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Administrating Success

Farhana Nargis Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals 14 September 2017

In this blog, Farhana Nargis describes her experience as an administrator of Schwartz Rounds at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals and the key to success in the role.


Farhana Nargis is the Schwartz Rounds administrator for Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. In this blog, Farhana discusses why good Schwartz Rounds administration is vital to the success of the wider programme, and how good administration can be achieved.

Back in 2013, when I was new to Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals (ASPH), I was asked by the head of quality to be the administrator for a new project – Schwartz Rounds. I had no knowledge of Rounds, but as I began to learn I was really touched by Kenneth Schwartz’s story. I had a background in psychology, and a real interest in behaviour and emotions so the opportunity to work on a programme to help my colleagues in this respect was really exciting.

Since 2013, we’ve held twenty Rounds with around 50 staff attending each time and we’ve also introduced shorter ‘pop-up Rounds’ with a smaller audience and panel.

Being the administrator

The administrator role requires organisation, commitment and perseverance. Knowing the benefits Schwartz Rounds can bring to staff gives me a sense of pride in the work that our team does. Continual improvement to Rounds is one of the administrators’ key tasks and needs to be based on audience reaction. By always having my ear to the ground I have been able to make small changes here-and-there to the way we publicise, approach, and run our Rounds to give staff a better experience.

Publicising Rounds

Making sure staff know about Rounds is vital to my role, and it certainly gets easier over time. When we started audience numbers were small, but as I increased the number of advertising methods, the audience numbers increased correspondingly.

To make sure as many staff as possible hear about Rounds; I advertise on our Trust’s intranet homepage, I send out individual email invitations using mail merge and, I put up posters and hand out flyers around the hospital. I also get our CEO to include information about upcoming Schwartz Rounds in her weekly email to staff, which is great for convincing staff of Rounds’ benefits.

On my walkabouts around the hospital, I particularly target ward areas, A&E and non-clinical departments which tend to be busier, to make sure that the news about Schwartz Rounds gets through. Staff are really receptive to these more personal invitations and some have even started coming to me, asking about Rounds, if they can be on the panel, and topic ideas.

Having dedicated time to chat with staff and managers is really helpful for engaging busy staff and for building a returning audience base for the Rounds.

On the day

When the audience members arrive, I give them an “Ask me about the Schwartz Round” sticker to wear for the rest of the day, creating walking advertisements for Rounds, which is great for showing other staff that they are a popular initiative.

I make sure I’m at every Round because I love hearing the panellists tell their stories, and because I want to see the audience’s reaction to help us improve the next Round.

Administrating success?

I believe that in order to gain the most from Schwartz Rounds, the publicity and execution needs to be designed around the staff in order to attract new audience members with a friendly face. I think it also helps to have a genuine interest in the philosophy of the Rounds and I have seen the positive impact they have on staff at ASPH.

We have been very successful in growing and sustaining our Rounds here at ASPH, and this success is all due to the passion, enthusiasm and dedication of our Schwartz Team. But, without proper administration it would be difficult for the team to run Schwartz Rounds effectively, so it is a job I take seriously and take pride in.