The good news, she says, is that any disconnect between children and their hospital experience can be quickly addressed. For example, Ryan-Wegner says hospitals should consider using their interactive patient care systems and intranet to ask children at least once a day about their experiences, positive and negative. "The nurses can look at those responses and managed the care accordingly."
Ryan-Wegner recommends putting a white board in patients' rooms to help children communicate their concerns. "It could be the Top 3 Things that you should know about me. For example, 'Don't call me Sweetie. Call me by my name,'" she says. "Little things that we might not think are important may be important to children. Why not tailor your care to things that are most important to them?"
Ryan-Wegner says a child's experience as a hospital patient could have lifelong implications. "Depending upon how positive or negative their hospital experience is, it may have an effect on their future, on their use of healthcare, even decisions about whether to go into healthcare or not."
"If you ask many nurses or physicians, they said they wanted to become a physician or a nurse because of a positive hospital experience. It may influence their own healthcare decisions in the future."