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ANZAHPE ONLINE: Masterclass - How do I... embed care into the curriculum of the caring professions

  • 19 Oct 2023
  • 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM (AEDT)
  • Zoom (link TBA via email)


Registration is closed


How do I... embed care into the curriculum of the caring professions

Presenter: Associate Professor Conor Gilligan

Compassion = empathy + action

Compassion, empathy, and kindness are at the core of health professions but these are complex, intertwined constructs which are not always explicit in our curricula. While empathy is often what we ‘look for’ in our learners, there is, conjecture as to the way empathy is defined and measured, with some tension between the concept of it as being about the individual’s underlying relatedness and personal qualities, versus the performance of empathy or ability to respond appropriately in emotional situations. Empathy is often conflated with communication, as well as with compassion, but there are important differences in these concepts and their operationalisation as skills in clinical practice.

It is perhaps more appropriate to address and measure the observable skills and behaviours associated with compassion. The ultimate goal for curricula should be to have these skills and behaviours embedded at all levels; in learning objectives, through learning activities, in assessment, and importantly in faculty development and organisational structures.

Come along to work through some of the challenges together. We will use authentic examples to consider how compassion and empathy (care) can be more formally integrated into curricula beyond the teaching of direct healthcare provider-patient communication.


Conor Gilligan co-leads the Discipline of Health Behaviour Science at the University of Newcastle and manages the interactional skills curriculum in the 5-year Joint Medical Program. Conor is passionate about communication skills teaching to guide students to become patient-centred, empathetic practitioners. Conor’s research also explores the teaching and assessment of communication skills among students and clinicians, as well as professional identity formation and professionalism in medical education.

Sarah White is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Social Impact at the UNSW Business School. Sarah is a conversation analyst and qualitative health researcher and has worked in clinical communication and safety and quality research, teaching, and policy for over 15 years. Sarah leads an innovative program of research with an aim to improve communication between clinicians and patients with a particular focus on analysis of recorded consultations. Sarah has published and presented on a variety of topics for both communication and clinical audiences. Sarah has experience in teaching across the breadth of higher and continuing education, particularly with healthcare students and providers. Sarah’s accomplishments and reflective approach to learning and teaching were recognised through being awarded Senior Fellow of Advance HE (SFHEA) in 2019 and an Australian Award for University Teaching Citation in 2022. Sarah is also the Deputy National Representative of the International Association for Communication in Healthcare, having previously served as National representative and Deputy National Representative across previous terms as well as Social Media Officer and member of the Policy and Practice subcommittee.

Charley Greentree is an emergency physician who is the clinical director of education for Retrieval Services Queensland, works clinically at Redcliffe hospital and St Vincent’s Toowoomba and is a Telehealth consultant for emergency departments across rural and remote Queensland. She is passionate for the integration of compassion and kindness into curricula and practice. This includes faculty development, exploring and describing methodology of teaching, evaluation and assessment to support the learning and practice of all health professionals at all levels of learning and training.

Venkat Reddy is a course coordinator for Year 2 Clinical Practice in the University of Queensland postgraduate MD program. The course includes clinical communication skills and bedside clinical coaching, among other learning activities. Venkat has run workshops for Year 1 UQ MD students on “The heart of medicine: Compassion in our professional lives” and is passionate about the teacing and learning of compassion skills in MD programs.

recording of this session will be made available to all registrants following the session.


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