Local healthcare staff are being encouraged to open up about the emotional and social impact of their work.
Staff at local hospitals in Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole, plus community staff in North Lincolnshire, are being invited to take part in regular Schwartz Rounds.
Gail Meadows, Clinical Psychologist at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, explained: “With the continued pressures on the NHS workforce including COVID-19 recovery, high demands for emergency care, the cost-of-living crisis as well as everything else we’re juggling, it’ll come as no surprise to hear our emotional, psychological, and overall mental wellbeing are taking a hit.
“Schwartz Rounds have been around for years and for those who regularly attend and participate, they have been found to have reduced feelings of stress, their general wellbeing improves, and they feel they can provide better person-centred care. This is because listening to colleagues openly and honestly describe the challenges of their work helps to normalise emotions, which are part and parcel of working in healthcare but are often kept under the surface. Healthcare staff may feel alone or the only one experiencing something, but Schwartz Rounds breed comradery and help them to see they’re not the only one that found a particular experience hard and their emotions are valid.”
At the first Schwartz Round, two members of staff shared their experiences, under the theme of A view from the other side.
One of the storytellers, a Staff Nurse, said afterwards: “I told the story of something unexpectedly happening to me and how it’s impacted my life and job, which I thought might help others in a similar situation. I was very surprised at how much audience participation there was and I feel it’s helped me to move on from what happened. I hope it will help others who find themselves in a similar situation.”
Attendees at the Schwartz Round were then invited to share their experiences, which led to people opening up and reflecting in a way they hadn’t done so in a group environment before.
Feedback from the attendees included:
“I’m surprised how emotional I feel as it has made me think about some of my own experiences.”
“It has been great to take the time out from our roles to listen to these stories. It just goes to show that we need to support each other.”
“I have felt that the experiences that have been shared today have been very emotional and very real to most of us working at the hospital, thank you!”
The introduction of Schwartz Rounds is in addition to an extensive health and wellbeing support package available for all colleagues working at the Trust. This includes counselling, a 24/7 helpline, support to stay well at work or return to work, staff networks, stop smoking services, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) workbooks and access to mental, physical and financial advice, and more.
Cate Neal, Health and Wellbeing Organisational Development Business Partner, said: “We understand the importance of caring for our own. Our staff can’t pour from an empty cup, they need to be healthy to provide excellent care to others.
“We’re delighted with the engagement and response to our first Schwartz Round and I’m looking forward to the next one! We’re encouraging all staff to attend where possible, as the benefits can be really worthwhile.”