Healthcare staff who regularly share the emotional, social or ethical challenges that they face in the workplace experience less psychological distress and improved teamwork, suggests a recent study.
Researchers from the University of Surrey, Kings College London, the University of Sheffield and The King's Fund examined the impact of Schwartz Center Rounds® (Rounds), on both clinical and non-clinical staff.
The rounds are monthly forums that offer a safe space for staff to share experiences with colleagues and to discuss the challenges they face in their work and its impact on them.
The findings indicated that the well-being of staff who attended the rounds regularly significantly improved, with the proportion of those with psychological distress halving-down from 25 to 12 percent.
Researcher Jill Maben from the University of Surrey said that delivering care to the patients at some of the most challenging times in their lives has an emotional impact on staff, which undoubtedly impacts on their own wellbeing and on their work.
The team analysed psychological well-being of 500 staff members, who attended the Rounds regularly, irregularly or not all, was measured over an eight-month period, using the clinically validated GHQ-12questionnaire.
There was little change in the psychological well-being of staff that did not attend the rounds over this period.
The results suggested that when asked of the benefits of the rounds, the participants noted that attending it led to greater understanding, empathy and tolerance towards colleagues and patients and positive changes in practice.
The researchers claimed that the study is the first in the UK to demonstrate that those who regularly attended the Rounds see significant benefits; their symptoms of anxiety and depression are reduced, they are better able to cope with the issues they face and have more empathy towards patients and colleagues, which undeniably has a positive impact on those in their care.
Jocelyn Cornwell from chief executive of the Point of Care Foundation explained they hope that organisations that are not doing rounds will pay attention to the research findings and organisations that are doing them, will re-double their efforts to sustain them.
The research was commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research.