We are delighted to confirm that Health Education England (HEE) has awarded funding to the School of Allied and Public Health Professions to establish Schwartz Rounds for students, academic staff and new registrants supporting our compassionate approach to healthcare.
Schwartz Rounds are named after Ken Schwartz, a healthcare lawyer from Boston, who in 1994 was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. During his 10-months of medical care, he came to realise that what matters most during an illness is the human connection between patients and their caregivers. He wrote about how ‘the smallest acts of kindness’ make ’the unbearable bearable’
Ken Schwartz founded The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare in 1995 just before he died, to ensure patients receive compassionate and humane care. In the UK, The King’s Fund piloted Schwartz Rounds in the NHS from 2009-13. This work is now continued by The Point of Care Foundation who agreed a licence with The Schwartz Center to introduce Rounds in the UK and Ireland.
Schwartz Rounds are a structured space or forum for students, staff and practitioners from health and social care professions to come together to share the emotional care aspects of their work and training.
Attendees are invited to hear from a panel of usually 3-4 students/ new registrants/ practitioners telling their stories about a time or an incident that had an emotional impact. Attendees are then invited to share their own reflections. Each Round has a specific theme, for example: ‘the patient I’ll never forget’; 'the power of a thank you'; 'being part of a team'.
Rounds always aim to start and finish at exactly the times advertised, and free refreshments (usually lunch, teas, and coffees) are always provided before face-to-face Rounds, to ensure the Rounds remain an accessible, respectful, supportive environment within the working day.
There are two trained facilitators at each Round, who are present to guide discussion where needed, and to guide the focus toward reflecting on emotions rather than seeking solutions or blame. Everything is confidential with everyone who attends agreeing that no names will be used, and what is said during the hour is not attributed to individuals.
Research evidence indicates that attendance at Rounds promotes reflective practice and helps to break down hierarchical, organisational and professional barriers, allowing attendees to recognise that the feelings invoked from practice are very usual. Practitioners at all levels of an organisation are emotionally impacted from delivering health and social care, and it is a good safety mechanism to be able to share and reflect upon stories and vulnerabilities from our work. Schwartz Rounds are one tool for reducing feelings of isolation in the workplace. They have the possibility of changing organisational cultures as learning is taken back into practice settings.
Schwartz Rounds are now underway at the CCCU Medway and Canterbury campuses. Our facilitators come from across the Faculty from interprofessional backgrounds in Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Paramedic Science, Practice Learning, Public Health Ethics and Social Work.
You are welcome to attend if you are a student or a new registrant from the following CCCU professional courses:
You can attend Schwartz Rounds during a placement if you have permission from your practice educator. You will receive a certificate of attendance to add to your CPD portfolio. If you have Schwartz Rounds in your trust, you can also attend CCCU Schwartz Rounds too.
Most people find the Rounds supportive and reflective. If you require further support following a Schwartz round, you can catch up with one of the round organisers following the round closure, contact your Personal Academic Tutor or speak to our Mental Wellbeing Team.
Storytellers form a key part of Schwartz Rounds. The role of a storyteller is to share an experience with those attending the Round, to aid reflection, and the story can be discussed by all attendees when the session is opened to discussion.
During a Round, after introductions are made by the facilitators, the storytellers speak first, taking five minutes each to tell a story from their own experiences, and to talk about their experiences from a social and emotional point of view.
After all the stories have been heard, the facilitators will invite contributions from all other attendees at the Round. These contributions can be thoughts addressed directly to the storytellers about their stories, but usually the rest of the Round involves an open and facilitated discussion between everyone in the room, on the theme of the Round. Storytellers can be students, new registrants and practitioners.
We would love to hear your stories and talk to you about how your story could become part of an upcoming Round. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if you would like to be a storyteller. Our facilitators will arrange a time to meet with you to discuss your experiences and will guide you through the process of preparing a story to tell at a Round.