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PAGNY Initiates Schwartz Rounds at NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx

Attending the NCB Schwartz Rounds were (left to right) Dr. Balvindar Sareen, NCB Chief Medical Officer; Randi Kaplan, guest speaker from Montefiore Medical Center; Maureen Pode, NCB Chief Executive Officer; and Mary Anne Marra, NCB Chief Nursing Officer.

New York City Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx held its first Schwartz Rounds last month—an event designed to encourage medical professionals to openly discuss the social and emotional impact of caring for patients.

The hour-long June 16th session was very successful—attracting an interdisciplinary audience of 60 from the hospital staff. Participants included physicians, nurses, care managers, nutritionists, social workers, engineering and security personnel. The program focused on sickle cell disease, chronic pain, opioid dependency and conflict of care.

The panelists represented medical providers, nursing and hospital administration: Dr. Mark Melrose, NCB’s Chief of Emergency Services; Mary Anne Marra, NCB Deputy Executive Director and Chief Nursing Officer; and Cristina Contreras, NCB’s Chief Operating Officer. Panelists and members of the audience were equally moved by the shared experiences of their colleagues.

“Schwartz Rounds provide a safe place to communicate effectively with the rest of the team in a nonjudgmental and non-retaliatory forum to gain insight into the care we are giving,” said Dr. Chinyere Anyaogu, Vice-Chairperson of NCB’s OB-GYN Department and the physician leader of the Schwartz Rounds.

“Being compassionate affects the care we give patients and how we are affected by the patients who receive it. The Schwartz Center reports that hospitals that conduct Schwartz Rounds do better in terms of quality and patient satisfaction outcomes while developing more effective teams and experiencing higher staff satisfaction.”

NCB’s participation in the Schwartz Rounds was initiated by PAGNY as part of its larger effort to improve the working environment for physicians and staff at PAGNY-affiliated facilities. The NCB Schwartz Rounds were made possible by the financial support of the Greater New York Hospital Association and PAGNY.

NCB is the first PAGNY-affiliated hospital to become a member of the Boston-based Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, which commits it to holding six Schwartz Rounds events a year. According to the center’s website, the Schwartz Rounds program “offers healthcare providers a regularly scheduled time during their fast-paced work lives to openly and honestly discuss the social and emotional issues they face in caring for patients and families.”

The event’s keynote speaker was Randi Kaplan, Director of the Arthur D. Emil Caregiver Support Center at Montefiore Medical Center, who was named the Schwartz Center’s 2016 National Caregiver of the Year. She praised the participants and reminded them to continue to support one another. Ms. Kaplan had previously been the keynote speaker at NCB’s annual Medical Executive Committee, where she talked about the benefits of Schwartz Rounds with physicians.

Dr. Anyaogu said, “What I saw was a lot of enthusiasm to continue [on this journey]. When we let them know the next Schwartz Rounds will be in September, and will focus on workplace violence in a psychiatric setting, a majority of participants said, ‘I’ll see you in September.’ It was very engaging.”