The Effects of HCAHPS on Nursing Satisfaction and Burnout

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The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is a patient satisfaction survey that all U.S. hospitals need to undertake in conformity with the provisions of the Centers for Medicine and Medicaid Services. Adult inpatients, excluding psychiatric patients, are eligible for the survey. The HCAHPS survey is important for several reasons. Patients use the survey to express their concerns about various aspects of the U.S. health care system such as quality and relevance of programs. In addition, hospitals use the patients’ feedback of the survey to assess various elements such as communication between nurses, environmental cleanliness, hospital rating, and staff responsiveness to the needs of patients. This study will aim to identify how hospitals can use the HCAHPS survey to assess the level of job dissatisfaction and burnout among nurses.

First, the HCAHPS is a reliable, valid and generally applicable across a wide range of health care environments and situations. According to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (2017), HCAHPS is applicable across numerous constructs of the health care environment that encompasses nurses’ welfare. From the responses to the survey questions, hospitals can determine the level of job dissatisfaction and burnout among nurses. Since the survey entails asking patients to provide feedback on their experiences, such responses can be important measure on the experience of nurses. This study will focus on the link between the survey feedback and the welfare of nurses.

Job dissatisfaction among nurses may result in costly labor disputes, turnover, and risk to patients. A high number of burnout and job dissatisfaction among nurses occurs when they are providing care for patients in hospitals and nursing homes. Strikingly, a key contributor of dissatisfaction among nurses is health benefits. Research studies have indicated that patient satisfaction is significantly lower in hospitals in which nurses experience high levels burnout and are low job satisfaction. Through a HCAHPS survey, the researcher will be able to assess the extent to which nurses are dissatisfied and burned out depending on the patients’ feedback. For example, the patients’ feedback on their overall experience on each of the ten areas of the HCAHPS will be important in determining the welfare of nurses in hospitals.

Patients are expected to provide feedback on a wide range of hospital-related topics such as extent of communication between them and nurses, interaction with doctors, medical interventions, pain control, provision of information, cleanliness, and rating (Goldstein et al., 2010). Positive feedback from the patients on the HCAHPS is an indicator of high job satisfaction and low burnout among nurses. Conversely, negative feedback on the HCAHPS survey by patients signals a high prevalence of job dissatisfaction and burnout, which results in the poor service in the hospitals. Consequently, this study will explore how policy makers can use the HCAHPS to improve service delivery by addressing the issue of burnout and job dissatisfaction among nurses.

When using the HCAHPS scale, there is a key assumption that job satisfaction among nurses has a multidimensional and complex relationship with particular aspects of their roles. In other words, the feedback from patients can be construed to be an accurate indicator of the state of the overall work environment of the hospital and, by extension, that of nurses. When patients provide positive feedback on crucial aspects such as cleanliness, privacy, information, interaction, rating, quietness, and advice, then it is an indication that nurses are highly motivated and energetic to provide quality services (McHugh et al., 2011). Indeed, is unlikely that nurses who have low motivation levels and are suffering from burnouts are able to provide quality service to patients. Therefore, the study will primarily use the patients’ feedback on HCAHPS as an indicator of the level of satisfaction and burnout among nurses.

Researchers have also identified a direct association between nurse burnout and job satisfaction on one hand, and patient satisfaction computed by the HCAHPS survey of hospitals, on the other hand. According to McHugh et al (2011), low job satisfaction and burnout among nurses has a significant bearing on overall patient satisfaction. For example, the percentage of patients who would want to recommend the hospital to friends and relatives may decline significantly in instances when nurses experience burnout and have low job satisfaction levels. Similarly, cases of job dissatisfaction and high rate of burnouts are likely to be low if patients give high ratings on hospitals. One of the objective of this study is to use the elements of patients’ overall attitude on the quality of health care based on HCAHPS feedback to establish a connection to job satisfaction and burnout among nurses.

It is also important to note that nurses in most hospitals provide most of the bedside services that are captured in the HCAHPS survey. As a result, the tool is an accurate indicator of the extent to which nurses are dissatisfied with their roles or experiencing burnout. Research studies have indicated that the most satisfied and least burned-out nurses are those who do not serve patients directly. Conversely, patient-handling nurses are the most likely to manifest low job satisfaction levels and high burnouts (Stimpfel, Sloane, & Aiken, 2012). Consequently, the HCAHPS survey is the most accurate indicator of the level of burnout and job satisfaction in hospitals. Each of the questions on the survey relates to a specific aspect of nursing, meaning that the feedback is directly relatable to the nursing situation in health care facilities.