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Retrospective review of a Schwartz Rounds service for a veterinary team

02 February 2024
13 mins read
Volume 15 · Issue 1


Schwartz Rounds are a multidisciplinary forum for human healthcare staff to process the emotional and social issues associated with delivering care. The aim is to care for the emotional needs of team members so that they in turn may attend to the emotional needs of their patients (clients).


To run a pilot program at a large UK veterinary practice to assess the suitability and impact of Schwartz Rounds in this group.


Data analysis of feedback forms and attendance records from Schwartz Rounds in veterinary practice.


Over 90% of attendees found that the stories presented were: relevant to their daily work; would help them work better with colleagues; found the group discussion helpful; and had a better understanding of their work. Over 90% planned to attend again and recommend Schwartz Rounds to colleagues.


The pilot provided sufficient quantitative evidence that Schwartz Rounds increase the wellbeing of practice teams to warrant further investigations.

Schwartz Rounds were set up by the Center for Compassionate Care in memory of Kenneth Schwartz, a medical attorney who developed terminal lung cancer. He noted that it was the moments of compassion shown by healthcare teams which meant the most to him during his treatment. The premise of Schwartz Rounds is that, in order to offer compassionate care to patients, healthcare teams need to be offered the same (Firth-Cozens and Cornwell, 2009). Noting the evidence in human-centred healthcare settings for Schwartz Rounds, transferability into the veterinary setting needs to be understood. As veterinary professionals experiencing compassion fatigue may have a reduced empathy for coworkers, this can result in reduced quality of care (Foote, 2000). Schwartz Rounds can provide a countercultural or third space for teams, which gives attendees a forum to reflect in a group setting.

Rounds usually last 1 hour, have two trained facilitators (who introduce and set the parameters of the Round) and two panellists, who start the reflective discussion by recounting experiences from their daily working lives. Audience members are invited to reflect as the stories stimulate similar memories or experiences – food is provided as part of the format of the Round (Martin, 2022).

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