I have served on the Family Patient Advisory Council at my local hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina since it’s inception a little over two years ago. I became the first Chair and now I am the Senior Chair.
This last week, the hospital funded my travel to Chicago to attend the Patient Experience Conference 2018 where the Chief Nursing Officer, Manager of Service Excellence, also a nurse, and I gave a presentation: Operationalizing Patient Advisory Council: Going Beyond the Boundaries.
I felt privileged to discuss the successes and challenges of our group and pleased, as a retired nurse, that I am using my background in health care services to facilitate change. In this case, to promote and improve the patient experience.
Patient experience encompasses the range of interactions that patients have with the health care system, including their care from health plans, and from doctors, nurses, and staff in hospitals, physician practices, and other health care facilities. As an integral component of health care quality, patient experience includes several aspects of health care delivery that patients value highly when they seek and receive care, such as getting timely appointments, easy access to information, and good communication with health care providers.
Understanding patient experience is a key step in moving toward patient-centered care. By looking at various aspects of patient experience, one can assess the extent to which patients are receiving care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values. Evaluating patient experience along with other components such as effectiveness and safety of care is essential to providing a complete picture of health care quality. – Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
At the conference, not only did I learn about the patient experience movement and its growing numbers of supporters, I came away excited about the direction of health care.
After the conference, I met my friend Lois. Our friendship spans 40 years. We had one day of sleet and one day of sun in our quest to revisit old haunts and discover renovations to Chicago’s old buildings. At Navy Pier we asked a mother and daughter to take our picture. It turned out the daughter was starting nursing school with the intent to become a nurse practitioner. At this serendipitous meeting, Lois and I shared sage advice about the rewarding aspects of a nursing career.
Back home in temperate North Carolina, I look back at my time in Chicago and feel privileged to have attended the conference and had the added perk to have spent time with Lois.