I am privileged to work at the Houston Methodist Hospital, in The Texas Medical Center, within the Texas Gulf Coast Region. I am a Resolution Specialist in Guest Relations Administration. There are many opportunities to promote patient advocacy within our hospital.
As a Resolution Specialist, I am involved in the orientation and training of newly hired patient liaisons. I reinforce and encourage the patient advocacy role during orientation of new staff to our department which includes the Grievance Policy, departmental policy and procedures, and the process for the resolution of grievances. I work closely with the Grievance Process and with the patient liaisons to ensure we are following CMS guidelines and meeting the needs of all patients and their families. As one of the super users of the documentation software, Midas, I spend time with each liaison to promote understanding of the importance of thorough documentation so the results are accurate reporting. The patient advocacy role is linked to patient satisfaction as we are involved in the review and trending of patient comments from a variety of sources (such as surveys), and teaming up with unit management to make necessary improvements.
I have participated in the education fairs, for example The Methodist Experience Fair, Flex Team Fair, and Patient Advocacy Week, Skills Labs and Nursing Boot Camp. I had the opportunity to play a role in Nursing Boot Camp and Skills Labs. Patient advocacy/patient satisfaction and HCAHPS education is highlighted.
Rounding is a priority! HCAHPS rounds are completed on a daily basis. These are avenues where I get to listen, support, educate, and increase awareness among the staff. Other rounding responsibilities include rounding in the hospital lobby admitting area, checking on patients/families, introducing myself, listen and support, and advocate for anyone who has been experiencing delays as they wait for room placement.
As TAPS President, I follow TAPS vision to increase TAPS membership. Being on the Education Committee I am involved with choosing educational speakers that may be interesting and useful for the patient liaisons. Hopefully they will want to return and/or become further involved in the organization. It is meaningful to me to network with fellow advocates at regional and annual conferences, and to work closely with the knowledgeable speakers. The experiences enhance my daily work at Houston Methodist.
My volunteer position on the TAPS Board will compliment my current job. This is my 7th year to be on the TAPS Education Committee. I actually work on TAPS committee plans almost year round (January through September) while I am in my current role of Resolution Specialist. I enjoy getting to know the TAPS Regional and Annual Conference attendees. I thrive with the support of my TAPS colleagues. As a result feel encouraged to put my best efforts forth and even respond with enthusiasm to a board member nomination! My advocacy skills are validated and reinforced so I can confidently perform my job, and continue to advocate for people (patient/families/staff/physicians/colleagues). I not only promote the field of patient advocacy today, but also have a vision of the role in today’s health care environment.
My vision of the role of patient advocate in today’s health care environment is to continue to advocate for patient liaisons to stand up for patient’s rights as forefront. Encourage mandatory TAPS memberships and conference attendance when schedules allows. The feedbacks received from these affiliations will nurture the advocacy spirit. If you do not get to attend, manage up memberships and conference attendance to colleagues to encourage their participation. Find out what you missed from the conferences to keep current on topics. Seek out research opportunities to learn more about Evidence Based Practices. Treat colleagues like we do the patients/families/staff/physicians. Be aware of and have knowledge and understanding of policies and procedures in your institution.
My unique skills and experiences include 20 years in the patient advocate role (5 years bedside nursing and 15 years in Guest Relations Administration). I have been a TAPS member for 15 years, 7 of which on the TAPS Education Committee. I excel at listening and supporting, encouragement, and diplomacy. My Registered Nurse background equips me to be well organized, careful to avoid errors, and a critical thinker. I currently have management duties working with time cards, coverage, and participate in the interview process of hiring new staff.
I recommit, as I do on a daily basis, to treat colleagues as I do the patients/families/staff/physicians.