What is the training?

‘Handling difficult situations – Caring for yourself and others with compassion’ is a newly-developed training course that is being offered to frontline, patient-facing NHS colleagues. The training aims to help upskill colleagues in handling difficult situations with compassion, using appropriate communication techniques and active listening skills, whilst focusing on keeping yourself well if you feel affected by a situation.

The skills learnt in training could be used in a wide range of difficult situations, including where patients may present in a challenging or distressed manner, during instances of uncivil behaviour or when speaking about difficult topics of conversation. The training also covers self-awareness, self-compassion and emotional intelligence, which are essential in looking after our own wellbeing, and that of others.

What you will gain from attending:

✔ An understanding of what we mean by compassion and the types of difficult situations our NHS colleagues may face, using case studies based on real-life experiences from our NHS people.

✔ Foundation-level communication skills and techniques that will support you to consider how to handle a difficult situation safely and with compassion

✔ Dedicated time to practice the skills and techniques discussed in a safe space, with the support of a facilitator and your group

✔ Engagement with other colleagues across the NHS and the opportunity to learn from shared experiences

✔ Up-to-date information on the national health and wellbeing support offers available from NHS England and NHS Improvement to you and your colleagues.

Feedback from the pilot in 2021/22

This training programme was piloted in 2021/22 with over 2,000 NHS colleagues and achieved excellent results on evaluation – with 95% overall satisfaction amongst attendees. Delegates reported an overall 25% increase in confidence in handling difficult situations with compassion following completion of the training, and attendees left overwhelmingly positive feedback.

“I found the event/training beneficial and interesting as we have never had anything like this offered before in the 23 years I’ve worked for the NHS”.
“This has been valuable in helping me to realise I need to look after myself as well as patients’ wellbeing”.
“This training course has helped me realise that listening to people is the key. Show compassion in every situation and show that we are there for every individual no matter what the situation”.
Who can sign up?
This training programme is targeted at colleagues in patient-facing, frontline roles across all sectors of the NHS, who may not have previously received any training of this type before. Please note that the communication techniques and skills taught are foundation level – this is not an advanced level course.

Below are some examples of staff groups who may wish to consider the programme (please note this list is not exhaustive, and these are suggestions only):

  • Administration and clerical roles, including receptionists, ward clerks and primary care practice managers
  • Personalised care roles, including social prescribing link workers, health and wellbeing coaches and care coordinators
  • Porters and estates colleagues
  • Linen and cleaning services
  • Telephone line operatives, including mental health crisis teams and ambulance call centre colleagues
  • Community care staff such as health visitors
  • Clinicians who may not have received any training of this type before

What is expected of me once I sign up?

The training will be held virtually, using MS Teams, and will take 3 hours to complete. Colleagues will need permission from their line manager to attend the session.

All colleagues MUST have their camera on and audio connected throughout the session. This is to enable the facilitator to keep the space psychologically safe.

This training is a participation style programme, and therefore colleagues will need to be actively engaged in the session – this means we cannot allow bookings where multiple colleagues sit around one computer and microphone as this does not allow for individual participation.

Upon completion of the course, delegates will be asked to share feedback and contribute to the evaluation of the course to contribute to evaluation.

For any queries, please get in touch with colleagues at the National team via our mailbox: