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Forums Highlight Compassion, Human Connection in Health Care

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Doctors and nurses aren’t the only caregivers patients encounter at Samaritan clinics and hospitals. At Samaritan, everyone is considered a caregiver.

In recognizing that caregivers need care too, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis now offers Schwartz Rounds for all staff, joining a movement among health care organizations to prioritize compassion and not overlook the human connection.

Schwartz Rounds are events that focus on a case or a theme related to the emotional impact of patient care. The panels are facilitated so that care team members can share their experiences and discuss them with others.

The program was developed by the Schwartz Center in Boston and honors Ken Schwartz, a man who died from lung cancer. Schwartz wrote about his experience, reminding caregivers to stay in the moment with patients and how “the smallest acts of kindness” make “the unbearable bearable.”

Kristy Jessop, MD, primary care medical director at Good Samaritan, is a member of the planning committee at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. Since the program began last winter, the rounds have been held regularly and have continued in a virtual format during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

“It’s been a way for our employees to come together, building a sense of community among the Samaritan workforce,” Dr. Jessop said.

Dr. Jessop participated in Schwartz Rounds during her residency at Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey. She saw how it helped to break down barriers, giving people the confidence and a setting to speak openly about emotional experiences.

Patient care and particular cases are not discussed. Each themed session is an opportunity to keep building a culture of teamwork and practice Samaritan’s values of passion, respect, integrity, dedication and excellence (PRIDE).

Timothy Eixenberger, DNP, vice president of patient care services at Good Samaritan, participates in Schwartz Rounds. He finds the rounds rejuvenating and thought‑provoking and says they are already creating a positive impact.

“Care for the caregiver,” Eixenberger said. “Such a simple idea that is so greatly needed.”

Learn about the mission, vision and values that set Samaritan apart at samhealth.org/Mission.