Schwartz Rounds

Michaela's poster.jpg

Here at Milton Keynes University Hospital we care about our staff and the compassion that they show every day to patients, carers, and families and to their colleagues.

Working in a hospital environment can be extremely challenging where staff are expected to deal with happy, sad, difficult and emotional situations every day.  Health care staff are often highly pressured which can have a negative effect on their welfare. Schwartz Rounds were inspired by Kenneth Schwartz a Boston lawyer who died from lung cancer in his 40's.  He wrote movingly about the positive impact of receiving compassionate care and the emotional cost to staff that this involves.  Schwartz Rounds create safe spaces to reflect and share the psychological aspects of caring.  All staff are welcome to attend, both clinical and non-clinical.  Each Round is based on a theme where a panel will present cases before illustrating the impact of those situations upon them.  A Facilitator then leads the discussion with input from those present to share similar experiences of their own.

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(poster attached below)

  • Introduced to MKUH in January 2016

  • 14 Rounds held

  • 500+ staff attended

  • 50 multi-disciplinary staff shared their feelings and emotions about their harrowing and poignant stories, providing a pause in work and a safe outlet to discuss difficult emotive subjects

  • Attendees included: consultants, senior nurses, staff nurses, healthcare assistant, midwives, MCA's, AHP's, porters, student nurses, preceptorship nurses, admin support staff, security staff


Want to get involved or provide a listening ear?

click here for Information for Panel Members

The aim is not to problem solve, identify priorities or produce action plans.  Schwartz Rounds are a safe time in which challenging work experiences can be spoken about, thought about, or sometimes just simply witnessed.

Schwartz Round Poster (SM) half.jpg

(See attachments below for the full poster)


The Power of Schwartz Rounds to change cultures

Schwartz Rounds are extremely powerful because they enable staff at all levels to gain an insight into one another's roles and foster a new appreciation for their colleagues.
This was illustrated by The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, whose first Round proved to be extremely moving when a porter, Rob, beautifully described the emotional impact of his interactions with one particular patient:
"The panel for our first Schwartz Round was a senior manager, a health promotion advisor, and a porter who told their stories about 'a day I'll never forget'. Everyone was struck by our porter’s story of how he got to know a particular patient and accompanied him not only down the corridors of the hospital, but also through the ups and downs of his cancer journey.

Patients meet many staff on their visits to the hospital and the Round highlighted that each staff member is significant to them. Support staff such as porters can spend a lot of time with patients and really get to know them. It reminded the audience that all of the Trust staff work to a common goal - that of caring for patients at The Christie.

This was our first Schwartz Round and it was wonderful to see it come to life and powerfully lay the foundations for Rounds within our Trust. Since this Round, attendance has continued to increase with a growing range of staff groups represented. There is a discernible cohesion among staff who have attended the Rounds and more respect and understanding across the different staff groups. Corridor conversations about Schwartz have been noticeable across the Trust. For the Trust, our first Schwartz Round itself became a day we’ll never forget."


"Very valuable and unexpectedly emotional"
"Very emotive but reassuring that others feel the same"
"Shows the human side of our colleagues"
"The most enraptured hour I have spent in a long time"
"Appreciate how much staff care, made me feel proud"
"This session was helpful, making you realise that you are not alone"
"Opened my eyes to see how everyone feels the same"
"It felt like a safe environment in a non-judgemental way"
"I was very sceptical about the Schwartz Round but it was wonderful"
"This was such a valuable experience both professionally and personally"
"Shows the vulnerability that we have, a unifying process, thank you"