Caring for Those Who Care for the Community—SJRMC Launches Schwartz Center Rounds® for Its Clinicians and Associates
Understanding that the strength of a community depends on the health of every last individual in it, Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center (SJRMC) is pleased to announce the launch of the nationally recognized Schwartz Center Rounds® program at its Mishawaka campus. With a focus on helping healthcare staff find understanding and healing from the stressors involved in the daily work of clinical caregiving, SJRMC is now the second hospital in the State of Indiana to conduct Schwartz Center Rounds.
Created to provide a forum where clinical caregivers, across multiple disciplines, have the opportunity to discuss their experiences, thoughts and feelings, the Schwartz Center Rounds program offers caregivers a safe, open, and relaxed place where they can discuss the complex emotional and social issues often encountered while caring for patients.
“We know that many clinical caregivers today are under significant pressure due to multiple demands of their jobs,” said Roger G. Klauer, MD, M.Div, a physician at Saint Joseph Family Medicine Center at Elm, and the SJRMC Physician Leader for the Schwartz Center Rounds program. “Through the Schwartz Center Rounds, SJRMC wants to be able to provide our physicians, clinicians, and associates with a structured and safe outlet for expressing their stress or feelings, so they can continue to provide the highest level of compassionate care to our patients and families.”
Unlike medical Rounds, these sessions are not about clinical problem-solving, but rather about exploring and processing the emotions that come up in the daily work of hospital staff. The Rounds provide a scheduled time and place where caregivers focus on the social, emotional and personal aspects of patient care, and reflect on and how they can make a positive impact on a patient’s physical and emotional well-being. The principle is that caregivers are able to make better connections with patients, families, and colleagues when they have greater insight into their own feelings.
“In the emerging field of Caring Science, there is now very strong scientific evidence that compassionate care is absolutely essential for the best practice of medicine,” added Dominic O. Vachon, PhD, M.Div, Director of the Ruth Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care in Medicine at the University of Notre Dame and Facilitator of the Schwartz Center Rounds. “It is related not only to patient satisfaction, but to actual medical outcomes. Integrating the science of compassionate care in your medical work is practicing cutting-edge, evidence-based medicine—if you are not integrating compassionate care in your medical work, you are practicing scientifically outdated medicine.”
First piloted at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in 1997, Schwartz Center Rounds are a program of The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, a Boston-based nonprofit dedicated to strengthening the relationship between patients and caregivers and preserving the human connection in healthcare. Today, Schwartz Center Rounds are conducted at more than 300 hospitals and other healthcare institutions across the United States, and at 19 hospitals and healthcare institutions in the United Kingdom.
“For Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, we care as much about the well-being of our teams of physicians, clinicians and associates, as we do about our patients,” said Sister Laureen Painter, MHA, FACHE, Vice President of Mission Integration and Ministry Formation. “As a result, we recognize that it is imperative to provide our teams with a forum in which they are able to discuss the aspects of care that deeply affect them not only as healers, but as human beings.”
As reported in a 2010 comprehensive study of Schwartz Center Rounds, published in Academic Medicine, clinicians who attend the Rounds feel significantly less stress, and are better able to cope with the demands of their work. Attendees are better able to connect with patients emotionally, provide a higher level of compassionate care, and as a result, are able to enhance their own understanding of the emotional effects that illnesses might have on the patient or their family.
“Compassionate care is becoming increasingly difficult to provide in today’s fast-paced, technology-focused, and cost-conscious healthcare environment,” said Julie Rosen, Executive Director of The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare. “Financial pressures and administrative demands mean less time with patients and families and an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment rather than the impact an illness may have on the patient and family. We congratulate Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center on recognizing the importance of the patient-caregiver relationship, and we look forward to working with them in advancing compassionate care for all patients and families.”