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07 August 2020

Health Faculties launch Schwartz Rounds for students

Online interprofessional education pilot for the 20-21 academic year.

Healthcare students in conversation.

The Centre for Team-Based Practice & Learning in Health Care will run Schwartz Rounds for students during the 2020-21 academic year. Working with academic colleagues across the Health Faculties, the Centre will pilot a format of Schwartz Rounds tailored for students and developed in partnership with The Point of Care Foundation.

Schwartz Rounds were brought to the UK in 2009 by the Point of Care programme at The King’s Fund. They provide a structured forum to discuss the emotional and social aspects of working in healthcare. Their purpose is to help clinical and non-clinical healthcare professionals understand the challenges and rewards that are intrinsic to providing care, not to solve problems or to focus on the clinical aspects of patient care.

Rounds follow a standard model to ensure that they are replicable across settings. They are typically organised for professionals, delivered in healthcare organisations, taking place every month, indefinitely. A new mode of delivery specifically for healthcare students at King’s will be designed by the Centre and a steering group dedicated to the initiative — with guidance from The Point of Care Foundation — for introduction as a pilot in the 20-21 academic year.

Given the need for social distancing in response to the coronavirus pandemic the interprofessional education pilot will be delivered online. The Point of Care Foundation has already designed and supported the delivery of an online version of the standard in-person Schwartz Round format. Pedagogy informing that adaptation and lessons learnt from its delivery will inform the design of the pilot.

The introduction of Schwartz Rounds as an interprofessional education initiative is in keeping with King’s reputation for being one of Europe’s leading centres of health-related education and research and is another step towards the students and education priority theme of the Health Faculties' strategy:

Our students will enjoy a challenging, innovative and enriching university experience that reflects our unique world-leading blend of research enhanced, interdisciplinary and interprofessional expertise. Our graduates will be equipped with the attributes and skills they need for a fulfilling career and to make a positive impact on society.

Health Faculties’ Five Year Ambition 2016-2021

Their introduction will come during a national public health crisis of the sort that has not been seen in a hundred years, at a time when healthcare students are graduating into practice early, being exposed to clinical environments never simulated and facing increased psychological stress as a result. Schwartz Rounds have been shown help staff feel more supported in their jobs, feel less stressed and isolated, gain increased insight and appreciation for other’s roles, and help to reduce hierarchies between staff and to focus attention on relational aspects of care. Students graduating with experience of Rounds can be expected to be better equipped to deal with challenges they face as well as more likely engage with Rounds when in professional practice.

The interprofessional initiative is a continuation of the Centre’s work to help prepare King’s healthcare students to work in partnership with others through fostering a collaborative environment which transcends departmental, disciplinary, faculty and professional boundaries and encourages an interprofessional approach to providing patient care.