Sunday, February 12, 2012


Hospitals these days are in the middle of a nationwide campaign to do what I like to call PUTTING LIPSTICK ON A PIG.

Across the country hospitals are scrambling to stay afloat with decreased reimbursement. Hospitals have become conglomerates - corporate entities, another way of trying to stay afloat. It is no longer practical to have a stand alone hospital or clinic. They are in competition for patients.

Health care services are now being operated like corporations. Corporations are in the busy of making money and now hospitals are in the business of making money. What is our product? Health care. Who is our customer? Patients. Who do we want to make happy? Patients. Happy patients will come back or recommend us to their friends.

How do you make patients happy in the mind of the corporate managers who are running hospitals these days? You do fluffy stuff. You make lobbies that look like hotels. You dress the staff in the same colors. You have the staff use things like "care boards", do bedside report in ER. You change patient meals to "room service". You have valet parking. You form committees that talk about how to make the patients happy.

All fine and good, except for one thing: If you do surveys you will find that what patients want most, and benefit from, is the human contact of a nurse. The nurse who has time to talk to the patient and learn what they need (care planning), how they are doing (assessment), who has the time to do the things that make the patient better (nursing care).

Instead of putting the resources into the human aspect of care (better nurse staffing), the thing that makes the difference in patient outcomes, the money goes to dress up the hospital in various ways.

Our health care system is failing. These changes won't help that. These attempts to PUT LIPSTICK ON A PIG, will only hasten its inevitable collapse.


Debbie said...

Yep! You got it right!

Sarah Glenn said...

THANK YOU... you are exactly right. I can deal with bad cosmetics if I think the people there give a shit about me, and not being overloaded with a zillion patients would help this.

rnraquel said...

So true.

Anonymous said...

I have seen my hospital spend MILLIONS for consulting firms to walk through and "teach" us RN's customer service techniques, ways to save the hospital money, and other seedy things that have NOTHING to do with pt care!! We are grossly short staffed and our morale is sadly low... They need to have their RN's consult them on these issues and others including hiring more quality staff to ease the pt load(less pt:RN+quality care=happy "customer")and of course the MD's that do a million dollar work up on a repeat offender who coincidently is on public aide...I could go on and on.