate with patients. Our telemedicine service allows patients to stay connected with their doctor through virtual appointments from the comfort of home.”
One of the biggest improvement projects intended to enhance the patient experience is the remodel of TCMC’s emergency room (ER). The new ER will have a modern, updated look and feel intended to infuse serenity by design. The waiting room and one large treatment area will have fresh paint colors, new flooring, better lighting, beautiful wall art and comfortable furnishings. The floor and wall colors were specifically chosen to bring the essence of the community into the hospital by mimicking the beach with its colors and textures.
Tri-City remains committed to its mission to advance the health and wellness of the community it serves by providing the highest quality clinical care and outstanding patient experience at every touch point. “As a bedside nurse for more than 30 years, I can personally attest to the fact that working with those you consider family enhances the experience for patients and families,” said Benson. “When patients receive personal care from staff that treats them like family, they build trust, which is instrumental in helping them achieve their personal health goals.”
“Knowing that Tri-City is a facility with a family feel and a commitment to care for patients and families, reduces stress and ensures the best possible experience,” added Benson. “Tri-City provides a beacon of hope and is a lighthouse to those in the community experiencing life events they never expected.”
Benson suggests using these positive affirmations when greeting other employees in your office throughout the week:
- Spectacular Sunday
- Marvelous Monday
- Terrific Tuesday
- Wonderful Wednesday
- Thankful Thursday
- Fantastic Friday
- Stupendous Saturday