handling difficult conversations

Handling Difficult Situations
Caring for yourself and others with compassion

Dates & Times

Running Daily from:
16 Jan 2024 to 27 Mar 2024


3 hours


Delivered online by a trainer

For technical Issues:

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Handling difficult situations: Caring for yourself and others with compassion

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’ course 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.  

Delegate Feedback 

This training programme has been delivered to over 7,000 NHS colleagues so far and achieved excellent results on evaluation - with 96% 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”

"Fantastic course, highly relevant. Felt comfortable throughout and will take away a lot of learning from this course which I hope to put into practice. Thank you all. Best course I've been on for quite some time."

 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:  

How do I sign up? 

Please click 'Book Course' below and choose a convenient date and time. The programme starts from 5 December 2023. You will be sent an email to add to your calendar with your joining instructions.

Please check your junk folder if you do not receive an email within 10 minutes. It may have been blocked if it is not in your junk folder. In this case, please get in touch with your helpdesk team.

If you have any other problems making your booking, please email

Group bookings 

If you are interested in making a group booking, please contact:

Feedback from the programme


“I felt the training was really helpful. It reminded me and made me aware of skills I didn't realise I used or had. It has definitely helped me to be more confident when approaching tricky situations with colleagues or service users."

“The trainers knew the subject and it was obvious they had a passion for it. I will recommend this to others as I feel it should actually be a mandatory course every 3 years to remind people and prevent complecency among staff. "

“This training course has helped me to 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”.