Reflective Reading at Stroger Hospital of Cook County

Stroger Hospital’s mission is to provide a comprehensive program of quality health care, with respect and dignity, to the residents of Cook County, regardless of their ability to pay. The mission of the Section of Palliative Medicine is to relieve suffering and maintain or improve the quality of life of patients facing serious or life-threatening illness, respecting each patient’s dignity and striving to enhance the physical, social, psychological and spiritual well-being of patients and their families.

Audience Focus

The interdisciplinary Palliative Care Team at Stroger and learners (medical students, residents, fellows) assigned to the team.


  1. Train leaders of the palliative care team to facilitate a series of civic reflection discussions, which the team called Reflective Reading
  2. Provide a toolkit of guidelines, tips and resources geared to hospice and palliative care teams doing civic reflection
  3. Work with an evaluation consultant in measuring the impact of the Reflective Reading Program (at the request of Stroger’s Hektoen Institute)
  4. Work with the palliative care team director to spread the practice of Reflective Reading to other hospitals and hospices in the Chicago region
Staff Meeting at Stroger Hospital

Project Description

In the summer of 2007 the Palliative Care Team at Cook County’s Stroger Hospital in Chicago began holding monthly “Reflective Reading” sessions with an interdisciplinary team of doctors, social workers, and other palliative care staff as a way to strengthen connections among staff members and improve team morale. Dr. Jennifer Smith, Chief of General Medicine at Stroger, and Dr. Catherine Deamant, Director of Palliative Care Services, introduced the group to civic reflection after attending Center for Civic Reflection facilitation trainings. The reflective discussions, which are integrated into the regular schedule of team meetings, give staff members the chance to talk about the meaning of their work and connect in a new way — using short pieces of literature to anchor the discussions and with team members taking turns facilitating.


  1. Increased the capacity of team members to work effectively both with one another and with the patients they serve.
  2. Increased team members' job satisfaction in the areas of service, creativity and co-worker relations.
  3. Enhanced team members' professionalism—a core competency in medical education.
  4. In partnership with Stroger Hospital and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, CCR is expanding these reflective reading programs to other Chicago area hospice and palliative care programs. In September 2011, with funding from Prince Charitable Trusts, CCR trained representatives of 5 Chicago hospitals and hospices to lead reflective reading programs with their teams from October 2011 to June 2012.


palliative carereflective readingmedical humanities

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