Speaking to the heart of our patients: Leading an empathic communication educational initiative
Dana Mullenbach, MSN, RN-BC; Holly Burkhartzmeyer, MAN, RN; Lori Arcand, PhD, MS, RN-BC; Heather Preston, MS
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Patient experience continues to be at the forefront of many healthcare organizations. A large Midwestern tertiary-care organization implemented an empathic communication educational initiative in the Department of Nursing through a collaborative partnership between the Department of Nursing and the Office of Patient Experience. The goal was to provide a foundational skill set of empathic communication techniques for Department of Nursing staff across the continuum of care. Empathic communication requires thoughtful educational delivery as well as sustainment in order to acquire confidence and competence in utilization. Patient experience experts have suggested that if communication improves between nurses and patients/families, so too should the patient’s perception of the quality of care they received. Empathic communication focuses on a set of skills, that when applied consistently throughout patient interactions, may decrease patient anxiety, increase compliance and satisfaction, and improve employee engagement. The training was designed to be interactive eliciting the knowledge and expertise of the learners. Case scenarios were created pertinent to specific clinical practice in an effort to make the education relevant. Sustainment of the education focused on memory boosting post-session at the following intervals: 2 days; 2 weeks; and 2 months at the unit level; as well as memory boosting in the form of application based scenarios published monthly in a nursing newsletter. A comprehensive evaluation strategy was designed and implemented for the education to assist in measuring the results of this initiative and also encouraged planned action of how the skills were utilized in practice.
2019 ANPD Annual Convention: Aspire to Lead. Held in Phoenix, Arizona
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