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Schwartz Center Rounds®


"Schwartz Center Rounds sessions are a place where people who don’t usually talk about the heart of the work are willing to share their vulnerability, to question themselves. The program provides an opportunity for dialogue that doesn't happen anywhere else in the hospital." - Participant

Supporting Providers. Improving Quality of Care.
The stresses of today’s healthcare system threaten the delivery of compassionate care. Financial pressures and administrative demands mean less face-to-face time with the patient and a focus on diagnosis and treatment rather than the impact of illness on the patient and family. Many caregivers today are anxious, frustrated and under pressure – with no structured outlet for expressing their feelings and little preparation for the difficult communication issues that are an inevitable part of patient care.

The Schwartz Center Rounds program, now taking place in more than 320 healthcare facilities in 39 states, offers healthcare providers a regularly scheduled time during their fast-paced work lives to openly and honestly discuss social and emotional issues that arise in caring for patients. In contrast to traditional medical rounds, the focus is on the human dimension of medicine. Caregivers have an opportunity to share their experiences, thoughts and feelings on thought-provoking topics drawn from actual patient cases. The premise is that caregivers are better able to make personal connections with patients and colleagues when they have greater insight into their own responses and feelings.

A hallmark of the program is interdisciplinary dialogue. Panelists from diverse disciplines participate in the sessions, including physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, allied health professionals and chaplains. After listening to a panel’s brief presentation on an identified case or topic, caregivers in the audience are invited to share their own perspectives on the case and broader related issues.

For a glimpse of a Schwartz Center Rounds session, please view the Schwartz Center's video, The Schwartz Center Rounds: Voices of Caregivers.

Benefits of the Schwartz Center Rounds Program
Schwartz Center Rounds sessions strengthen the caregiver-patient relationship and remind caregivers why they entered their profession.  A comprehensive evaluation shows that the program has a unique and profound impact on caregivers as well as host institutions. This evaluation was recently written about in Academic Medicine and can also be read in summary form. Caregivers who participated in multiple Schwartz Center Rounds sessions reported:

  • Increased insight into social and emotional aspects of patient care; increased feelings of compassion toward patients; and increased readiness to respond to patients’ and families’ needs.
  • Improved teamwork, interdisciplinary communication, and appreciation for the roles and contributions of colleagues from different disciplines.
  • Decreased feelings of stress and isolation, and more openness to giving and receiving support.

In many cases, participants reported that insights gained at Schwartz Center Rounds sessions led to the implementation of specific changes in departmental or hospital-wide practices or policies to benefit both patients and providers. The study also found that the more caregivers attended, the greater the benefits they experienced.

At many Schwartz Center Rounds sites (requirements vary by state) physicians, nurses and social workers can receive continuing education credits for attending. Attendance can also help satisfy the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education core competency requirements for post-graduate residency programs. The Joint Commission includes the Schwartz Center Rounds program in its list of recommended resources for improving provider-patient communication. At some participating hospitals, Joint Commission surveyors have put a special note of commendation about the program in their report.

"We initiated the Schwartz Center Rounds program in 2002 and it is still going strong, with an average of over 100 attendees each month. The format allows for a free exchange of ideas, feelings and reactions, reinforcing the common humanity of caregivers, patients and families. Schwartz Center Rounds sessions are clearly now part of the fabric of our institution."
-Raymond J. Mayewski, MD, Vice President and CMO, University of Rochester Medical Center

Inside Schwartz Center Rounds
Be a fly on the wall at a recent Schwartz Center Rounds session. "Inside Schwartz Center Rounds" offers a glimpse into the tough emotional and psychosocial issues caregivers face.

Next Steps

Institutions are not permitted to start the Schwartz Center Rounds program without permission from the Schwartz Center. Our staff works closely with new sites to assure they have the support needed to launch and sustain a high quality program. To learn more about bringing the Schwartz Center Rounds program to your organization please click here and fill out the inquiry form.

The Schwartz Center receives funding from a number of sources to support the Schwartz Center Rounds program, including The Amgen Foundation, The Jackson and Irene Golden Charitable Trust, Millennium – The Takeda Oncology Company, and many thoughtful individual supporters. These organizations and individuals have no control or influence over the content of the program.