Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Linda Urden, DNSc, RN, CNS, FAAN (Chair), Cynthia Connelly, PhD., RN, FAAN, Cynthia Connelly, PhD., RN, FAAN


patient experience, patient satisfaction


The purpose of this research project is to identify the key drivers in patients’ satisfaction. Specifically, the factors that patients consider when assigning a numeric rating (0-10) to their overall hospital stay. The overall satisfaction question is significant because it is considered to be the “top box” question. The top box question is the patientrated experience measure reported to Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) in determining the compensation a facility receives for reimbursement in the Value Based Purchasing model. The results of this study have a financial implication for healthcare, as well as in the delivery of quality and compassionate care.

This qualitative study used semi-structured phone interviews to identify key factors participants considered when assigning the overall rating of their hospital stay. Data were analyzed using the following steps; immersion, understanding, abstraction, synthesis and theme development, illumination and illustration of the phenomena, and integration and critique (Ajjawi & Higgs, 2007). Ultimately the data were able to be consolidated into four major themes, 1) human interaction, 2) caring behaviors, 3) hospital accommodations and procedures, and 4) transition to home. The findings indicated patients most frequently placed the most significance on the human interactions and caring behaviors when asked about the influences on the overall hospital stay. The findings of this study are significant not only for those already in the healthcare field, but for academic institutions and curriculums, who struggle with finding the right person for the job. The results show us it is not only the academic knowledge that is important, but the human factor of caring and interpersonal skills that makes a qualified healthcare provider. The results of the study, raises the question, “Is healthcare a profession or a calling?” Can compassion and empathy be taught and learned, or is it innate? All of these questions will need to be explored further in order to provide the care and compassion that is demanded from our consumers, the patients.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access