"Schwartz Rounds 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
The stresses of today’s healthcare system threaten the delivery of compassionate care. Financial pressures and administrative demands mean less time with patients and a focus on diagnosis and treatment rather than the impact an illness can have on the patient and family. As a result, 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 Rounds program, now taking place in hundreds of organizational members in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand offers healthcare providers a regularly scheduled time during their fast-paced work lives to openly and honestly discuss the social and emotional issues they face in caring for patients and families. 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.
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.
Schwartz Rounds sessions strengthen the caregiver-patient relationship and remind caregivers why they entered the healthcare profession. A comprehensive evaluation has shown that the program has a unique and profound impact on caregivers as well as host organizations. This evaluation was published in Academic Medicine and can also be read in summary form.
Caregivers who participated in multiple Schwartz Rounds sessions reported:
In many cases, participants reported that insights gained at Schwartz 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 Schwartz Rounds sessions caregivers attended, the greater the benefits they experienced.
At many Schwartz 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 Rounds program on 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 reports.
We initiated the Schwartz Rounds program in 2002 and it is still going strong, with an average of more than 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 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
In order to conduct Schwartz Rounds, your healthcare organization must be a healthcare member of 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 becoming a healthcare member, complete our brief online inquiry form.