News & Events

And the survey says … We’re getting sick of surveys!

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
October/November 2011 Edition

By Deb Rigiero

If you have recently purchased a car, bought groceries, dined out, stayed at a hotel, been admitted to a hospital, visited a doctor, gone to work, done anything online, Facebooked, tweeted, or even answered a phone, then you have most likely been asked to complete a survey. So the question is, how much information do we willingly give out about ourselves on a daily basis?

Sometimes we are enticed to complete a survey by a chance to win something, a free gift card, free appetizers, etc. Other times we are pressured into filling out a survey so that the employee will be rewarded or not be penalized. At work we are often pressured into filling out surveys and, without a union, you may be forced to fill out surveys.

The questions you should be asking yourself before you fill out a survey include:

  • How does filling out this survey help me?
  • Why are they asking this information?
  • Who sees the information I provided?
  • How do they use the information?
  • Is it really anonymous?
  • Can the information be used against me?

Some surveys should be accompanied by the warning “any information you provide can and will be used against you.” If you are filling out a survey for your employer should you let them know how often you exercise, if you smoke, do you drink, or even provide a sample of your blood for complimentary tests like cholesterol or blood sugar? Why does your employer need this information? Could your employer use this information against you? Will your answers to workplace surveys be used against you at the negotiation table?

How about surveys our patients are asked to fill out? Are we being told what to say to patients so that their surveys are positive? Doesn’t this feel phony? Isn’t it more important for our patients to have a nurse who has the resources to provide the care they need? Yes, maybe the nurse didn’t smile or seemed harried because they had too many patients to care for at one time. Who gets blamed for a negative survey? Do the survey questions really reflect what is important to patient care?

Surveys are not all bad. Many surveys actually are helpful and can positively impact us. I would suggest that all union members take advantage of the union’s contract or issue survey so that your issues and concerns can be addressed either in a contract or at the labor/ management table. Surveys that ask how something can be improved or what would help you to utilize their services better can be helpful.

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I hope this article gave you something to think about. Please complete the following survey and you will receive a free copy of the Massachusetts Nurse.

  1. Did the author keep you interested?
  2. Was the article too long?
  3. Would you read another article by this author?
  4. Are you sick of surveys?