Last month I told a personal story at BDCFT's monthly Schwartz Round on the topic of 'Removing the Barriers'. For those unfamiliar with Schwartz Rounds (SR) – their main purpose is to find and/or elicit the personal in the professional and to connect us as a (Schwartz) community within our organisation.SR are for clinical and non-clinical staff throughout the organisation, thus challenging ideas about hierarchy and professional status. The experience is fully-supported by mental health professionals and all those attending are completely non-judgemental.

I found talking (not presenting) at SR both liberating and enlightening. In response, the thoughts and observations of colleagues from other specialisms are extremely valuable and provide a wider context; I also experienced a strong sense of connectivity and empathy with others in attendance. The stories (usually three stories per round) can be funny, sad, uplifting or traumatic but the resonance in the listeners (audience) is both cathartic and supportive of the story-teller. SR isn't about moaning or pointing the finger and your story may not relate exclusively to the workplace but its an opportunity to talk about something that deeply matters and which you want to share. Research indicates that SR improves empathy and emotional wellbeing of staff, reduces staff turnover and ergo improves patient care.

I think it requires courage and trust to share something very personal, and the latter can be no less demanding than the former. For me, Schwartz Round was an opportunity to realise more fully how our personal thoughts and feelings may be strongly wedded to who we are at work, too.

Carl Challinor

Knowledge Librarian and Support Officer

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust