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New 'flexible Schwartz-style' scheme to support ward staff

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Hard-pressed frontline nurses who struggle to attend hour-long sessions where they can discuss the emotional side to their work are being encouraged to attend a new type of team gathering that takes just 15 minutes.

The new initiative has been created by the same organisation that has helped to introduce monthly hour-long Schwartz Rounds sessions in England.

The Point of Care Foundation said it wanted to set up the new 15-minute “Team Time” programme after it heard from frontline nurses, such as those working in A&E and intensive care, who said they found it hard to find time go to Schwartz sessions.

Developed in the US, Schwartz Rounds are designed to provide opportunities for staff to open up about difficult experiences at work and have become increasingly popular in England in recent years.

However, the Point of Care Foundation’s head of evidence and learning, Joanna Goodrich, said it was not always possible for staff to take part.

“We know that thousands of staff across the UK benefit from Schwartz Rounds each month however, we also know that for many staff, particularly nurses and others who are ward-based, it is difficult to find the time to attend,” she said.

“In response, we have developed and tested ‘Team Time’ to enable everyone within an organisation to have access to a safe space for reflection,” she said.

“We believe that Team Time will provide many of the benefits of the Schwartz Rounds but at the level of teams rather than at organisational level”

Joanna Goodrich

The new initiative is based on the Schwartz Rounds model but involves individual teams committing to a weekly 15 to 20-minute session, led by a trained facilitator.

The sessions – which are supposed to take place away from the ward and are designed to be for between 10 to 15 participants - provide an opportunity to reflect on recent experiences, focusing on the emotional aspects of care.

They start with a very brief introduction setting out basics about confidentiality - and making it clear the gathering is not a forum for suggesting changes in practice or to criticise colleagues - and conclude with a short summing up of the themes discussed.

The sessions are aimed at both clinical and non-clinical staff. Attendance is voluntary but “strongly encouraged”.

“All the evidence on effective team working shows that reinforcing shared purpose and mutual trust are vital”

Joanna Goodrich

Ms Goodrich said the process had many of the benefits of the Schwartz Rounds model but was more flexible because it “involves minimal preparation time”.

“We believe that Team Time will provide many of the benefits of the Schwartz Rounds but at the level of teams rather than at organisational level,” she said.

“All the evidence on effective team working shows that reinforcing shared purpose and mutual trust are vital,” she added.

According to the Point of Care Foundation, benefits can include a more unified team, increased motivation and job satisfaction, reduced stress and improved communication.

A spokesman for the foundation, which offers one-day training workshops for facilitators and on-site training, said it would be writing to all nursing directors currently using Schwartz Rounds to advocate the new approach.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Yasma Osman

    At last we are being cared for as human beings . I so love the though of team time we need to talk about our pains of work and the way we work . But how safe are these sessions . I also agree 1 hour way to long but depending on numbers 15 mins -maybe to short I feel there should be a balance and the attendees requests .

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