How to Handle Patient Complaints Like a Pro as a Travel Nurse

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By AMN Healthcare

March 22, 2019



How to Handle Patient Complaints Like a Pro

Patient complaints getting you down? As a nurse, you can’t make everyone happy all the time. In the medical field, patient complaints are inevitable, just as in any other service industry.

While you can’t eliminate patient complaints entirely, you can do your best as a professional to handle patient complaints in a way that benefits everyone.

Below are six effective ways for handling patient complaints. Use these tips next time you encounter a patient complaint.

6 Tips for Travel Nurses to Handle Patient Complaints like a Pro:

1.      Just Listen

One of the best ways to handle patient complaints professionally is to simply listen

As basic as it may sound, most of the time when patients complain, all they want is to be heard and listened to so they can vent their frustrations.

Practice good listening skills by giving them your undivided attention, keeping eye contact and listening to what they have to say.

2.      Acknowledge patient feelings

When it comes to handling patient complaints professionally, empathy is a key component. Keep in mind that because this person is a patient, they may not be feeling well or be in a lot of pain.

When you let him or her know that you understand their frustrations and that they’re valid, you can help ensure a more successful outcome.

3.      Ask questions to gain information

Asking the patient questions about their frustrations can help you gain as much information as possible, and it can help you and the rest of the staff figure out how to handle the complaint moving forward.

4.      Explain the process and take action

When handling patient complaints in hospitals, be sure to explain the situation to them and outline the next steps.

Let them know their complaint is being taken seriously and that you’ll follow up with them after taking the appropriate action — which usually means reviewing and discussing outcomes with management.

5.      Don’t forget to document

Any time you’re handling a complaint, whether big or small, be sure to document the process. Many hospitals already have a protocol in place, and if so, you should follow it.

In addition, keep your own notes of meetings, phone calls and what was said during each conversation. Make sure to date everything and add times so events can be pieced together chronologically if needed.

6.      Maintain a positive attitude

While dealing with patient complaints can often be unpleasant, maintaining a positive attitude can go a long way towards a successful outcome for everyone.

Use it as a learning experience that helps you advance your career and skillset. Dealing with patient complaints is part of the job as a nurse, but how you deal with them professionally is what can help set you apart.

As a travel nurse, it’s important to keep your recruiter in the loop with anything that could affect your contract. If a situation escalates, or management gets involved be certain to communicate with your recruiter to keep them in the loop.

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