press release
Published: 22 March 2022

Expansion of emotional support to healthcare students and newly qualified staff in the South of England

The highly valued ‘Schwartz Rounds’ that give much-needed emotional support to healthcare workers and those in training, has received more funding from Health Education England to extend the scheme in the South of England to other Universities.  

Schwartz Centre Rounds are unique forums led by trained facilitators, where healthcare students can come together regularly to discuss the emotional, social and ethical aspects of working in healthcare.  

The School of Health Sciences at the University of Surrey has been running Rounds for students since 2018, also facilitating separate Rounds for all staff; professional services; teaching and research staff in the school. Building on a national evaluation of Rounds in the NHS, the University of Surrey has now secured funding to extend its scheme beyond Surrey to other higher education institutions across the South East of England and to expand the offer to newly qualified healthcare staff.  

Surrey’s co-lead, Professor Jill Maben, who is Professor of Health Services Research and Nursing at the University of Surrey, said: 

"Schwartz Rounds were introduced to help improve staff wellbeing and, ultimately, patient care by supporting staff empathy and compassion. The premise is that staff are more able to make personal connections with colleagues and patients if they have insight into their own responses and feelings.   

"Our national evaluation  of Rounds showed improvements to the psychological wellbeing of practitioners who attended Schwartz Rounds and our students report greater connection and feeling less alone, gaining important peer support from Rounds attendance. We are delighted to have received this funding to allow us to share our expertise and spread Schwartz Rounds across the South of England.”

Professor Cath Taylor, Professor of Healthcare Workforce, Organization and Wellbeing, said:

“Rounds provide a structured space for healthcare students to come together to share and discuss the emotional aspects of their work,  enhancing their capacity to deliver compassionate care. Students attending Rounds in Health Sciences rate them highly in relation to the value of hearing others’ talk openly about the impact on them of healthcare work, leading to them feeling less isolated in their feelings, and more informed and aware of the importance of care and compassion in caring for patients.”

Professor Melaine Coward, Head of School for Health Sciences and Deputy Dean of the Faculty for Health and Medical Sciences, said:

“I am delighted we have received this funding from Health Education England. Rounds have been really important in our offer to healthcare students at the University of Surrey, and we can now build on our expertise and make these invaluable sessions available across the region at a time when mental health and wellbeing is so high on the agenda for all of us.”

The funding will allow the University of Surrey to provide Schwartz Rounds expertise, consultation, ongoing mentoring support and a Schwartz HEI community in the South of England and pump-priming packages for each Higher Education establishment recruited into the scheme. 

Dr Agnes Hibbert from Health Education England Nursing South East said:  

"Health Education England (South East) is delighted to support the provision of Schwartz Rounds for nursing, midwifery and allied health profession students and newly qualified practitioners. Students and those ready to qualify have reported their concerns about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their knowledge, skills and competence. Led by higher education institutions and working with service provider organisations, this initiative is a means of hearing and valuing the experiences of students and healthcare staff, and offering further support to newly qualified practitioners."  

The University of Liverpool has been running a similar successful project since 2019 and has supported nine universities in the North of England to run interprofessional healthcare student Schwartz Rounds.  

Schwartz Rounds Project lead Dr Laura Golding, from the University of Liverpool, said:   

I am delighted that Health Education England is funding the Schwartz South project. This builds on the success of the University of Liverpool’s Schwartz North project which began in 2019 and has supported nine universities in the North of England to run interprofessional healthcare student Schwartz Rounds. It is a pleasure to support Professors Jill Maben and Cath Taylor and their team with the development of this exciting and timely project and to work together to increase healthcare students’ access to Schwartz Rounds during their clinical training."

Bev Fitzsimons, Chief Executive at the Point of Care Foundation, said:

"Since we brought Schwartz Rounds to the UK and Ireland in 2009, we have seen them spread to over 250 health and care organisations. We are keen to attract higher education institutions to establish Schwartz Rounds for their students, as we believe that early engagement with Rounds can bring benefit to people throughout their careers, support students' wellbeing and enhance their experience at university, and encourage interprofessional understanding. We're delighted that the Schwartz South project is expanding access to Schwartz Rounds to more students of health and care professions.'

The project launched on 22 March with a presentation at the Schwartz North conference in Liverpool. It is anticipated that there will be up to seven new sites offering the Schwartz Centre Rounds across the region, and Rounds will also continue to develop and grow in Health Sciences and across the University of Surrey.  


Notes to Editors:

Some links that provide a bit more detail can be found here: