Setting the Scene in Healthcare: Performing Your Way to Patient Satisfaction

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dolan-schweitzerBy Cathy Dolan-Schweitzer, MA

Patient care is a priority for everyone on the hospital team, including radiology professionals.

Too often, hospital teams are overwhelmed and lack resources to provide a high-quality, efficient patient experience, and without a proven method to provide this experience, they continue to overlook the patient experience. Adopting a simple, patient centric strategy allows you and your team to connect to the patient’s emotional side and helps you to be more in touch with them as well as yourself.

One simple tool that has proven effective is storytelling. By using stories featuring real life characters and important points, we can apply both to improving the patient experience.

shutterstock_296153636Character: Sarah

Role: Radiology professional

Sarah’s Story: Sarah’s leadership responsibilities begin with coordination and may not have an end in sight. She realizes that providing excellent patient care is a process which begins with her team and her ability to engage them.

Sarah is married with 3 kids. Her parenting skills have prepared her to deal with almost anything – except figuring out how to lead her team toward higher levels of engagement and job performance. Some days she finds it exhausting to be the team leader, and today she gets the added responsibility of purchasing equipment for a new EP cath lab.

As the team plans to install the new equipment, Sarah notices that many details of the job are being overlooked. The culprit: lack of communication amongst the team members. Without the team sharing the right information with each other, the job is at real risk of becoming inefficient and poorly executed.

Sarah starts the next meeting with one request: she needs involvement from everyone on the team, starting with their stories. She stresses how important it is for each team member to share their wisdom and experience because different perspectives yield innovative results.

Storytelling enables not only effective communication, higher engagement, and a greater ROI (Return on Involvement), but it also ensures that the team is involved in an optimal work environment that allows them to feel:

  • Able: Sharing their experience and wisdom with the team when planning gives them tangible proof that they have been heard and recognized.
  • Prepared: Adopting a simple, patient centric strategy gives the team tools and an approach so they know how to work effectively together.
  • Empowered: “Our minds are wired for stories.” This is not just a catchy phrase. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak has found that hearing a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end causes our brain to release cortisol and oxytocin. These chemicals trigger the uniquely human abilities to connect, empathize, and make meaning. Story is literally in our DNA, and that is why it is such a powerful tool to use in patient care. When each team member shares their stories, their experiences become tangible features in the environment design and construction

When you create an environment and a culture in which your team can thrive, each team member is better able to collaborate and share innovative ideas with one another. The well done environment is also able to touch the patient, family, and the clinical staff. If you touch them in a deep way they will be forever grateful.

Find out how Sarah leads her team using this patient centric strategy in my session: “The 3 Competencies: Building a Successful Imaging Project with Patient Care in Mind” at the AHRA 2016 Fall Virtual Conference.

Cathy Dolan-Schweitzer, MA is the president of Health Well Done in Yonkers, NY. She can be reached at



  1. Cathy, you are certainly spot-on with your assessment. Our organization is trying to move towards being considered an HRO. These ideas reflect opportunities everyone has in sharing the community effort of being responsible for total patient care in their facility!

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