Devon NHS staff beneift from support of Schwartz Rounds

Mary Youlden
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 4:07pm

Over 600 staff from the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and Devon Partnership NHS Trust have benefitted from the emotional support provided by jointly run Schwartz Rounds.

The Schwartz Rounds are ‘grand round’ style confidential sessions for NHS staff to discuss social and emotional difficulties created by their work and to explore the human side of medicine. Each round is centred on a particular aspect of patient care and is attended by staff from all disciplines. The underlying premise for rounds is that the compassion shown by staff can make all the difference to a patient’s experience of care, but that in order to provide care with compassion, staff must themselves feel supported in their work.

The Schwartz Rounds were set up in light of the Sir Robert Francis’ Inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust in 2013. The Francis report recommended Schwartz Rounds as a way to help bring about positive culture change in the NHS.

Now, two years on from the inquiry the number of NHS organisations who have signed up to the Schwartz Rounds has reached 104 – a four-fold increase since April 2013. However The Point of Care Foundation, who support the Schwartz Rounds programme, is keen to maintain the momentum of change brought by the ‘Francis Effect’ and promote the development of more Schwartz Rounds across the country.

The RD&E and Devon Partnership Trust were some of the first health organisations to get on board with the Schwartz Rounds. They joined forces in September 2013 to run the monthly sessions, and staff support for the events seems to be going from strength to strength.

The Trusts have just run their 15th Schwartz Round, focussing on the transition of care from paediatric to adult services, and have seen approximately 675 members of staff attend their sessions to date. Those who have attended the rounds have said that the sessions left them feeling ‘revived’ and ‘inspired, and that they were ‘grateful for the time to discuss issues and share thoughts in a safe forum’.

Dr Sarah Jackson Schwartz Round Clinical Lead at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our Schwartz Rounds allow people to come together to discuss the emotional and social challenges associated with caring for patients. We are currently the only trust in the country running the rounds jointly between an acute trust and mental health trust. We have attracted a wide audience from porters to house keepers, cleaners to senior nursing, medical and non-medical management, and the feedback we have received from those staff has been excellent. We were also delighted to be nominated for a Working Together award for Partnership working at DPT’s Celebrating Achievement Awards October 2014.”

Dr Rani Bora, Clinical Lead and Sarah Frazer, Schwartz Round Facilitator for Devon Partnership NHS Trust (DPT), added: “Having negative thoughts and emotions are as much a part of being human as having compassion and kindness. We hope that all DPT and RD&E staff will feel able to participate in more and more of these rounds, share their human experiences, be it positive or negative, and reflect on the same. This in turn could support them to get more in touch with their compassionate and caring part while they go about their hectic and busy work schedules. It has been a great experience running these rounds jointly with the RD&E NHS Foundation Trust.”

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