For years, one of our hospital clients asked us to write a patient-friendly article about their patient satisfaction reports so they could publish it in their community magazine.
Year after year, I searched the reports for a new angle so the article would not read like the prior year’s article. However, the truth was, except for the years when the hospital was undergoing construction or unveiling new construction, the reports were similar. Patients usually felt they waited too long in emergency rooms, the food could always be better and the doctors were good, but the nursing staff was great.
When the nursing care was perceived as good, patients were happy and their satisfaction survey reflected that. When they perceived the nursing care as not good, overall satisfaction scores suffered. The most common types of comments on those satisfaction surveys…you guessed it…gushing about nurses. Patients love them. Patients even remembered the names of their nurses when they wrote about them in their survey comments.
Most seasoned hospital veterans will admit that nurses are among the largest influencers of patient satisfaction. Nurses hold a unique position within the hospital because they have frequent and consistent contact with patients. A personal anecdote recently reaffirmed this.
When my father was in the hospital out-of-state, I asked my sister how the care was and she told me the nurses were great. She didn’t mention the facilities, the technicians, the pharmacists or even the doctors. The quality of care, in her mind, hinged on the quality of the nurses.
Nurse-written blogs can be key influencers for your hospital
So why not harness these key influencers for your hospital? An article by Joni Watson in this month’s Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing addressed just this.
In her article, The Rise of Blogs in Nursing Practice, Watson wrote, “Patients increasingly are turning to the Internet for personalized, timely, and relevant health information; blogs remain a large source of that information. Nurses and other healthcare professionals can harness the informational, educational, networking, and supportive power of blogs, as well, and should understand how to access and use blogs for professional use.”
The media landscape is right for hospital blogs. At Hive Strategies, several of our own blog posts advocate hospital blogging and offer practical tips and suggestions. (I’ve listed them after this post in hopes that they might provide information as you consider a blog as part of your hospital’s social media strategy.) I agree with Watson regarding the value of offering a blog written by nurses and the opportunities for both the patients, the community and hospitals. As you begin to consider a nurse-written blog as part of your hospital’s social media strategy, consider the following:
Some key points to consider as you develop a blog
- Have a social media policy and provide mandatory social media training that specifically addresses HIPAA issues encountered online so the nurses will be prepared and the hospital will avoid violations.
- Recruit nurses who are well liked and have an interest in blogging. Their willing attitude will come across online.
- Designate specific times for the nurses to blog as part of their schedules. Don’t expect them to add it to their already full schedules without compensation.
- Consider a name for your program that enhances the message of care that your nurses bring.
- Once the program is established and is running smoothly, promote the blog with patients, families, on the hospital website, with doctors and in the media. Even a wearable button made for the blogging nurses can help spark awareness among patients and family members about the blog.
- Do allow filtered comments. Interaction through comments enhances patient engagement and loyalty.
The following posts offer more information on hospital blogging:
How we help
Hive Strategies helps health systems create HIPAA-compliant online communities for better health, lower costs and greater loyalty.