The power of a simple introduction

Thursday, May 28, 2015 - 11:11am

Introducing ourselves to patients, clients, visitors and colleagues is an important part of providing exceptional service. That’s why “introducing self and role” is one of the expected service behaviours reinforced in the Communicate with Heart™ customer service training program being implemented in the Central Zone of Nova Scotia Health Authority.

We asked graduates of the Communicate with Heart™ program to tell us why introducing themselves to patients, clients and colleagues is important. Here’s what we heard:

Stephen Filek, licensed practical nurse, 3-West, Dartmouth General Hospital
“Patients feel more at ease when they know who you are, as do family and friends of the patients. I find it creates a relationship right away. This very simple task creates a warm, friendly environment for both the people that use our services and those who work here.”

Colette Weare, licensed practical nurse, Public Health (immunization team)
“Prior to immunizing all students I introduce myself and welcome them to my zone. This helps to break the ice, especially when the student is nervous.”

Audrey Moore, Continuing Care co-ordinator
“I typically introduce myself in client’s home and start by explaining our role…and provide an overview of Continuing Care... This may take about five minutes, but I think it really helps decrease some of the anxiety.  The health care system is so vast and it is difficult to navigate.”

Darlene Duggan, nurse
I make it a point to introduce myself as the very first thing I do…It's reassuring to them. It builds trust and a strong relationship with your patient...I love my job and nurse from the heart. I find this also leads to less buzzers and they know you will be returning to check on them and that they matter and are not just another patient. I also tell them it’s okay to ring if they need me... I find doing this not only builds rapport with my patients but it makes my day a little easier.”

Porter, unit aide, stores clerk (name withheld upon request)
“I’m very lucky to be able to work in three departments. When I work as a porter, introducing myself clears up misconceptions the patient may have as to who I am. I also tell the person where I’m taking them. Sometimes they’ve been told beforehand, but sometimes not, or they’ve forgotten.

“When I work as a unit aide, in the past, I tended not to step forward and introduce myself as often as I should, because I was usually preoccupied with my own thoughts while stocking shelves and checking medication cupboards in the patient rooms. Since this exercise was first sent to us by email, I’ve been making a point of introducing myself as soon as I walk into the room. I tell the patients and families what services I provide and let them know that I can do simple tasks for them, such as moving a table closer, or giving them a box of Kleenex. 

“When I work as a stores clerk, I occasionally have to call other departments to ask for clarification with their orders, and when doing so, I tell them my name, the department I’m calling from, and the purpose of my call.”

Benoit Thibodeau, registered nurse
“I am health professional with great responsibility and power. This is why I must instill confidence not only in my skill and my knowledge but also my work ethic and my professional behaviour. My biggest reward: Sometimes while shopping or walking outside someone will recognize me and after they state my first name, they will say how much difference I made  while they were sick or hurt at the hospital.”

Delfina Prest, Continuing Care, Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital (wound care)
“I value communication and make a point to introduce myself to any new client... always.  This simple gesture alleviates stress, and is imperative to the partnership of goal and expectation between client and provider. It is in these precious moments the foundation of trust is nurtured to facilitate the plan of care, and most importantly instill confidence in our promise of people-centered health care.”

Rosalie Collier, unit clerk, Community Transitions Unit, QEII
“Most families that come through the door see me first. After an introduction, I give them a blurb about the unit, parking passes, the form “About Me” so they can let us know a little more about the patient’s likes, dislikes, etc.  I help families with the phone numbers for the floor, the door code and other information. And if families arrive with the patient, I welcome the patient by name to our unit.”