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Nurse researchers to study impact of 'Schwartz rounds' in NHS

Nurse researchers are to investigate whether a US initiative that provides emotional support to healthcare staff could tackle the controversial issue of compassionate care by making the NHS workforce happier.

A team, led by researchers from the National Nursing Research Unit at King’s College London, is to carry out a three-year evaluation of Schwartz Centre Rounds. 

The study aims to uncover to what extent participation in “Schwartz Rounds” impacts on staff wellbeing at work, relationships between staff and patients, and levels of compassion – a key buzzword for the government regarding nursing policy.

“Schwartz rounds bring all staff together regardless of profession or speciality on an equal footing”

Jill Maben

Conceived in the US, they are a multidisciplinary forum where staff meet once a month to discuss the psychological, emotional and social challenges of their work.

The Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust highlighted the positive impact Schwartz rounds could have, based on their early use at around 15 NHS trusts and in the US.

The Department of Health subsequently announced a £650,000 grant last May to expand their use across the health service over two years. They are currently being implemented in 60 organisations in England, including acute and mental health trusts and hospices.

NNRU director Professor Jill Maben will lead the new study into their “implementation, effectiveness and impact on care delivery and patient experiences of care”.

“What’s unique about Schwartz rounds is that they bring all staff together regardless of profession or speciality on an equal footing, to share their stories and experiences, their motivations and the different challenges they face in practice every day,” she said.

“They appear to provide an important space for staff to detail the highs and lows of their work and gain support and insights from colleagues,” she added.

The study will build on the results of a small pilot published by the King’s Fund think-tank in 2009, where participants at two UK hospitals reported benefits for day-to-day patient care and teamwork.

Jocelyn Cornwell director of the Point of Care Foundation, a charity which provides training and support on Schwartz rounds, said: “Interest in them has grown hugely in the last three years and we are pleased that it is now possible to conduct a robust evaluation of their effectiveness.”

Readers' comments (15)

  • tinkerbell

    we don't need to sit around wringing our hands we just need to be given the tools to do the job and treated with the same dignity and respect we want to give our patients.

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  • michael stone

    If everyone would treat each other like human beings, quite a lot of these problems would disappear, I suspect.

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  • re-tinkerbell

    good luck with that one with this govt in charge!

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  • tinkerbell

    i'm campaigning to get rid of them. Luck has nothing to do with it:)

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  • tinkerbell

    michael stone | 20-May-2014 2:02 pm

    your suspicions are probably correct:)

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  • Yeh lets all hug each other and be equal for that moment in time, what rubbish!

    Give us the correct amount of staff on the ward, give us duty off and on that is fair.
    Sort out the Bullying, lazyness, unfairness.
    Get us good strong fair managers who know their job.
    Give us respect, give us kindness.
    Then and only then love, compassion and happiness will florish.

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  • Hi,

    Your cynicism amazes me! There seem to be lots of nurses who would benefit directly from being honest about how they feel and the challenges they face day to day. We are not all Iron Man you know.

    IanG Stoke.

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  • Schwartz rounds are great, we have them once monthly in my Trust. At least it gives you an hour of uninterrupted time to discuss issues with other staff. Managers seem to treat them with contempt, but hey, we turn up anyway. I wouldn't say it makes for a happier workforce - how about giving us a decent pay rise to keep pace with inflation, good quality training and some hope of career development for those who want it????

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  • This was calls the Staff Support Group when I worked in Oncology and Clinical Supervision( mostly not clinical but just off loading the dreadful stress the public dumped on us).

    When used correctly it works superbly.

    ( If Management or the Clin Supervisor doesn't hijack it for their own ends ... and they can and have done so too, at times).

    Take time out to take a deep breath address the issues which plague you, you will benefit from it immensely and so will your patients too because you will have had some space to shed stress.

    I agree with Anonymous | 20-May-2014 5:26 pm don't sneer at it until you have tried it. And yes, it won't solve everything but every little bit helps.

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  • "Schwartz rounds are great, we have them once monthly in my Trust. I wouldn't say it makes for a happier workforce ...." There you go- study done! Stop throwing good money after bad and start focussing on the real reasons it's hideous to work in the NHS- lack of respect for the nursing profession and for the ill people they are responsible for managing.

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  • And exactly how would this work in the community with staff working across many GP surgeries

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  • Yes it will be good to see "Schwartz Round" roll over all Trust. hope this will stop the bullying and blame culture where people can be treated with respect and dignity as expected to demonstrate by the nursing profession. Show us first and we will fellow.

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  • I once visited a ward which had a feelings round at the end of the day shift. who wants to reveal their true feelings in front of their highly judgmental boss or even share them with some colleagues?

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  • We need to address retention rates of nurses and anything that gives people the opportunity to discuss problems and share what is working well is surely a good thing?

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  • Anonymous | 22-May-2014 10:28 am

    I worked 20 years in a brilliant place where they very well understood recruitment and retention.

    sadly not long before I left they introduced general management and the whole organisation of around 5000 staff and 1000 beds rapidly changed and instead of our wonderful caring nursing chief we suddenly had loads of non-clinical managers with clipboards swarming around and getting under our feet trying to look busy but proved totally at a loss and ineffectual.

    I would have loved a job in the NHS where I could have shared this first and long experience but of course they don't welcome those returning from outside who have been off and seen what goes on elsewhere!

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