What I Learned at the Royal College of Nursing Conference

By Fran Ludwig

Fran Ludwig, MS, RN
Fran Ludwig, MS, RN

I had no expectations as I traveled across ‘the pond’ to England to attend the Royal College of Nursing conference-my primary goal was to present with my colleague Bonny Kehm on our work with person centered care and baccalaureate nursing education. Certainly, I was interested in networking and meeting nurses from around the world but I honestly did not know what to expect.

It was in the poster presentations that I found common ground with colleagues from around the world. This is what I learned from a nursing colleague from Belfast, Ireland.

Melanie Jan Legg is the Head of Practice Development at Marie Curie: a Hospice program in Belfast, Ireland. Her poster presentation was on the “Implementation of Schwartz rounds in a hospice to develop workforce resilience and team building.” The Schwartz Rounds model is an evidence-based forum for health care staff to come together to talk about the emotional and social challenges of caring for individuals. The Schwartz Centre for Compassionate Healthcare was founded in 2009 to promote kindness and compassion in health care and is now common not only in the UK but in the US as well.

These rounds, quite different from traditional medical rounds, provide staff members with the opportunity to openly and honestly discuss the social and emotional issues they face in caring for patients and families in today’s health care setting. The focus is on the human element of caring.  Research findings have shown that caregivers are better able to make personal connections with patients as well as colleagues when they have greater insight into their own response and feelings.

Legg has implemented Schwartz Rounds at Marie Curie to improve upon the care provided within the hospice setting as well as to move the staff toward a more person-centered, compassionate care model. Her findings supported previous findings that not only did staff appreciate the chance to speak about their own feelings, they in fact felt able to provide more compassionate care. Legg’s next challenge: to assist nursing staff actually incorporating this new found knowledge into a person-centered care approach.

In summarizing her work, Legg stated “Caring has gone out of nursing in so many ways and we need to re-emphasis that we are here to care for the person as well as look after our nurses.”

Reference: Legg, M. (2016, January) Implementation of Schwartz rounds in a hospice to develop workforce resilience and team building. Poster presented at the Royal College of Nursing International Conference, Telford, England.