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King’s College London to evaluate Schwartz Rounds

23 May 2014

Immediate release: Friday, 23 May 2014

Supporting NHS staff at work: Could Schwartz Centre Rounds® hold the hold the key to a happier, healthier workforce and enhance compassionate care?

A team of researchers at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, led by Professor Jill Maben, Director, National Nursing Research Unit, are about to embark on a two year evaluation of Schwartz Centre Rounds®.

The national study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme (NIHR HS&DR), aims to uncover to what extent participation in Schwartz Centre Rounds® (known as ‘Schwartz Rounds’ or ‘Rounds’) affects staff wellbeing at work, improves relationships between staff and patients, and aids the provision of compassionate care in the UK.

Conceived in the US, Rounds are a multidisciplinary forum where staff from across healthcare settings regularly come together to discuss the non-clinical aspects of caring for patients, such as the psychological, emotional and social challenges associated with their work.

The results of the Francis inquiry, in 2013, highlighted major shortfalls in the provision of care to patients, and there is a widely acknowledged need to find new and better ways to support staff to deliver compassionate patient care in the NHS. The potential of Rounds to help meet this challenge was recognised in the Francis report, and the Department of Health has identified the need for effective organisational interventions that enhance the quality of patient care by providing emotional support to staff members.

Professor Jill Maben, Director, National Nursing Research Unit, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London, will lead a team of researchers from King’s College London, Sheffield University and the King’s Fund, she said, “I am excited to be leading this important study. Schwartz Centre Rounds are now being implemented in 60 organisations in England, including acute and mental health trusts and hospices. This funding provides an excellent opportunity to study their implementation, effectiveness and any impact on care delivery and patient experiences of care”.

“What’s unique about Rounds is that they bring all staff together regardless of profession or speciality on an equal footing, to share their stories and experiences, their motivations and the different challenges they face in practice every day. They appear to provide an important space for staff to detail the highs and lows of their work and gain support and insights from colleagues.”

Schwartz Rounds are currently being implemented in around 60 organisations in the UK and are supported by The Point of Care Foundation, a charity which is the sole provider of training and support to organisations wishing to run Rounds in this country.

The study will build on the results of a small pilot published by The King’s Fund in 2009, involving two UK hospitals, which showed that it is possible to transfer Schwartz Rounds from the US to the UK, with participants reporting benefits for their day-to-day care of patients and a strengthening of team work. The King’s Fund’s point of care programme first brought Schwartz Rounds to the UK in 2009 prior to The Point of Care Foundation becoming an independent charity in 2013.

Jocelyn Cornwell, Director of The Point of Care Foundation, said “This research will make a significant contribution towards our understanding of what is needed to support staff in their difficult work of caring. Interest in Schwartz Rounds has grown hugely in the last three years and we are pleased that it is now possible to conduct a robust evaluation of their effectiveness.”



For further information, interview or comment, please contact:

Oliver Stannard, Communications Officer
Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery
King’s College London
Tel: 020 7848 3062    
Mob: 07941 863 881


Notes to editors:

About Schwartz Centre Rounds®:

Schwartz Center Rounds® (‘Rounds’) were developed by the Boston-based Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare following the death of Kenneth Schwartz, who died in 1995 from lung cancer.

During his treatment, Ken Schwartz noted how some healthcare staff were able to be compassionate whilst others were not and how the same staff member could be compassionate one day and not the next. Before his death, he set up the Schwartz Center as a not-for-profit organisation designed to nurture  compassion in healthcare, to encourage healthcare workers to make “the unbearable bearable” through “the smallest acts of kindness” and to strengthen the relationship between patients and their clinical caregivers.

The premise is that caregivers are better able to make personal connections with patients and colleagues when they have greater insight into their own responses and feelings and have an opportunity and space to process these feelings by listening and sharing their experiences with colleagues.

Schwartz Centre Rounds are a multidisciplinary forum, where clinical and non-clinical staff from across the healthcare setting or hospital regularly come together to discuss the non-clinical aspects of caring for patients i.e. the psychological, emotional and social challenges associated with their jobs.

They offer healthcare providers a regularly scheduled time to openly and honestly discuss the social and emotional issues they face in caring for patients and families, in a safe and confidential environment. In contrast to traditional medical rounds, the focus is on the human dimension of medicine.

Each Round lasts for one hour and begins with a multi-disciplinary panel presentation of a patient case by the team who cared for the patient. The panel that presents describe the impact that the experience of looking after that patient has had on them. A trained facilitator then guides discussion of emerging themes and issues, allowing time and space for the audience to reflect with the panel on similar experiences that they have had. Attendance is voluntary and staff attend as many or as few Rounds as they are able. Rounds are currently running in more than 320 healthcare organisations in the USA and around 60 in the UK.

See for further information about Schwartz Centre Rounds.

Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery

The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery at King’s College London is the world’s first professional School of Nursing, established by Florence Nightingale.

The number one Nursing and Midwifery School in London (Complete University Guide 2014) and highly regarded by leading London NHS Trusts with links to industry, health services and policy makers, the School develops leading-edge nurses and midwives of tomorrow – practitioners, partners, and leaders in their field.

The School has over 1,000 full-time students training to be nurses and midwives plus an extensive portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate activities to meet the needs of a wide range of healthcare professionals seeking continuing professional development.  The School is at the forefront of health services, policy and evaluation research and home to the influential National Nursing Research Unit (NNRU). For further information visit:

King’s College London

King’s College London is one of the top 20 universities in the world (2013/14 QS World University Rankings) and the fourth oldest in England. It is The Sunday Times ‘Best University for Graduate Employment 2012/13′. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King’s has more than 25,000 students (of whom more than 10,000 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and more than 6,500 employees. King’s is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.

King’s has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £554 million.

King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar.

King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King’s Health Partners. King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world’s leading research-led universities and three of London’s most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit:

The College is in the midst of a five-year, £500 million fundraising campaign – World questions|King’s answers – created to address some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity as quickly as feasible. The campaign’s five priority areas are neuroscience and mental health, leadership and society, cancer, global power and children’s health. More information about the campaign is available at

About NIHR

  1. The National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research (NIHR HS&DR) Programme was established to fund a broad range of research. It builds on the strengths and contributions of two NIHR research programmes: the Health Services Research (HSR) programme and the Service Delivery and Organisation (SDO) programme, which merged in January 2012. The programme aims to produce rigorous and relevant evidence on the quality, access and organisation of health services, including costs and outcomes. The programme will enhance the strategic focus on research that matters to the NHS. The HS&DR Programme is funded by the NIHR with specific contributions from the CSO in Scotland, NISCHR in Wales and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.
  2. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website (

This article presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.