Barb Lawrie | August 17th, 2016
It has been about two months since the Professional Image: First Impressions Count guidelines came out. The new guidelines cover the expectations for clothing, nails, hair, jewelry and accessories as well as the implementation of larger more legible name tags for those with in-person contact with patients or family members. There will also be optional VCH-branded work clothing available beginning this fall, for online purchase at discount prices. The guidelines are intended to improve the patient experience through better identification of roles and individuals and through a consistent professional image.
People care about how we look
We have had a significant amount of feedback on the guidelines; some very favourable and some not so much. At the end of the day this is really all about our patients. Interesting to me, the largest volume of complaints we hear from patients is not about the care they receive but rather how we look when we provide that care. Some of us might think this is superficial or not important but, to our patients, how we look reflects a level of professionalism that can provide comfort when their lives are literally in our hands.
Who’s my health provider?
In a recent complaint that came across my desk I was reminded of just how important a professional image is.The complaint came from a patient who received treatment for an acute episode. She described getting excellent care. However, the person administering this care was wearing yoga pants, a t-shirt and a headband in her hair. The patient described feeling “panicky” as she was not sure this was a health care provider. Although the person providing care had a lanyard and identification, the patient was unable to read it.
What do you think?
Given this is about patients and providing the best care, do you think our new guidelines will improve the patient experience? Leave your comments below.