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Understanding and improving patient experience: A national survey of training courses provided by higher education providers and healthcare organizations in England

Robert, G, Waite, R, Cornwell, J, Morrow, E and Maben, Jill (2012) Understanding and improving patient experience: A national survey of training courses provided by higher education providers and healthcare organizations in England Nurse Education Today, 34 (1). pp. 112-120.

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Understanding and improving ‘patient experience’ is essential to delivering high quality healthcare. However, little is known about the provision of education and training to healthcare staff in this increasingly important area.


This study aims to ascertain the extent and nature of such provision in England and to identify how it might be developed in the future.


An on-line survey was designed to explore training provision relating to patient experiences. To ensure that respondents thought about patient experience in the same way we defined patient experience training as that which aims to teach staff: ‘How to measure or monitor the experience, preferences and priorities of patients and use that knowledge to improve their experience’. Survey questions (n = 15) were devised to cover nine consistently reported key aspects of patient experience; identified from the research literature and recommendations put forward by professional bodies. The survey was administered to (i) all 180 providers of Higher Education (HE) to student/qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, and (ii) all 390 National Health Service (NHS) trusts in England. In addition, we added a single question to the NHS 2010 Staff Survey (n = 306,000) relating to the training staff had received to deliver a good patient experience.


Two hundred and sixty-five individuals responded to the on-line survey representing a total of 159 different organizations from the HE and healthcare sectors. Respondents most commonly identified ‘relationships’ as an ‘essential’ aspect of patient experience education and training. The biggest perceived gaps in current provision related to the ‘physical’ and ‘measurement’ aspects of our conceptualization of patient experience. Of the 148,657 staff who responded to the Staff Survey 41% said they had not received patient experience training and 22% said it was not applicable to them.


While some relevant education courses are in place in England, the results suggest that specific training with regard to the physical needs and comfort of patients, and how patient experiences can be measured and used to improve services, should be introduced. Future developments should also focus, firstly, on involving a wider range of patients in planning and delivering courses and, secondly, evaluating whether courses impact on the attitudes and behaviors of different professional groups and might therefore contribute to improved patient experiences.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Authors :
Robert, G
Waite, R
Cornwell, J
Morrow, E
Date : 13 November 2012
DOI : 10.1016/j.nedt.2012.10.012
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Patient experiencePatient involvementNurse educationMedical educationTrainingPatient-centered care
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 13 Dec 2017 12:20
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 19:06

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