Schwartz Rounds enable any staff to come together to discuss the emotional and social aspects of working in health and care services including VCSE services.
The purpose of a round is to reflect on the challenges and rewards that come with providing care, it is not to solve problems or to focus on the clinical aspects of patient care.
Rounds can help people feel more supported in their jobs and connected and compassionate towards their colleagues, allowing them the time and space to reflect on their roles. Evidence shows that staff who attend Schwartz Rounds feel less stressed and isolated, with increased insight and appreciation for each other's roles whether they are working in the same service or not. They also help to reduce heirarchies between staff and to focus attention on the human aspects of care.
The underlying premise for rounds is that the compassion shown by staff can make all the difference to a patient's experience of care, but that in order to provide compassionate care staff must, in turn, feel supported in their work.
What's in the name?
In 1994, Ken Schwartz was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. During his treatment, he found that what mattered to him most as a patient were the simple acts of kindness from his caregivers, which he said made "the unbearable bearable." Before his death, he left a legacy for the establishment of the Schwartz Center in Boston, USA to help foster compassion in healthcare.
I have learned that medicine is not merely about performing tests or surgeries, or administering drugs... For as skilled and knowledgeable as my caregivers are, what matters most is that they have empathized with me in a way that gives me hope and makes me feel like a human being, not just an illness."
Schwartz Rounds were brought to the UK in 2009, beginning in relatively large organisations providing acute care, but are now operating in a range of different settings, supported by the Point of Care Foundation, including:
- community and mental health trusts
- primary care
- educational settings
Hospital Chief Executive Suzanne Rankin talks about why she brought Schwartz Rounds into her organisation: https://youtu.be/JWxksG0Kq2E
A Schwartz Round in action at St Joseph’s Hospice: https://youtu.be/ftBXbvSkuX8
A Schwartz Round at a hospital trust: https://youtu.be/0VfSkjGZAeY
Compassionate leadership Schwartz Rounds: https://youtu.be/cG6IrGmhg8E
Feedback from Schwartz Rounds in West Yorkshire
I've attended at least 4 Schwartz Rounds. As a non-clinical member of staff I am far-removed from what goes on "behind closed doors" in consultation rooms, wards etc however, at the rounds I got more of a sense of the real-life situations that are dealt with on a daily basis, more than that, how resilient and selfless staff have been in traumatising situations.
"I felt like I was more part of the hospital, that I had an awareness of what is so day-to-day for some people; it is very humbling. I also realised that at, whatever level you are, clinician non-clinical, I still had something to contribute during my working day, and this made me feel that I also, in a small way make a difference. When I left each meeting I felt like we were one big team."
Medical Secretary, Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Carl Betts, a paramedic from Yorkshire Ambulance Service, has shared his candid account of dropping his armour to speak openly at a Schwartz Round. Read Carl's story.
How to get involved
Each of our places in West Yorkshire has a dedicated person who can help you to set up a Schwartz Round, or find you a place on a Round that is already taking place in your organisation.
You can contact your local representative by emailing: email@example.com