Schwartz Rounds intervention benefits teamwork and supports reductions in staff stress levels

The HSE in collaboration with the Point of Care Foundation has welcomed independent findings by Trinity College Dublin that a HSE intervention Schwartz Rounds benefits teamwork in the organisation and supports staff in dealing with an often stressful workplace.

Schwartz Rounds are facilitated conversations for healthcare staff about the emotional impact of their work.  In an environment where staff support people at all stages of their healthcare journey, this space provides a vital opportunity for them to reflect on often unspoken moments that have had an impact on them as individuals.

The Point of Care Foundation is a UK based independent charity with a mission to humanise healthcare.

Dr Philip Crowley, National Director Quality Improvement who commissioned the intervention and evaluation said:  “International research tells us that a key indicator of a quality service is teamwork and a workplace culture underpinned by psychological safety, trust and respect.  Teamwork in healthcare is more than a ‘nice to have’ – it is essential to patient outcomes.  In a UK study led by Professor Michael West, researchers identified that a 5% improvement in teamwork improved patient mortality by 3.3% – this is 40 lives a year in an average sized hospital.  The findings of the independent Trinity College Dublin report indicate that Schwartz Rounds is one way of bringing two vital components of teamwork to an organisation – shared purpose and effective communication.  This is very encouraging given the potential long term impact on patient safety.”

“I am delighted to welcome and thank Trinity College Dublin for their report today.  I also wish to thank all the staff at the two sites which were the focus of the study, who so generously offered their time to provide us with the valuable insights.  I am pleased to read that the ethos of Schwartz Rounds is compatible with our strategic drive for quality and safe healthcare which benefits everyone who uses and provides our services.”

Lead authors, Drs Vivienne Brady and Margarita Corry of the School of Nursing & Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin noted: “The report has significant implications for roll out and implementation of Schwartz Rounds nationally.  While specific challenges were evident for test of concept sites, positive aspects of Schwartz Rounds were reported by staff who participate in and embrace the concept.

“Our findings indicate that Schwartz Rounds enables a levelling effect by offering a forum to share experiences where staff at all levels are willing to be open and vulnerable with others. Areas consistently highlighted by respondents included gaining greater insight into self and others, the breaking down of barriers and levelling of hierarchical structure. This ultimately improved staff interaction and teamwork, and for some respondents, Schwartz Rounds impacted positively on participants’ own practice.”

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