During patient experience week at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, second-year residents are excused of their normal clinical duties to gain new perspectives as an observer.
The Beryl Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of patient experience through evidence-based research, defines the patient experience as “the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.”
The hope is for the residents to become well-rounded, better-equipped physicians, to be leaders and to meet the patient where they are in their journey.
“We are very fortunate with having education being a part of the strategic plan of this institution, that we’re able to logistically and operationally be able to learn these otherwise intangible topics,” says Akshata Hopkins, M.D., FAAP, F.H.M., director of the pediatric residency program at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
The residents followed a schedule of shadowing nurses, Child Life specialists, and patients and families, having conversations with patients and families, touring the community we serve and simulations.
“Just being able to shadow and watch the nurse and how different that role is and (in my physician role) if I had to ask the nurse to give them medicine, how much of a burden that may be on the nurse,” says Victoria Elliott, M.D., a resident at Johns Hopkins All Children’s. “And following the patient–that was a new perspective for me.”
“That’s a very unique perspective that physicians should be able to know,” Hopkins says. “We also have members of our patient family advisory council and our teenage advisory council that come and serve as a panel, and they get to share their stories. Then it’s just this amazing back and forth dialogue about really understanding from their perspective how we could be better.”
The week also included simulation sessions to actually experience the struggles of patients with disabilities. Aaron Samide, M.D., another resident at Johns Hopkins All Children’s, was blindfolded and asked to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which wasn’t so easy for him without sight.
“Treating a patient is so much more, especially today, than knowing the medicine and being able to treat their disease,” Samide says. “This whole experience has given me a good viewpoint that I didn’t necessarily have before.”
There was also a palliative care lesson to learn how to handle end-of-life discussions and a bus tour to get a closer look at the community in which they serve.
“It’s easy sometimes as a physician to go tell your patients to go exercise or join a gym or go buy healthy food, but if we don’t know that those resources are available in the community, then that can be challenging,” resident Alana Koehler, M.D., says.
The week ended with residents reflecting on their experiences. All of them agreed that it was an eye-opening experience that will help them continue along the path of being lifelong learners and pediatric health care providers.
“By having all of these experiences and being able to tie it in to actually incorporate that and use that in day-to-day practice really is where that growth comes from and I think overall it makes us better physicians,” says resident Pooja Purswani, M.D., Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
Another valuable experience of patient experience week is working with a multidisciplinary group of professionals to plan the week’s activities. Faculty, residents, Child Life specialists, the service excellence manager, nurses and Office of Medical Education program coordinators come together in advance to review feedback from the previous year, best practices and recent advancements, and discuss opportunities to improve the experience.
“The opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary team ensures we meet the goals and objectives for this unique curriculum,” says Dawn Jones, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital pediatric program coordinator.