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Medical staff listening

Enhancing Patient Experience and Staff Well-Being

NHS National Framework Approved Training Programmes

Are you seeking support in: 

  • Confidently engaging empathically and compassionately with families, loved ones and colleagues post-incidents (PSIRF)?

  • Interested in preventing prolonged psychological harm (Duty of Candour)?

  • Seeking to develop a deeper understanding of human-focused communication and ethical leadership?

  • Fostering civility, emotional intelligence, well-being and resilience?


These NHS Framework approved courses, (Lot 2 and 4C of the National Framework) are designed for health and social care professionals who are looking to enhance their skills in empathy, compassionate engagement, and emotional awareness. Specifically tailored to improve patient and loved ones' experience and involvement, while also prioritising staff well-being and resilience


Training programmes
for Healthcare Professionals

A Journey Through Complaints & Incidents Using Empathy and Compassionate Engagement

Linking into PSIRF, Complaints Standards Framework and the Duty of Candour (Lot 2)

Delivered face to face, virtually, or unique E-learning version 


Health and social care professionals wishing to enhance communication in complaints and incidents for a just fair and learning culture (Complaints Standards Framework), preventing prolonged psychological harm (Duty of Candour) and providing compassionate engagement (PSIRF) for achieve meaningful involvement and to minimise harm. 

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The new national framework Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) places strong emphasis on 'Compassionate engagement and involvement of those affected by patient safety incidents'  While the National Quality Board identified 8 key principles concerning bereaved families and carers in the National Guidance on Learning from Deaths guidelines, which Trust Boards are now accountable for ensuring compliance with. Part of this compliance is ensuring training for staff to be able to support bereaved parties Providers should review and, if necessary, enhance skills and training to support this agenda' (National Guidance on Learning from Deaths March '17)

 'Investigation teams must be compromised of staff who have the skills to apply the Duty of Candour compassionately, and the skills to support individuals at a time of complex bereavement' CQC Learning Accountability and Candour.

The Complaints Standards Framework is in place to support "being a just, fair and learning organisation {...] With understanding of the emotional complexity around making a complaint and having a complaint made against you"

DESCRIPTION: This emotionally explorative one-day course is for healthcare professionals who wish to gain confidence and insight into handling complaints and incidents in an empathetic and compassionate way. They will improve how they approach emotive and difficult conversations with patients loved ones and the bereaved, learning how to recognise and gain vital 'emotional data' to support compassionate engagement and involvement inline with the training requirements highlighted in PSIRF, the Complaints Standards Framework and others. From the perspective of real life case study told with candour and honesty, along with the science compassionate empathy and psychology, delegates will develop confidence and knowledge to work with bereaved families and to positively improve how patients and loved ones experience their organisation, whilst looking after their own important well-being.


  • Understanding a thought-provoking journey through a complaint and incident, understanding 'emotional data', for true learning.

  • Build confidence in compassionately engaging and involving bereaved and vulnerable people

  • Identifying and understanding empathic and emotionally focused thinking to understand the emotional complexities and systems in complaints

  • Understand how a lack of empathy and compassion has the potential to cause psychological harm, negatively impacting on being a just culture and preventing complying meaningfully with the new Patient Safety Incident Response Framework.

  • Understanding what gets in the way and develop, manage and optimise reasoned empathy in complaints

  • How to help achieve meaningful resolutions, optimum outcomes and reach a 'Safeguarded Personal Resolution' ® to be just, fair and a learn culture

  • Understand yourself better to safeguard your own mental health and personal well-being. 


"Carolyn led a session for a group of Senior Clinical Leaders at Northumbria Healthcare on Empathetic Leadership. The session was so powerful and engaging with an open and honest account of personal experience that deeply impacted the group. The various formats of delivery and the consistent patient story running throughout the day made this an extremely reflective session." Rachel Carter, Patient Safety Director, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust,

HC Complans & Incidents
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All healthcare and social care professionals who want the flexibility to complete training over time, without losing the immersive feel of live training. Join Founder of CCET, Carolyn Cleveland and 4 Participation Colleagues on this unique training. 

Unique E-Learning Version (Lot 2)

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"It will open your mind to emotions, both in terms of why we feel the way we do and how others perceive the feelings and reactions. I liked the fact that I could complete the course in my own time, with breaks which suited took the anxiousness of "walking into a room of strangers" away but at the same time I also felt involved with all the discussions without the awkwardness that training courses normally entail."

HC Leadership

A Journey Through Leadership Using Empathy - Linking to psychological safety 

Linking into psychological safety and a civil culture (Lot 2)

Delivered face to face or virtually.


All those working in health or social care and wanting to improve their empathic and compassionate leadership to enhance their interactions skills and human connection skills with their workforce, nurture well-being and improve their own self care.

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Studies comparing superb leaders with mediocre ones have found that the competencies that distinguish the best form the worst in human services have little or nothing to do with medical knowledge or technical skill and everything to do with social and emotional intelligence. Of course, medical knowledge matters for healthcare leaders – but it’s a given. What distinguishes leaders in medicine, goes far beyond that knowledge, into interpersonal skills like empathy, conflict resolutions and people development.”

Daniel Goldman. 

A study by Development Dimensions International found that of more than 15,000 leaders in 18 countries workers who master empathy make the most successful leaders.  It cited empathy as the No. 1 skill of a great leader.

During challenging times or when dealing with stress or burnout, cultivating happiness at work becomes crucial. Empathetic leadership, fostering a psychologically safe environment where individuals feel comfortable being vulnerable, holds significant importance

DESCRIPTION: This one-day course examines, in a unique, thought provoking and human way, the important role empathy and emotional awareness plays in inclusive leadership, staff well-being and productivity, and what erodes it. Delegates will develop understanding of the psychology of emotionally focused thinking and outcomes and learn essential skills to understand and implement effective relationship focused work, underpinned with empathy and emotional development.


  • Who are we? Understanding & developing the human connection

  • How to identify and understand emotionally focused thinking and practice and people focused leadership

  • Explore how a lack of empathy in one-on-one encounters has the potential to cause psychological harm, how to respond to others using empathy

  • How to cultivate empathy and inclusive leadership- communicate at a deeper level

  • Reinforce your existing empathy and gain the confidence to use your new skills to enhance the human connection and handle difficult conversations

  • Understand reflexive leadership and develop skills for staff well- being and productivity. Explore the concept of Safeguarded Personal Communication (SPC®)

  • Recognise how to manage empathy to prevent burn out and improve your own self care and staff retention and productivity


" Fantastic! I walked away with increased knowledge on empathy and how it affects us and those around us. Thought -provoking and emotive – in a good way!" Senior clinician NHFT

A Journey Through Empathy and Emotional Awareness in Communication 

(Lot 2)

Delivered face to face or virtually.


The course is ideal for all health and social care professionals, student nurses and junior doctors, advocacy staff, receptionists, social workers and all public facing professionals within health and social care that wish to understand more about empathy, how we communicate.

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"..tuning in to another person does more than give us an understanding of their view – it tells us how best to communicate with that person: what matters most to them, their models of the world...” Daniel Goleman


'It’s easy for people to feel that they give up all control of their lives once they enter the health system....Losing control can make people feel helpless and hopeless, which isn’t good for boosting their chances of recovery from illness. But good communication can avoid these feelings – it can help people to see that they still have a say and are still in charge of their own lives.'  Royal College of Nursing.

DESCRIPTION: This one-day experiential learning session goes beyond identifying what empathy is; it explores how empathy serves as the foundation for effective communication and aligns with various initiatives, guidance, and frameworks Participants not only ‘feel’ empathy but also analyse and comprehend it on a profound level. The goal is to understand why empathy holds such significance in healthcare settings, impacting patients, loved ones, colleagues, and personal well-being.


  • Experience empathy within the context of a real life event and healthcare incident narrative

  • Recognise the impact of the funnel of life and how this impacts on our empathic abilities

  • Identify and understand empathically focused thinking, power imbalances  and communicating with care

  • Evaluate the detrimental effects of a lack of empathy and emotional awareness on patient experience and safety, emphasising the potential for psychological harm and the importance of cultivating empathetic practices.

  • Develop empathic thinking to understand the stories behind communication and the systems at play potentially affecting communication along with a fun look at personalities. 

  • Explore the concept of Safeguarded Personal Communication (SPC®) and managing empathy to prevent burn out and improve well-being and the importance of this for resilience


•One of the best training sessions I have attended. So much learning, so much reflection, great use of humour. Felt constantly engaged throughout. •Absolutely brilliant, enlightening and covered everything we needed. Refilled my emotional/wellbeing cup. •Amazing! Great examples and feel validated. •Really enjoyed the session – very emotional and empowering story which I will remember and take with me when supporting patients on the ward. •Excellent training and Carolyn was an excellent communicator throughout the training. •A really informative day with lots of moments to stop and think. Passionately delivered.

HC Comms
HC Civ 1

Bridging Civility: Exploring Emotional Pathways for Lasting Workplace Change

Linking into patient safety and well-being (Lot 2)

Delivered face to face or virtually.


For those seeking to understand, foster, and champion a culture of civility within teams and service interactions, emphasising empathy, emotional intelligence, and personal well-being as cornerstones for positive organisational change

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It is well known statistic that people who even just witness incivility towards another are 50% less likely to help another person. (Civility Saves Lives) There is also a clear link to patient safety. Often, we avoid visiting difficult emotions in others, as well as ourselves, because we don’t feel confident, or skilled. We are feeling hurt by another’s incivility to us, or, we simply don’t have the emotional reserves.


Understanding the emotional dimensions and stories, acknowledging our collective humanity and vulnerabilities, brings the human focus towards colleagues, patients, and loved ones, to enable authentic learning around civility. Emphasising that personal well-being stands as the most potent antidote to incivility.

DESCRIPTION: This one day course will explore civility, the impact of it being present and the impact of it not being. Moreover, it will delve into understanding the underlying causes of incivility, highlighting how empathy, emotional intelligence, and personal well-being form the cornerstone for cultivating a culture of civility on an individual level, within teams, and in interactions with service users. Understanding the profound repercussions of incivility and acknowledging the crucial role of emotional intelligence in fostering civility, facilitates introspection and motivates individuals to cultivate an environment grounded in respect, support, transparency, and continuous learning. In a supportive and relaxed environment, delegates, will have the opportunity to gain in depth knowledge of the emotional component, relate to, analyse, and realise the significance of civility, building confidence in their own abilities, to make positive culture changes in organisations.


  • Emotional Insight: Sensing incivility’s Impact on Patient Safety, Life, and Trauma, comprehending the ‘Funnel of Life and our shared humanity and fallibility

  • Civility’s Impact: Understand the significance of civility and its effects on workplace culture, patient safety, and relationships.

  • Understanding Emotional Perspectives: Recognise and perceive perspectives, comprehend emotional positioning and motivations, and recognise vulnerability in oneself and others.

  • ​Roots of Incivility: Identify underlying causes of incivility, emphasising empathy, emotional intelligence, and personal well-being in nurturing respectful environments.

  • Emotional Intelligence: Develop emotional intelligence to navigate and mitigate the impact of incivility, fostering resilience and managing difficult emotions.

  • Culture of Respect: Foster environments grounded in respect, support, transparency, and continual learning, driving positive cultural changes within organisations.

  • Confidence in Change: Gain confidence in analysing and enacting positive shifts, contributing to authentic learning and supportive workplace cultures.


What was your overall impression of the session? - "I really enjoyed the day and was so grateful to all those who shared stories. Its a real reality check that this is everyday life and how words and behaviours can impact the day. The inclusion of very personal subject matter allows a very genuine approach, and I am very appreciative that was shared with us to assist us in our future." Practice Development Midwife

HC Lot 4C

Patient & Staff Involvement in Learning from Patient Safety Incidents

PSIRF specific training (Lot 4C) Applying Being Open, PSIRF and Duty of Candour with rich learning responses.

Delivered face to face or virtually. Co Facilitated by Carolyn Cleveland and Peter Walsh Former CEO of AvMA


For those seeking to foster patient and staff involvement in patient safety incidents and champion the Being Open Principles, rich learning responses and the Duty of Candour in a compassionately engaged way.

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With the introduction of PSIRF, more emphasis has been placed on Patient and Staff involvement to gain rich learning from patient safety incidents. 

‘Engagement leads must have the competencies to actively listen, show openness, demonstrate empathy and create rapport with those affected.’ PSIRF – Engaging and involving patients, families and staff following a patient safety incident.

This means understanding the emotional component. Going beyond compliance. Understanding the story.

Remembering our human commonality. Compassionate Engagement as well as the application of the BEING Open principles and Duty of Candour being embedded in hearing and communication.



This one day session not only examines the Being Open and PSIRF principles around compassionate engagement and involvement, but digs deeper, taking the learning around rich communication and honest understanding out of the textbook and into real life application. Through unique and thought provoking material these principles are brought to life to understand and explore in a psychologically safe and supportive environment - not just what needs to be done to ‘comply’. It deals with how it is best accomplished; but also why it needs doing, making all important connections between emotional, human and systems focused learning.

By sharing the felt experience of compassionate engagement and involvement, the exploring the psychology behind it and its practical application, those attending will be able to truly put themselves into the positions of others, analysing and exploring the complexities of healthcare incidents and emotional fallout. Building confidence of the application of the duty of candour and PSIRF, whilst providing and evidencing compassionate communication and emotional support, to be best placed to have a systems approach and ensure staff, patient, families and carers do not end up more harmed, and rich learning takes place


  • Understand and feel the emotional complexities within incidents for patients, families, carers and staff, by exploring the emotional component to aid authentic understanding and rich learning responses

  • Build confidence in compassionately engaging and involving those harmed, bereaved, or experiencing a trauma response, exploring how you review whether you have done this well and evidence it

  • Gain deep understanding of psychological/second harm for patients, families, carers and staff; impacting on a just, fair and learning culture and preventing meaningful compliance with the Being Open and PSIRF principles

  • Clarify ‘grey areas’ within the duty of candour and common difficulties

  • Understand what is needed to comply with the duty and PSIRF, with focus on compassionate engagement, and how systems thinking and human factors impact on proportionate responses and investigation

  • Link the human side of compliance and guidance and the importance of authentic compassionate engagement, involvement and openness, and what constitutes a meaningful apology to support trust, healing and partnerships and staff well-being


• Wow! Very thought provoking. Really enjoyed the honesty and openness. • The course was delivered in an excellent way, with the right levels of humanity, humour and academia. • Excellent, we do need to change our approach when dealing with incidents and as it was discussed we will not always get it right but having empathy and compassion will help. • Really well put together with a mix of teaching, stories, interactive work, group discussions and breakout sessions


Emotional Intelligence

(Lot 2)

Delivered face to face, virtually, or unique E-learning version 


For anyone wanting to understand more about themselves, the human brain and how to develop their emotional intelligence

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In any context, the foundation of emotional intelligence is paramount for personal and collective growth. Navigating the intricacies of emotional intelligence demands authentic self-awareness and a curious mindset. Often, individuals traverse their professional and personal landscapes without a deep understanding of the impact of their emotions on themselves and others. Recognising the profound influence of emotional intelligence, embracing empathy, and cultivating resilience become essential strategies for navigating these complex terrains.

Emotional Intelligence, defined as our mind’s ability to perceive, manage, and express emotions effectively in real life, takes centre stage in this journey. The immersive training acknowledges the individual variations in emotional intelligence and recognises the potential for growth in understanding and dealing with emotions, emphasising how well-being and psychological safety can either enhance or hijack our abilities in this realm

DESCRIPTION: In this immersive one-day session, the primary focus is on unlocking the transformative power of Emotional Intelligence with a strong emphasis on developing emotional awareness and incorporating principles of positive psychology. The training aims to create an experiential learning environment, fostering the cultivation of empathy, kindness, and personal well-being. 


Through this experiential approach, participants are empowered to not only develop their emotional intelligence but also to deepen their emotional awareness. This emphasis on heightened emotional awareness, combined with principles of positive psychology, provides a comprehensive framework for personal growth. The training equips individuals with the skills to make emotionally intelligent decisions, fostering psychological safety, building trust, enhancing creativity, and embodying the qualities of a positive and emotionally intelligent person.


  • Transformative Emotional Intelligence: Understand and apply Emotional Intelligence, emphasising awareness and positive psychology.

  • Cultivate Empathy and Kindness: Equip for empathy, kindness, and personal well-being in interactions.

  • Acknowledge Emotional Variations: Recognise and appreciate diversity in emotional intelligence, fostering growth.

  • Navigate Well-being: Explore well-being’s impact, gaining resilience strategies for diverse environments.

  • Deepen Emotional Awareness: Cultivate holistic personal growth through experiential emotional learning.

  • Apply Positive Psychology: Integrate positive psychology for a comprehensive approach to personal growth.

  • Harnessing Success: Explore how recognising successes becomes a powerful tool for making positive and emotionally intelligent decisions, fostering trust and creativity.


“Perception is different for everyone and that can affect how a situation is approached and handled. Even though we normalise a lot of things we see and deal with it can still build up and have an effect. Carolyn approaches the topic well, makes it relevant to career and everyday lives and how to implement it. Thank you very much for a wonderful teaching, I can implement it in many aspects of my life and can't wait to use it in my working life.” NHS Physiotherapist

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Email or call to ask any questions 

Implementing the Duty of Candour with Empathy

Going beyond compliance and looking at the emotional and the guidance (Lot 2) 

Delivered face to face, or virtually. Co Facilitated by Carolyn Cleveland and Peter Walsh Former CEO of AvMA


For those seeking to foster patient and staff involvement in patient safety incidents and champion the Being Open Principles, rich learning responses and the Duty of Candour in a compassionately engaged way.

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The statutory Duty of Candour is one of the fundamental standards regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It was brought in following recommendations made by the Mid-Staffordshire Public Inquiry and campaigning by the parents of Robbie Powell and Action Against Medical Accidents.


The CQC is giving higher priority to monitoring compliance with the duty (regulation 20 in the CQC regulations) and has taken regulatory action against many organisations who have not fully complied. However, implementing the duty well is more than just complying. Many factors get in the way of implementing the Duty of candour and communicating in a way that is open, honest and compassionate.



This training day covers the must do’s and the grey areas around the statutory Duty of Candour, with a strong emphasis on going beyond mere compliance and delivering the duty of candour in a meaningful way for patients and families, and for the staff involved and the organisation. It gives those attending the chance to connect with the emotional component in themselves and others when incidents happen.

This training is delivered between Peter Walsh the ex-Chief Executive of AvMA who is well known for his work on the Duty of Candour, and Carolyn Cleveland who specialises in training professionals in dealing with difficult emotions and conversations and doing so with empathy, understanding possible  perspectives and complexities at play.


  • Why the duty of candour is so important for patients, staff and organisations 

  • What is needed to comply with the duty of candour

  • Clarifying ‘grey areas’ and common difficulties

  • Implications for safety and complaints investigations

  • An understanding of empathy, its importance and application in delivering the duty of candour

  • How to be sure you are doing it ‘right’ and collecting evidence to demonstrate you are.​​

  • Explore the absence and presence of empathy in a real-life incident, and the complexities of emotions that can influence giving and receiving communication around incidents.

  • Examine different perspectives and what is going on in the ‘Funnel of Life’ for patients and staff that may influence communication

  • Recognise the difference between empathy, sympathy and apathy to strengthening an empathic approach

  • Link the human side of the duty of candour to the compliance and the importance of communication with authentic honesty and openness, and what constitutes a meaningful apology.


• Very informative and thought-provoking; good opportunity to take time out of the workplace to consider how we discharge DoC and also how to make a meaningful apology • Very thought provoking and impactful • Very powerful & informative session • Very informative on a professional and personal level. I shall remember the story used every time I speak with a patient or relative who have experience any problem with their care • A positive experience, which provided valuable insight into the implementation of the statutory duty

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Any Questions?

Contact Carolyn directly, introduce yourself and share your requirements.

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Public Courses

Meet people from other organisations on CCET's public courses. Suitable for small groups and individuals

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