A major component of quality health care is patient satisfaction. Patient satisfaction is a key determinant of quality of care and an important component of pay-for-performance metrics. It is a composite index of an individual’s evaluative judgement concerning the quality of medical care received from physicians, nurses and other relevant sources to represent the individual’s point of view and compare with the realities of the care received particularly in the aspect of interpersonal process. The American Nurses Association defines ‘patient satisfaction with nursing care’ as patients’ opinion of care received from nursing staffs during their hospitalisation.
Emphasis on patient satisfaction with health and medical care services is on the increase, as evidenced by greater frequency of empirical and theoretical publications regarding satisfaction in recent years. This emphasis is consistent towards holding those who control and provide essential services more accountable to their patients. Patient satisfaction affects clinical outcomes, patient retention, and medical malpractice claim. It affects the timely, efficient, and patient-centred delivery of quality health care. Currently, patient satisfaction is positively linked with higher level of individualized care.
Quality health care is basically influenced by active involvement of the employer towards providing sufficient resources, effective policies of the organization, dedication and commitment of health personnel. Patient satisfaction can be attained by nurses amidst challenges in our work environment that are yet to be successfully addressed. Exploring all measures of therapeutic communication, being mindful of its elements improves patient outcome. Patients are concern with the contribution of affective support such as nurses being caring, supportive, respectful, honest, empathy, patient, attentive, and responsive towards their satisfaction.
Nurses must respect their patients, involve their patients in hospital care, provide patients useful information privately and individually, and render nursing services without delay. Seek patient’s permission and consent before performing nursing procedures, explain nursing procedures clearly before performing it, ensure patient’s privacy, be skilful in performing nursing procedures, be professional and competent when rendering nursing services, and encourage their patient always. Allow patients to make their own decision when being cared for, family members can be involved if patient desire, and ensure patient receives useful information during discharge planning.
Documentation is essential for good clinical communication. Accurate record keeping is an indication of evidenced based practice. As such, it is imperative for nurses to consistently utilize nursing process in all patients’ care, and voluntarily invest in higher education and other professional development programs that will actively boost their knowledge, skills, experience, and competencies in various dynamics of nursing education and practice.
ARUNGWA O. T. (Mrs)