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Preparing your Rounds

Hosting your first steering group meeting

Host your first steering group meeting early on in the planning process, even if you haven’t finalised the formation of the group. At this meeting we suggest that you consider the following points:

  • An introduction to Schwartz Rounds
  • Feedback from people who have observed Rounds
  • An introduction to the core roles: clinical lead, facilitator, administrator and steering group
  • Communications and publicity plan
  • Practicalities of the Rounds: lunches and venue
  • Dates of first 3-6 Rounds
  • Topics and speakers for the first 3-6 Rounds
  • Evaluation of Rounds
  • Who else could be invited to join steering group

The venue for Rounds

The room should be neutral and be able to comfortably sit participants. Set up the room using an open layout with the panel facing the participants and the facilitator and clinical lead positioned either side.  There should be no barrier between them and the participants.

Choosing a room that is used for high-profile, organisation-wide events signals the importance of the Round to the organisation and conveys neutrality – both of which can help to boost attendance from a range of staff groups.

You should ensure that all staff sign in to each Round and that feedback is collected at every Round – it is often helpful to leave a feedback form on every seat before the Round begins.  In larger rooms with more participants, it is useful to provide a roving microphone so that participants can be heard clearly.

Timing of Rounds

You should aim to time your Rounds so that you can reach the largest group of staff, and to be accessible to shift and part-time workers.  You might hold the Round on a certain day or at a certain time every month or rotate, depending on what suits best in your organisation.

Publicising Rounds

Publicity is vital to the success of Schwartz Rounds.  It is helpful to have a member of your communications team on the steering group to support you in publicising the Rounds, both for the launch and for ongoing sustainability.

Your communications team will be well placed to advise on the most effective ways to promote the Rounds, but the following suggestions may be helpful:

  • posters: display posters around the organisation and email posters to department heads
  • email: send an all-staff email before all Rounds; it is helpful to include the names of panel members in your pre-Round publicity, as this can encourage staff to attend
  • intranet: create a Schwartz Rounds page on your intranet, listing the dates and topics of Rounds
  • newsletters: include an item on the Rounds in regular bulletins
  • presentations: encourage facilitators and steering group members to present to their own teams and departments about Rounds. Some organisations have managed to include information about Rounds as a part of the staff induction process.
  • payslips: include a brief message about the Rounds in payslips
  • desktop backgrounds: add a message about the Rounds to the rotation of staff desktop backgrounds

Choosing Round topics

The steering group plays an important part in selecting topics for each Round. A diverse steering group will offer better access to a wide variety of cases, stories and experiences. Examples include:

  • Being thrown in at the deep end
  • What my patient taught me
  • A colleague I’ll never forget
  • Why I come to work
  • Being on the other side: when the professional (or their family) is the patient
  • Making mistakes: coping with the impact
  • Working at night

Watch this webinar on challenging Schwartz Round topics:

In this video Chief Nurse Heather Caudle talks about a memorable Schwartz Round:

You can find more examples of possible topics for Rounds by logging into our online Schwartz community.

You should ensure that the first few topics chosen are relatively straightforward; controversial or complex topics are easier to tackle once Rounds are more established.

It is important not to use the Round as a form of debriefing for a case that has been troubling. Of course you can bring this kind of case to a Round, but it’s best to do this when the panellists have enough distance from the case.