Facing an inability to sustain improvements in patient satisfaction scores with its existing initiatives, Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) undertook an introspective analysis which indicated that initiatives were seen as “yet another task to complete.” An opportunity was identified to support staff to tap into their core supporting values as a way of transforming the organizational culture and improving the patient experience. Key to this approach was developing a culture of listening, learning and sharing what is important and meaningful to patients through patient stories. Narrative practice focuses on appreciating and reflecting on the patient’s experience and the patient- provider relationship. This process builds trust, develops empathy and fosters a sense of shared responsibility. A project was initiated in which late career nurses interviewed patients about their experience to learn what was truly important to them. Nurses were provided with scripts to facilitate discussion and encouraged to keep a reflective journal of their learnings. As a result, nurses reconnected with the ‘art’ of nursing and understood the experience from the patient’s perspective, which challenged their personal biases and perceptions of patients. Compassion was a key theme identified from an analysis of the interviews and reflective journals. Patient and staff satisfaction scores increased throughout the project’s timeframe. The program was expanded and a half day workshop developed for leadership and staff champions to learn about storytelling where over 250 workshop participants connected with the emotional experience of listening to patients’ stories. Participants clearly understood how stories can change providers and how they are able to care for patients, thus positively impacting a patient’s experience. This work has now been translated throughout MGH. Patient stories are shared at meetings, during huddles and during new staff orientation. To date, over 1800 patient stories have been collected.
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