Handling difficult situations with compassion – training programme

Launch of cohort three: Free access to a half day, virtual training opportunity

NHS England is pleased to announce that a final cohort of the award nominated ‘Handling difficult situations – Caring for yourself and others with compassion’ is now available to colleagues in frontline, patient facing roles.  This training programme, which is available for free, aims to help upskill colleagues in how to handle difficult situations with compassion, using appropriate communication techniques and active listening skills, whilst very much focussing on how to keep yourself well if you feel affected by a situation.  

The skills learnt in the training can 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 offers NHS colleagues education on models of self-awareness, self-compassion and emotional intelligence that are important in looking after our own wellbeing, as well as 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 previous cohorts:  

This training programme has been running since 2021 and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees, achieving 95% overall satisfaction from those who have attended. 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 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 will be put into practice when helping me support and manage my team. However will also aid my own personal wellbeing in recognising the need for self care.” 

Who can sign up

This training is targeted at colleagues in patient-facing, frontline roles across all sectors of the NHS, who may not have received any training of this type before.  Active participation is encouraged during the session and delegates will be asked to keep their cameras on throughout the session.  If you have any additional learning needs, please do let us know in advance and we can work with you to support you.   Please note that the communication techniques and skills taught are foundation level – this is not an advanced level course.

How do I sign up?

To view available dates, please click on the following: https://escalla.co.uk/handling-difficult-situations/

Supporting your ongoing development through an e-learning module

Alongside the virtual training programme, NHS England have published an e-learning module that colleagues can access and work through in their own time.   To access the e-learning module through the Health Education e-Learning for Healthcare website, please follow this link.  You can also locate the training on ESR by searching for “Handling difficult situations”.

If you have any questions about the programme or would like to read the evaluation of the programme, please email ournhspeople.hwb@nhs.net

New – Train the trainer programme

As we transition into the new NHS England Operating Framework, with Integrated Care Systems and organisations taking local ownership of staff experience, we would like to train a number of colleagues across each ICS to become local trainers of this programme, embedding the programme at local level and offering longer term sustainability.   If you have previously completed the training and would be interested in applying to become a “champion” of the programme to support in delivering the content locally, we welcome applications for our new Train the Trainer programme beginning this year

Who can apply to be a trainer?

We are seeking colleagues in relevant roles, with capacity to deliver the training at local level, who have expertise and experience in delivering training, as well as potentially subject matter expertise that adds to their credibility (e.g. an understanding of health and wellbeing, violence prevention, HR and organisational development etc).   This could include colleagues in the following roles, however all applications will be considered.

  • Health and Wellbeing Champions
  • Violence Prevention and Reduction Leads
  • Professional Nurse Advocates and Professional Midwifery Advocates
  • Learning and development or organisational development roles
  • Clinical educators, including primary care training hubs

Trainers must have pre-agreed consent from their line manager to be able to attend the two half day training sessions and confirm that they subsequently have capacity and approval to deliver training sessions across their organisation.

How many places are available?

We are offering up to train up to 20 colleagues per ICS.

How to apply?

Training dates will be made available from January-March 2024.  The training will be delivered virtually over two, half-day training sessions on different dates. Delegates will need to attend both sessions to be considered as a qualified trainer.  All training has been funded by NHS England.

If you are interested in applying, please discuss the opportunity with your line manager in the first instance.  Applicants may then apply using this online application form: