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Improving the Patient Experience: Real-World Strategies for Engaging Nurses

Dempsey, Christina MSN, MBA, RN CNOR CENP; Reilly, Barbara PhD; Buhlman, Nell MBA

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: March 2014 - Volume 44 - Issue 3 - p 142–151
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000042

Patients spend more time with nurses during an admission than with any other profession in the hospital. Nurses and their interactions with patients are central to shaping and improving the patient’s experience. Patient experience, as measured by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, drives 30% of value-based purchasing (VBP) scores and incentive payments, as prescribed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Hospital performance on the communication with nurses’ domain within HCAHPS predicts performance on several other domains. In addition, nurses at the bedside have significantly lower engagement scores than nurses who are not involved in direct patient care. Considering the relationship between nurse engagement and patient experience and the relationship between patient experience and hospital success under VBP, pursuing strategies and tactics that will foster and sustain nurse engagement is critical for nurse executives.

Author Affiliations: Chief Nursing Officer (Ms Dempsey); Vice President (Dr Reilly), Analytic Research Engagement Services; Senior Vice President (Ms Buhlman), Product Strategy, Press Ganey Associates, Inc, South Bend, Indiana.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Ms Dempsey, Press Ganey Associates, Inc, 5277 S Whitmore Ave, Springfield, MO 65810 (

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