The Customer is NEVER Right - A Nurse Practitioner's Perspective


     "You nailed it! You are so right."

          Dennis S.
        15 Jun 2015

     "I was planning to purchase this book but after reading several pages via the "Look Inside" option I knew I could not possibly read more than that. His writing is abysmal and his grammar is horrible! In addition, it is poorly organized and flows from one unrelated thought to another. Perhaps more importantly, I think it shows why he had seven jobs in seven years. He has no understanding of what non-medical people go through when seeking medical care, and little compassion. I am a pediatrician working in emergency/urgent care so I know the frustrations that providers deal with. We complain to each other about patients and parents, but we express concern and compassion when dealing with them face to face. It sounds like Mr Torres is not able to do that. Perhaps he needs to seek another line of work."

          Camille P. (
                  18 Apr 2015

     "I agree with 87% of [the book]."

          Joyce E.
       10 Dec 2014

     "I'm thoroughly enjoying reading your book as well as your Facebook posts!"

          Michelle K., RN
             25 Oct 2014


     "In The Customer is NEVER right, the author goes against the tide of political correctness and states the obvious- that Emergency Departments in the United States are not always caring for people with medical emergencies. Rather, there is a patient population who utilizes it for non emergent needs, and this misuse of the system not only is a distraction and diverts valuable resources away from from the care of truly sick people, but also contributes to the financial burdens upon healthcare and causes caregiver compassion fatigue and burnout. In this age of Pay for Service, a burden placed upon Hospitals which falls under the Affordable Care Act (A.C.A.), and is the gague by which hospitals are reimbursed for their services, patients have been reduced to "customers" and well-educated healthcare providers have been reduced to the likes of automobile and retail salespeople; healthcare is in essence not so much gagued by the government based upon medical skill anymore but rather by "fluffy" indicators. This book mocks this asinine nature of treating patients as customers in need of fluff, rather than as individual and diverse human beings with complex comorbidites requiring care by highly skilled and educated caregivers. I believe this book looks at the hard truths that are currently burdening the healthcare system. I believe the message of this book is that the A.C.A. has caused an assembly line mentality to healthcare and what's necessary to ensure quality is to bring back humanness to healthcare. Compassion cannot be gagued by third party surveyors hiredby the federal government; the government cannot legislate compassion by systemizing and depersonalizing healthcare. Compassion is achieved by giving educated and qualified healthcare workers the freedom to individualize patient care to each diverse individual human being. I believe this is the message the author Torres is trying to convey."

          Michelle K., RN
             6 Feb 2015

     "The message is powerful and needed to be heard and would deserve a five star rating had it not been for the lack of editing. Everything important could have been stated in one quarter the number of pages. Unfortunately, there was a lot of redundancy. It just underscores the critical value of good editing."

     Carol L. H. (
                    9 Jul 2014

     "The book was awesome and very true. We are having a crisis in medicine right now and it is becoming more and more apparent, even to people who really don't want to see it."

          Barbara F., RN
           17 Jun 2014

     "I congratulate you for having the courage to write on this particular subject, ['The Customer is NEVER Right']. You have written an excellent book that should raise lots of eyebrows--especially for those in management positions. I have read articles on similar subjects before, but none that were as clear or as relevant as your book. I think that it is very disgusting that management/companies will side with petulant, unreasonable, angry, and demanding customers--instead of with the employee. It sends a clear message to the employee--that they are not valued. I also believe that the worst feeling that an employee can perceive is to feel that their boss has betrayed them. The phrase, 'The customer is always right' is counter-productive..."

          Jose T. F., RN
            8 Mar 2014

     "Total lack of self-awareness and insight. It started out by the author stating that he was going to give his 'unbiased' views based on his memories, which by definition makes them biased. His writing was repetitive and his gramar was atrocious. His inabiity to see why his self-reported behavior was inappropriate to the situations he related demonstrated a total lack of self-awareness and insight. I only gave this one-star because negative stars are not an option on the review site."

          J. West (
                      21 Oct 2013

     "You and several of my friends are stronger than me. I could never work in a healthcare system based on profits. Thank you for sharing you're experiences with the world. I recently experienced profit driven healthcare while my dad was dying. The things I saw towards the end literally made me sick to my stomach."

          Bubba G.
        27 Jul 2013

     "I really liked the book but I did think from [me] not being medical that some of the stories (because they were so similar) did not need to be mentioned. I would've rather had the book be a little shorter."

         Julie G.
      17 Jul 2013

     "[I] loved it and it was very well written! [L]oved the stories about [my] brother..."

          Alejandro R.
          15 Jul 2013

     "[T]he book was a blast of fresh air, thoroughly enjoyed it! Ah, the world from the perspective of the Jose we all know and love...I mean, what's not to like? Just giving you the piss, Jose, because I'm actually quite envious."

          Gail T. W., NP
           15 Jul 2013

     "[I] thought it was right on. I've been in healthcare for 10 years and have seen the same bad habits being repeated over and over: giving patients the upper hand just to make a buck. I was very pleased to find out that I am not the only one that felt that healthcare has become another get as many patient in the door and take their money business without serious thought of what was best for them. I recently resigned from my position as manager for an Ob/Gyn clinic...because of it. I started to hate my job and hate the over expectations of patients and hated even more that if these patients were not accommodated I would get written up. So after deep thought I resigned and am now super happy.

I lent the book to my sonography professor because I was so moved by it and am sure she will love your thoughts and experiences as did I. Thanks!!!

          Wanda L. R.
           15 Jul 2013

     "Oh my God! How can ALL that be true? I am so glad I am not a nurse!"

          Jessica G.
        13 Jul 2013

     "Reading this book resonates with me as I am deeply steeped in the Health Care Industry working as an Emergency Room Doctor. It seems we have lost sight of, "actually taking care of Patients"! The caring for them motivated by our own morality and joy of assisting others, coupled with a skill cultivated by years of an assembly line production and factory driven satisfaction score, motivated by an external force....The Hospital and its bottom dollar. This book points out the flaws of our current Hospital and Administrators interference with managing patient care and turning the patient into a "customer", resulting in unrealistic demands on the staff to improve customer satisfaction scores over patient care. Jose, the author, further solidifies the simple truth.....The customer is "Never RIGHT", since their emotional and impossible red carpet expectation is pointless and an unnecessary element to treating them successfully. We need to treat patients as patients and not customers, and certainly not cower to their false perceptions of what they think they need, but instead to offer them what they ACTUALLY need. Next, I am mystified by Jose, (an excellent provider who gives the "actual care patients need"), and how he is misinterpreted as an uncaring individual. Jose did a great job to describe the essence of these themes and to remedy the imbalance of the wrong style our current model of Health Care is advocating. Great job Jose Torres! This was a thrilling and must read for any health care professional. The book, "The Customer is NEVER Right", has indelibly improved my level of awareness in my own practice of Emergency Medicine in a Hospital based setting."

          Douglas, K, MD
               3 Jul 2013

     "[The] book was great me and Jan [sic] tell everyone about it."

          Michael C., FNP

      "Rings so true. Thanks for putting your thoughts on paper."

          Pete S., RN

     "Great book! I could visualize the same discussions with staff and patients throughout my career. It happens nationwide. I never thought I'd see the day that the ER would become Primary Care, so glad I am retiring soon."

          Kathleen A. R. (
                       21 Apr 2013

     "I came across this book via Linked In. I devoured the Nook version in less than a week. I guess you could say that I'm the type of person that gravitates toward thinking outside the box; am open to suggestions that go against the flow. This book is just that. If you are a manager, director, chief nursing officer (or executive), or heck, the CEO of a hospital, you need to read this book.

I don't think many in healthcare leadership looked at the cons of patient satisfaction scoring before they jumped in feet first. I'll have to agree with Jose; satisfaction scores should have nothing to do with how we administer care to our patients. We are not the service industry, we are the healthcare industry. If you want to pressure the staff to increase customer satisfaction, then let us accept tips (that will NEVER happen). Just think of all the money a hospital could save if the only customer satisfaction scores they tracked were the ones required for HCAHPS.

With patient satisfaction, you could boil it down to one thing: the golden rule; treat others how you would want to be treated. That's it. Simple. It will work every time. No need to have extra training or seminars, just encourage the golden rule.

This book is very timely in my life as I'm currently in graduate school for an Masters of Science in Nursing Leadership and Management. And per this book, I'll strive just for Leadership. I believe it is very important to hear both sides of a story, and not just take the patient's word. Being in emergency nursing my entire nursing career (12 years, plus 4 years of being an emergency medical technician while in nursing school), I totally identify with Jose's situation. There are many, many people with unrealistic expectations and entitlements, and we in healthcare see them all the time. Those of you that work in healthcare that are reading this, know deep in your soul that this is a truth. Those of you that don't think this is true, you need to get your head out of the sand. And if you don't like that last statement, flame away, you still have your head stuck in the sand.

As far as the writing itself, I found it somewhat repetitive, even to the point of skipping pages because I had read it before. But that is really the only weak point. I kept immersing myself in his patient experiences, thinking the same thoughts.

Jose, you have to... no you NEED to present this topic at conferences (ENA for example). The word needs to get out there; it is that important. Leaders need to lead, think independently, go against the herd, be willing to risk their job once in a while.

I think many people in healthcare think similarly to Jose, but they are afraid to say it. Jose had the testicular fortitude, and he did it. He got it done."

          William S., RN (
                       3 Apr 2013
     "It took courage for you to write this. While there are those who will point out that your being let go from so many jobs shows a fault in you, many of us do recognize that the fault is trying to cater to those with the unreasonable and, often, unsafe expectations. Thanks for writing this and saying what many in the field feel."
          MD, MBA, FAAEM
     "The book reads as if we were in the living room and you were sitting there telling me the stories yourself."
          Carolyn C.
     "Great book! The book is so enjoyable and anyone in health care now can identify with all the stories of how the medical industry had totally lost focus on its purpose to provide quality and appropriate health care, I am proud of my autographed book and proud to call you my friend. Great read for anyone in the medical profession!"
          Terri L., RN
     "Great read! Thanks for the book. I am only on chapter 3 but love it. Can't wait to share it with one of my yoga students who is head of operations for Kaiser and a few nurses I know. It's Oprah material!"
          Joyce E.
     "Love the book! Great read! You had me with the title of the book because I wondered, yeah, when did the patient become a customer? LOVED your nurse commercial [pg. 93]. Saw you standing on a mountain top shouting it out."
          Becky E., NP
     "Congratulations! Another accomplishment."
          Brooke L.
     "I can hear you saying the words when I read your quotes in the book."
          Eddie M.
       16 Dec 2013
     "I hope I am not one of those patients [with exaggerated unrealistic emotional expectations] you talk about. It's a great read."
          Maribel H.
        10 Dec 2012
     "I'm proud to say 'my friend Jose, wrote a book, and you've gotta read it!'"
          Jan S., RN MSN CEN ARNP
                      15 Nov 2012

     "I think you have written a very heartfelt and, in many ways, disturbing depiction of the status of frontline emergency healthcare in the US today from the point of view of one long-term participant, a nurse practitioner. Your sincerity and passion for your chosen occupation jump off the page, especially as you document your interactions with the patients of the emergency departments and the hospital administrations. Your point that healthcare has been transformed from a helping profession to just one more profit-driven business is very acute and closely observed. As you argue, the value of your record is that it is one healthcare professional’s experience working in a difficult and stressful setting, where, increasingly, the patients you see have unreasonable expectations—which you encapsulate in the phrase 'exaggerated unrealistic emotional expectations.'
     You have created a compelling record of one man’s struggle to maintain his integrity and his job, and, ultimately, failing, at least in terms of the job. I agree with you, that this record is important and worth telling, not so much to document one man’s difficulties, as to point out some serious shortcomings in the current state of healthcare, in particular in Emergency Medicine departments. You have clearly poured a great deal of effort, thought, and emotion into this work; I was very moved by some of the stories you tell, and I agree with your contention that there are serious problems with the current, profit-driven model of healthcare. This work is a useful contribution to the debate currently going on at many levels in this country about healthcare."
          Editor (Scribendi EM292)
                   12 Sep 2012