Addressing social and emotional aspects of providing healthcare using Schwartz Rounds as an example
The social and emotional aspects of providing healthcare frequently challenge healthcare workers, and avenues to address them are important. Social and emotional stressors can burden healthcare workers in both their personal and professional lives and impact the quality of patient care. Growing evidence suggests that staff support programs which promote the open discussion of these issues improve the well-being of all those who participate. Creating the opportunity for staff to learn from each other and support each other through their shared experiences helps compassion return to the forefront of healthcare. As an example, Schwartz Rounds have been ongoing at BC Children’s Hospital since May 2019 and feedback suggests they have provided healthcare workers with improved insight into the perspectives and experiences of their co-workers, including clinical and non-clinical staff. Following Schwartz Rounds, participants at BCCH also reported decreased feelings of isolation and increased comfort in openly discussing social and emotional aspects of care with their colleagues. These findings suggest that healthcare workers need, and value supports that address the social and emotional challenges innate to their work. Such opportunities should be encouraged by healthcare institutions and sought out by healthcare workers and support staff.