Nursing Voices

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Hilton Hospital

The hospital where I work is putting its best foot forward in an effort to attract new “customers” to our doors. Gee, in the old days we use to call them patients. Oh well, the times are a changing. Too bad Conrad Hilton, the paternal great-grandfather to the infamous Paris Hilton, isn’t our CEO. He knew how to turn a buck while making his customers happy.

Our CEO is such a clever guy. He hired an expensive consulting firm that told him to add some patient friendly niceties to our hospital. “If you build it (or buy it), the customers will come,” said the consultant, and being an obedient fellow, our CEO went to work. Our hospital is beginning to resemble a Conrad Hilton Hotel. It’s bigger and prettier than ever before, and we now have wireless Internet access for our patients’ use. New patient rooms are equipped with flat-screen televisions, and there are plans to start up a valet service and a gourmet coffee bar in the lobby within the next few months. This sounds wonderful, but when I go to the hospital, I want good patient care, don't you? To pay for the niceties, our CEO became a grinch. Remember Christmas? He is making nurses work harder with less staff, and patient satisfaction is declining. Patients stop noticing the wonderful flat-screen televisions when they have to wait a long time before a nurse is available to put them on a bedpan. I think most people would gladly trade in luxuries in exchange for good nursing care, but because our goal is to become more like a four star hotel, perhaps we can keep the luxuries and just hire bellhops to do patient care.

Come, be our guest!


Blogger MadMike said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:05 PM  
Blogger MadMike said...

The price of medical care in America! I don't want a flat screen TV. I will be too sick or too scared to appreciate it. As to wireless internet I suppose it would be nice to research those terms the doctors spend all of their time chatting about. After all, they never tell me what they mean or what the consequences of their meaning could be. I think they might be afraid that I would just pack up and head out. Just think of the money that would cost them!

I have been in the hospital maybe twice in a LOT of years, but I still remember those times. For the most part the docs are the arrogant assholes, the lab techs too busy to talk, and the nurses, the real care-givers, burning out because of a lifetime giving care to those who could care less.

Me? I want someone there to hold my hand when I hurt, and to tell me its OK when I cry. The last thing I want then is wireless internet or How I Met My Mother on a flat screen TV.

In closing, hang the lawyers, make the doctors know they are people too, and IMPEACH BUSH!!

10:07 PM  
Blogger Mother Jones RN said...

Mike, come to my hospital. I'll hold your hand anytime you want.


10:09 PM  
Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

Given Mr. Madmike's comment, I'm going to tread carefully here...

I was just wondering, if the hospital is going to be like a hotel, if you can earn tips. It might make up for the Christmas disappointment....

10:50 PM  
Blogger jaz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:30 AM  
Blogger jaz said...

Stuff like this makes me scream and you see it everywhere these days.

Patients - customers, clients, whatever - want substance, not fluff. And substance results from adequate staffing.

More nurses equal better care and better patient satisfaction.

6:31 AM  
Blogger Smalltown RN said...

I hear you sister....I am for patient care all the way....I remember when our health authority started putting out "client satisfaction" surveys. I mean really....are we going to ask them...hey how did you like the way the nurse gave you your shot...was it on time....or did you like the way she changed your dressing, or answered your call bell within a resonable time.

I mean really come on...give me a break....actually please do give me a break...I missed mine at work the other day.....geesh!

6:32 AM  
Blogger Lea said...

I like madmike!

9:54 AM  
Blogger poody said...

the last time I worked in the hospital I was told by my supervisor that I needed to treat this job like the people who work in Dusneyland do it. You see, it isn't really Cinderella or Belle that you see . they are only acting like they are these people. I coludn't believe my ears! My reply was well, I am a nurse and not some theme park worker in a costume! but her point was if it looks nice then it will be nice?? Not sure really as I was fired for my next remark whiich was that is some fu**ing bullsh**! Turns out that I had a zero tolerence for poor pt. care and they had a zero tolerence for cussing!

10:39 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

when i started nursing in late 80s where i worked the patients were referred to as guests. then the pendulum swung back to patients and patient care and managed care as we sent home patients with drains and had drive through deliveries. the last year or so i see the pendulum swinging back to the idea that we have guests in our hospital.
i do like the gourmet coffee bar. ;)

11:47 AM  
Blogger Julie, RN said...

And does your hospital have four page menus and room service, any time of day? If these people are well enough to enjoy gourmet dining and wireless internet,

12:41 PM  
Blogger marachne said...

Actually, about that "eat when ever you want" A medium sized hospital in central Oregon (Bend), St. Charles Medical Center switched to meals on demand -- and while they had to staff their kitchen more, they made up for it in not having so much food wasted. And yes, patient satisfaction.

I've heard it's a pretty good place to work too.

1:10 PM  
Blogger just4ofus said...

I would swear that you work in my hospital. We nicknamed it "The Hilton" and there is Valet service and a coffee bar just up in the lobby... HMMMMMMMM.. just had a new wing built with Flat Screen TVs.... sooo do you have a Wendy's in your lobby?

1:58 PM  
Blogger Mother Jones RN said...

Nope, there are no plans for a Wendy's in the lobby, but please, don't give our CEO any ideas. I'm holding out for a sushi bar.


2:31 PM  
Blogger Angry Nurse said...

Ultimately the concept that the customer is always right is the basis of the customer service model and therein lays the flaw! Is the customer always right when it’s a drug seeker who wants his/her next fix?

It's sad to think that people are actually trying to run hospitals like they are resorts.

5:09 PM  
Blogger pat57rn said...

Sorry if my message doesn't look good - I'm new to this blogging world.

Your hospital sounds strangely familiar. We're adding a 47 million dollar addition to keep up with the Jones' hospital across town, who will then add an addition to keep up with us. Meanwhile the nurses are run pretty hard, and basic equipment wears down to the nub, but man what decorations we have in the new sections!

My favorite example of an insane rule is this: if a RN uses the hospital computer system to look up his or her own personal lab results, he/she can be fired. Instead, we're supposed to walk down to lab, where we sign a form that says we can see our own labs, whereupon the clerk prints out our labs and hands them to us. I'm not making this up - I had my T4/TSH levels checked recently, and this is what I had to do. Who thinks up this stuff, the writers of MASH?

I have a request to make of the owner of this blog - is that Mother Jones RN? Sorry to do this as a post, but I couldn't find an email address. I changed careers into nursing a few years back and spent my first 4 years in practice in our ER. I had some memorable experiences and wrote a book about them. Would you be willing to take a look at a preview of the book? It is available on

or you can go to and search for mystic nurse. If you are interested enough to write a review for your blog, I could mail you a copy. My email address is

Thanks for your consideration.


5:49 PM  
Blogger Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

One of my biggest gripes is when patients treat nurses like they're "room service" at the Hilton-- treating them like abused domestic servants rather than health professionals. And so I guess if they start "dressing up" hospitals like fancy hotels, I imagine that type of attitude may get more widespread, aaargh...

6:22 PM  
Blogger Gerbil said...

Just think, too, if all this fluffing-up extended to your average psychiatric hospital. Everyone would want to be inpatient, all the time!

Mother Jones, any predictions for a sudden rise in admissions for factitious disorder at your place?

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone makes great points here...been reading your blog for awhile MJ and it is always well written and interesting! My 2 cents- In any other "customer/ guest/ etc" based industry, the staff/owners can throw out the "guests" when they're abusive or rude. Just try spitting on a waitress and see if they still let you eat. The "customer" designation doesn't fit because regardless of: 1) attitude towards staff; 2) ability to pay, we treat our PATIENTS with good nursing care. Also in our industry, in order to give people good nursing/medical care, we are often treating them the way the NEED to be and not they way they WANT to be (i.e. drug seeker in the er, making post-ops ambulate when they don't want to, etc). So, if we get a poor press-ganey survey back from a patient who had great medical care, but didn't get what they wanted, how accurate is that? I could go on for awhile, but you get the point.

Thanks for writing!

11:50 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Hey, I might give up that bedpan for wireless internet access...


Just kidding : )!

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a strange idea:

Lets stop forcing our nation's newest, least experienced physicians to work 36 hour shifts. This should drive down the incidence of fatigue related medical mistakes, thus driving down the cost of malpractice insurance, thus leaving more money to actually devote to patient care.


The lawyers are having too much fun.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Labor Nurse said...

I have to agree with Meghan here. The administration want s us to call the patients customers/guests/consumers yet would a customer of a restaurant or other field get service if you treated the staff like crap??

42 has a good idea too.

Of course I would want to get care in a place that looked nice, but I would want my care to be superb and you can't get superb care by having only aesthetic pleasures.

1:53 PM  
Blogger The Platypus said...

My system finally got permission to build a satellite hospital in the wealthier county to the north (over the legal protestations of another system that had the market pretty much wrapped up) and where do you think they found the person that will be running this new facility? They recruited the guy from a luxury hotel chain. Not saying there's anything wrong with it, but I'll keep working in the ghetto, thanks.

6:55 PM  
Blogger AMAZING GRACIE said...

I have been reading your Monday post about hospital care and patients vs clients. I agree with you nurses. Do what you need to do to get us well! Without the fluff...My husband had surgery a number of years ago and the older couple next to us treated the little nurse from the Philippines as if she was their slave. When she left in tears I marched out to the head nurse in charge and let loose about the old bat in the room. She said they knew and the nurse wouldn't get in trouble. I can't abide snobs like that. The old bat was going so far as to have her remake the bed every time her precious little husband got up to use the bathroom. Yikes!

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh please...our hospital paid for the Ritz-Carleton training course. I AM NOT KIDDING. Our motto is now "We are ladies and gentlemen caring for ladies and gentlemen". Nursing care? Who cares - as long as you go out of your way to make nice. What do you mean, you were in the middle of a code and running to get things? If any person stops and asks you how to find such and such, the expectation is that you will drop everything and escort that person to where they want to go...
Now, we do have a coffee cart in the lobby - but the people who appreciate it the most are the staff!
And we do have meals on demand which i cannot fault considering the average hospital fare...
but ladies and gentlemen??? C'mon already - I am a professional - not a professional groveler!

12:00 PM  
Anonymous hospital said...

I was just wondering, if the hospital is going to be like a hotel, if you can earn tips. It might make up for the Christmas disappointment....

hospital directory

2:25 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home