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Exploring the experiences of healthcare staff and facilitators transitioning from in-person to virtual Schwartz Rounds throughout the COVID-19 pandemic

Frances JS Farrell*, Fiona McKendrick and Sharmila Jandial

Objective: Schwartz rounds provide opportunities for staff in healthcare to reflect on their experiences in a confidential setting. Newcastle upon Tyne have been running Schwartz rounds for several years. In early 2020, all in person meetings were cancelled, including Schwartz rounds. The decision was made to continue Schwartz rounds virtually to continue to provide a space for reflection. The study explored the experiences of staff and facilitators in transitioning from in-person, to virtual Schwartz rounds.

Methods: Those in attendance were offered an opportunity to provide feedback through an email link to a survey. This included quantitative and qualitative feedback, such as describing how they found the round, particular challenges and parts which were helpful and a comparison between them and in-person Schwartz.

Results: Feedback was obtained by 398 individuals between March 2020 and July 2021. Facilitator’s feedback was obtained from those involved in running the rounds, including how they found the move to virtual Schwartz and any challenges and benefits of virtual Schwartz. Virtual Schwartz was associated with increased attendance, increased accessibility and was seen as impactful as face-to-face Schwartz. Analysis of the listener’s feedback identified seven themes. The themes were ‘Building Relationships with Colleagues”, “Guilt”, “Appreciation of rounds around COVID-19”, “Technology”, “Bringing together” and “Accessibility”. The themes from the facilitator’s feedback were “Pride in persevering”, “Technology”, “More effortful Connection”, “Accessibility” and “Anonymity”.

Conclusion: Overall, virtual Schwartz was seen as a positive and supportive environment which provided a new opportunity for people to feel connected to those who had experienced similar situations throughout the pandemic. There were challenges for the facilitators with the move to virtual Schwartz, including technology and difficulties being there for speakers and listeners. However, virtual Schwartz was seen as worth pursuing to provide a safe space for reflection throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published Date: 2022-02-21; Received Date: 2021-12-24