Patient Experience newsletter, April 2019: Spotlight on our patient reps

Monthly updates from the Office of the Patient Experience

Spotlight on our patient reps

The Office of the Patient Experience is staffed with five patient relations specialists dedicated to assisting our patients and families when they have concerns about the care provided while at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. These relations specialists work closely with our patients and families to understand issues that arise, and they work closely with staff involved to find a resolution.

Patient relations specialists (left to right): Allison Wright, Kathy Courtois, Carol McEleney, Julie Stern, and Michelle Schultz

When a complaint or grievance is received in our office, our staff investigate the concerns with the department administrator, physicians involved, nurse manager, assistant nurse manager, and/or staff present. The patient’s concern may be resolved by the staff present or through a response letter, which is required for grievances.

Patient relations specialist roles and responsibilities include:

  • Serving as liaison among our providers, staff, and patients
  • Neutral party presence
  • Offering service recovery when we miss the mark as a measure of goodwill
  • Offering consultations for problem solving
  • Recapturing and preserving the relationship for future care

Grievances and complaints received in the Office of the Patient Experience may come from:

  • Handwritten letters that are sent to:
    • Office of the Patient Experience
    • Department/division leaders
    • CEO
  • Email
  • Letters attached to the Press Ganey satisfaction comments
  • Meeting with patients at the bedside
  • Phone calls
  • Patients coming to the Office of the Patient Experience
  • Patient experience inbox

Contact us

Office of the Patient Experience
UI Hospitals & Clinics
200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, IA 52242

Our staff

Read more about the Office of the Patient Experience and other staff members on their SharePoint site.

Recent patient comments about “explanations by staff”


  • “Each time the person doing the treatment explained in language I could understand what was being done.”
  • “Pharmacist came in prior to my therapy and was very knowledgeable. Explained plan and drug interactions.”
  • “Nurses were amazing the whole time. They answered all my questions and made sure everything was great. Explained everything very good.”
  • “I was transferred to a skilled care facility. The whole discharge process was informative, mode of transportation & possible charges explain. Timing was given and met.”
  • “Did an excellent job at explaining all tests and need for them. Took extra care to make sure I was comfortable throughout the process.”
  • “The team who took him into surgery met with me before hand, explained everything, and showed him so much care and love. It helped us feel at ease while he was in surgery.”
  • “Both doctor and assistant explained what they were doing and results of exam.”
  • “I was called with  the test results and given options (that were thoroughly explained at that time), much sooner than expected (told about a week for the results). I was called the next day with the results!”
  • “The staff were very helpful and explained things in more detail if I needed them to. Gave options and let me decide about treatment plans.”
  • “We understand that some delays a unavoidable. Explanations were always given.”

  Missed the mark

  • “Seemed rushed, talked fast, gave me options, and told me to do what I want without much explanation.”
  • “At some point in time, the patient may not know what to ask and docs could assist with providing more information and explain what to expect.”
  • “I was not aware of ordering food and how simple it was. I had not eaten the previous day—I was starving—once I asked she explained the procedure.”
  • “Not explained how to put on braces. Nurse over discharge seemed unprofessional and in a hurry. I wasn’t ready to go home but felt I had to. Social worker didn’t seem to really care about my feelings w/regard to going home.”
  • “Pharmacist ordered medicine and didn’t explain—it was also medicine his primary care doctor had discontinued.”
  • “Baby couldn’t eat due to an upcoming test, but reasoning wasn’t explained well at first.”
  • “Did not explain recommendation—then acted insulted when I questioned and said I needed more info—made snap judgment on condition w/o enough info. I won’t to back!”
  • “We waited over 2 hours to see my son’s doctor, and had no apology or explanation offered.”
  • “Never received a results of the blood test that explained the results. It was on the computer but I didn’t see an explanation of the results.”
  • “Couldn’t understand the doctor’s assistants who do most of the explanations.”

1 comment

  1. A huge thank you to these amazing patient reps! They absolutely add to the success of this institution and work very hard to assist patients/families in making the hospital experience a good one.

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