“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

For a glimpse of a Schwartz Rounds session, please view our video, Voices of Caregivers, Schwartz Rounds.


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 time with patients and a focus on diagnosis and treatment rather than the impact an illness can have 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 Rounds® program, now taking place in more than 470 healthcare organizations throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and more than 190 sites throughout the U.K. and Ireland, 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.

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.

In order to conduct Schwartz Rounds, your healthcare institution must be a healthcare member of the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare. Please visit our healthcare membership page for information on becoming a member or complete our brief online healthcare membership application. See ideas for how to fund your membership.

Benefits of the Schwartz Rounds Program

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 institutions. This evaluation was published in Academic Medicine and can also be read in summary form.

supporting_caregiversCaregivers who participated in multiple Schwartz Rounds sessions reported:

  • Increased insight into the 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 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 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 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 Rounds

Be a fly on the wall at a recent Schwartz 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 Rounds program without first becoming healthcare members 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 bringing the Schwartz Rounds program to your organization, please fill out the inquiry form.

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