I was at a conference last week and I went to dinner with a group of individuals from other hospitals. After the meal I excused myself from the table to visit the restroom. Once I entered the restroom I saw this sign on the wall. I took a picture, took care of business, washed my hands and returned to the table.
When I got back to the table there was a discussion about population health I listened but I quickly lost interest and my mind went elsewhere. When asked for my thoughts I apologized and told the group I wasn’t really paying attention but I did have a question for them. I asked the group “If you could do one thing really well at your hospital, what would it be?”….
I got all kinds of answers and they were all good, the group said things like improve outcomes, increase safety, improve quality, decrease turnover and a few other important things that I’ve since forgotten. They then turned the question back on me and I said “If I could focus on only one thing I’d focus on making people feel good about the care they received”.
I went on to explain that I know my answer is less tangible than theirs and it’s not going to reflect on a spreadsheet or a report but in the end isn’t that what we’re all about in health care – making people feel good about the care we provide. We can’t cure everyone and there’s no way to have perfect outcomes because what we do is an imperfect science. We do a lot of technical stuff in health care and that’s difficult for patients to comprehend, at times it’s even difficult for us to understand. There’s even a chance that we won’t be able to make someone feel good but we can always make them feel good about the care they receive. We can help people know we care. We can help people know we empathize. We can make sure people remember us for the right reason.
Just like the sign above says, people remember you for how you make them feel, they don’t remember what you do or what you say. You’ve probably realized this in your own life. You probably know people who cause you to feel good when you’re around them just because they’re there and they’re who they are.
Regardless of what we do people will remember us, I want them to remember that we made them feel good about the care we provided. I want them to remember we were supportive. I want them to remember we cared. I want them to remember they were our priority. I want them to remember we listened. I want them to remember we took time to explain. If we do all these things people will remember that we made them feel good about their care.
If we make people feel good about the great care they receive then all the other important stuff like outcomes, safety and quality will take care of themselves because people are only going to feel good about our care when we’ve done all the right things.
People will remember how you made them feel – how do you want to be remembered.