Specific Healthcare Standards of Performance Examples: Attitude and Appearance

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021
This blog post continues our series of HealthStream Coaching's patient experience best practices. Every week we share information from our coaches that demonstrates their expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions they have identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

Standards of Performance can be used in numerous ways to help select applicants who are well suited to the healthcare organization’s culture. As we look at best practices for using healthcare standards of performance, we will share some specific examples. This week we examine standards for attitude and appearance.


  • Our job is to serve our customers and provide high quality service with care and courtesy.
  • Always thank customers for choosing our organization.
  • Exceed expectations.
  • Acknowledge a customer’s presence immediately. Smile and introduce yourself at once.

Attitude takes into account three things: our body language, our friendliness and our willingness to connect with our customers.

The body language that goes along with the words that we are speaking greatly influences how we are understood. In fact, experts tell us that how we speak is just as important as what we are saying! Our customers are our reason for being in the healthcare environment; our attitude should always be one of concern, respect and genuine caring.

As a customer yourself, do you remember those places of business where the staff was friendly and went out of its way to acknowledge you? Of course you do, since this was an environment where you felt welcomed. We exhibit friendliness by smiling warmly, introducing ourselves immediately, and never, ever ignoring someone. All our customers are equally deserving of attention.

Finally, we show the right attitude by meeting the needs of our customers or finding someone who can. We go out of our way to be helpful; for example, we don’t point the way–we accompany the customer to where they need to go. In addition, we always thank them for choosing us to provide their healthcare experience.

An attitude of service excellence is further exhibited by showing interest when a customer speaks to us. Each one, without exception, should be treated as if he or she is the most important person in our facility; and rudeness is never acceptable. We are attentive to the customer’s immediate need, or gladly take the individual to someone better equipped to provide the service. We always apologize for problems and inconveniences, and enthusiastically carry out service recovery.

Lastly, we recognize that our customers have a sense of urgency and show them that we value their time. Customers are not an interruption of our work; they are our focal point, and caring for them with an attitude that shows we value them should be our daily goal.


  • Be clean and professional.
  • Follow dress code policies and wear your identification badge correctly at all times.
  • Pick up litter and dispose of it properly.
  • Clean up spills and return equipment to its proper place.

How long does it take to make a first impression on a customer? Just seven seconds, according to popular research. How our customers perceive us in that brief time is very important because it sets the stage for their entire healthcare experience. A first impression is sometimes referred to a “moment of truth” because customers believe that what they are hearing, seeing or feeling is reality – that is, the truth of the situation. No matter that their first impression is merely a snapshot of less than one moment in time. It is perceived as genuine: who we are, the quality of service that we deliver, or our physical environment of care. Needless to say, making that first impression a good one is crucial.

Moments of truth are directly impacted by the appearance of staff as well as that of the workplace, both of which are a direct representation of our organization. When we dress appropriately for the job and wear our name badges so that they are easily readable, we project professionalism to our customers. We not only create a good first impression, but we also reinforce our culture of quality through attention to personal appearance. The same principle applies to our healthcare setting. When we take pains to keep our workspace uncluttered and to pick up trash in hallways and public areas, we are sending a positive message to those who enter the doors of our facility for the first time. We should always take pride in how we present ourselves and in the facility itself. Doing so conveys respect for customers and their expectations.