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Exploring the Code Breathe Initiative with Dr. Joshua Schwarzbaum – Healthcare Experience Matters Podcast

May 19, 2022

Our guest on today’s episode of the Healthcare Experience Matters Podcast created by our Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF) partners is Dr. Joshua Schwarzbaum. He joins us to discuss the “Code Breathe” initiative that he helped develop in the Emergency Department at St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City.

Dr. Schwarzbaum is a board-certified emergency medicine physician with SBH Health System in the Bronx.

At its essence, the initiative is about taking roughly five minutes a day to sit down as a team of colleagues to breathe and relax. It’s a chance to be mindful in an effort to re-energize and re-focus as a collective group. He provides deep insight for us on today’s episode about this very successful initiative.

According to Dr. Schwarzbaum, the initiative is so important that it takes place nearly every shift and it will happen regardless of what else is going on. The initiative is straightforward and it has been very well received by those who participate.

“We do it every day and essentially every shift,” he said. “It gives everyone the permission and time to go take five minutes together where we all sit down.”

Dr. Schwarzbaum said that an overhead announcement takes place each shift for the break. The announcement comes the same way the department would announce medical notifications. He adds that the code breathe initiative happens during some of the busiest times at the Emergency Department.

“It really helps us all reconnect within to bring our best out for all of our patients and the rest of the team,” Dr. Schwarzbaum said.

During today’s interview, Dr. Schwarzbaum also discussed how empowering it is to take complete ownership of one’s own well-being as a healthcare provider.

“I realized the only way I could leave happy was to look internally,” he said. “At the end of the day, I am responsible for my happiness.”

Today’s conversation illustrates the importance of taking 5 – 7 minutes each day to sit as a team and take a few breathes. For those interested in learning more about mindfulness, please consider listening to our podcast called Practicing Mindfulness for Better Patient Experiences.

Listen to the podcast below: