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HSE publishes new Schwartz research from Trinity College Dublin

27 May 2019

New research finds positive impacts from Schwartz Rounds at sites in Ireland.

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Research published today by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland finds that Schwartz Rounds benefit teamwork in organisations and support staff in dealing with an often stressful workplace.

The study, by Dr Vivienne Brady and Dr Margarita Corry, of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin, looked at the impact of Schwartz Rounds in the context of the Irish health service.

Dr. Philip Crowley, National Director Quality Improvement at HSE, 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.”  

Vivienne Brady and Margarita Corry 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.

What is also exciting in this evaluation, the first of its kind in Ireland, is that the sense of community, connectedness, respect for others and the awareness of emotional and support needs of self and others reported in this study, has the potential to contribute to the management of workplace burnout.”

Drs Brady and Corry continue that “the importance of independent evaluation of healthcare interventions was demonstrated by this research, which uncovered areas of staff needs highlighted by Schwartz Rounds, but potentially not addressed by Rounds, and where additional measures may be called for.”

Dr Jocelyn Cornwell, CEO and Founder of the Point of Care Foundation, noted that: 

“The report states that the introduction of Schwartz Rounds to the Irish context represents a significant contribution in the staff engagement work of the HSE. The potential of Schwartz Rounds to reach all staff is particularly powerful and we look forward to continuing to mentor teams from the now 22 organisations trained to facilitate Schwartz Rounds throughout Ireland and seeing this work spread organically.”  

The full report is available at www.staffengagement.ie