The discussion of burnout is a hot topic in today’s career landscape and this is especially true in healthcare. Operating in a high-stress and emotional work environment, healthcare professionals give so much to patients. At the same time, patients need professionals who deliver high-quality, personalized experiences from the staff that treats them. At Northwell Health, this is what our Culture of Care is built upon. We spoke with Pam Klatman, Director of Social Work, Cohen Childrens Medical Center about what our Patient Experience Team is doing to find the balance between great patient care and avoiding caregiver burnout.
As Caregivers in a large hospital system, our Culture of Care speaks to the way we provide care and go above and beyond for our patients and their families. We are taught to ‘find the yes’ and always use ‘LAST’ and ‘CONNECT’” says Pam, “This is easy when we have patients and families who are willing to allow us in but many times we have families and patients, especially in hospitals, that are angry, upset or frustrated.”
Patients and their families come to us in their most vulnerable state and often that evokes all kinds of feelings for those who treat them. Those emotions can have a serious effect on a health care professional’s mental wellbeing as well as their quality of work which is why our patient experience team is focused on the mental wellbeing, burnout, and resilience of every one of our valued employees. So what are we doing about it? Enter The Schwartz Rounds.
“Schwartz Rounds provides a confidential space for all caregivers to talk about the way a patient and their family made the caregiver feel or how a particular situation made them feel,” explains Pam, “It is important that when we have these feelings we process them and work through them so that we are able to handle the next obstacle that comes our way.”
This system-wide program gives our employees a regularly scheduled time during their fast-paced work lives to openly and honestly discuss these issues, to feel supported, and to properly process. Through this sharing, caregivers are better able to make personal connections with patients and colleagues when they have greater insight into their own responses and feelings. It’s a place to be themselves and to take care of their own emotional needs so they can go and continue to deliver excellent care to our patients.
And Pam knows that the effect of the Schwartz Rounds program doesn’t end there, “by showing compassion to our colleagues and supporting one another we take care of each other and in turn, take care of ourselves. It is a way to ‘recharge our batteries’ and feel more equipped to handle the challenges of the coming days.”
At Northwell Health, we believe that when we can share our experiences with each other and thus become better caregivers, coworkers, and people. What makes us human, is what makes us Made for this.