Supporting nursing students to process their emotions
At Solent, we are committed to supporting our staff and aspiring health and care workers emotionally. Through our Schwartz Rounds we provide a safe space for healthcare staff to reflect on emotional aspects of their work, which are key in building our compassionate culture.
Recently we hosted an external Schwartz Round, where Jacqui Wilkinson, our Schwartz Rounds Lead, facilitated a session at the University of Portsmouth with third-year Adult Nursing students. This opportunity gave the nursing students a chance to listen to stories and valuable insights from a panel made up of Solent NHS Trust staff, who then gave them the opportunity to reflect, share and engage.
Christian Diego, a third-year Adult Nursing student, said the session really resonated with him. “The whole panel was great, it was an incredible session. I don’t open-up easily, hearing these stories from the panellists of some of their experiences, reminding us that compassion is so important in our work.”
Aaron, a Nursing Student, said the session was emotive and helpful for students to hear. “People were sharing real stories of humanity. I realised the need to look after myself. It’s important to look after our mental health so we can look after our patients better.”
Another student said: “The session was emotional. It helps you see that when you are in practice and you are experiencing massive emotions, you are not alone and a lot of other nurses are going through these challenging experiences and emotions as well, and that’s ok.”
Jacqui was delighted at how engaged and receptive the student nurses were, proving how important these rounds are. Jacqui said: “A round in person is powerful because you can feel the connection between people and being vulnerable in this safe space. Hearing these stories is something above what you can achieve online.”
Safe space to share and reflect
Steve Swan, the Project Manager for Wessex and Isle of Wight (IOW) Schwartz Round project, involving four universities (Bournemouth, Winchester, Southampton and Portsmouth) and six NHS Trusts, including Solent, was present at the round and found it impactful and necessary. Swan said: “The vision is to have these specific Schwartz Rounds available to newly qualified nurses, AHPs and new registrants in Hampshire and the IOW.
“Alongside these rounds, we will undertake an evaluation and research programme to see how effective they are and look deeper into their impact, their advantages and disadvantages.
Swan is passionate about the NHS and the care they deliver, adding: “This could really make a difference to people that work in the NHS. Up until today everything I have read has been theoretical. But today it has brought it all to life, and how powerful it has been. I was moved, it was wonderful to see and be part of it.”
Making a difference
Melanie Tanner, a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Portsmouth, has always been interested in the idea of Schwartz Rounds and making them available to help student nurses process their emotions. Tanner said: “I wanted to bring this to our student nurses to help them build up their resilience and support them to cope with all the emotional baggage nursing brings. It is a powerful tool to help our students process their emotions and provide them with a space they feel they can share.”
Rounds can help staff feel more supported in their jobs, allowing them the time and space to reflect on their roles and their emotions. Evidence shows that staff who attend Schwartz Rounds feel less stressed and isolated, with an increased insight and appreciation for each other’s roles.
The underlying premise for Rounds is that the compassion shown by staff can make all the difference to a patient’s experience of care, but that in order to provide compassionate care staff must, in turn, feel supported in their work. At Solent we hope to achieve this through this partnership at the universities, making sure healthcare professional feel supported, valued and heard.