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Improving support for healthcare professionals experiencing adverse events: responsive and prophylactic interventions, Dr Helen Bolderston, Professor Kevin Turner and Dr Judith Johnson – Thursday 29 September 2022

By 30th September 2022August 23rd, 2023Previous Seminars


Surgery, by its very nature, is challenging work. When the experience of adverse surgical events is factored in, surgeons can experience significant negative effects on their psychological wellbeing. In this presentation Helen Bolderston and Kevin Turner will summarise the findings of a UK national survey of surgeons which provided evidence of the impact of adverse events on surgeons, especially when those events are perceived as errors by the surgeons involved. This research led to the Bournemouth University Surgeon Wellbeing Research Team convening a national, multidisciplinary working group tasked with developing good practice guidelines addressing the support of surgeons in the immediate aftermath of adverse events. The guidelines will be outlined, with specific focus on the recommendation for organisations that employ surgeons to develop ‘First Responder’ surgeon support schemes. Recent developments in relation to such First Responder schemes will be discussed.

Part 2. Preparing healthcare professionals for adverse events: Reboot coaching programme

Dr Judith Johnson


Adverse events are a common occurrence in healthcare and most healthcare professionals will be involved in a patient safety incident at some point during their career. However, many professionals report feeling unprepared for how to manage and cope with the psychological distress they may experience in response to these events. The Reboot (Recovery-boosting) Coaching Programme was developed to fill this gap. It is the first prophylactic psychological intervention designed to prepare healthcare professionals for the occurrence of adverse events. Reboot has now been evaluated in two completed studies. The first reported on Reboot when delivered via an in-person modality to multidisplinary healthcare professionals prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. The second reported on an evaluation of Reboot delivered via a remote format to Critical Care Nurses during one of the peaks of the Covid-19 pandemic. Studies are currently underway evaluating Reboot in medical students and surgeons. This talk will provide information about Reboot, describing the components of Reboot and evidence regarding its potential value to healthcare providers.


Dr Helen Bolderston

Helen Bolderston has over 30 years’ experience as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist. She was a consultant psychologist in NHS mental health services for many years before moving to an academic post at Bournemouth University. She trains and supervises clinical psychologists and psychotherapists nationally and internationally, specialising in empirically-supported mindfulness and compassion-based psychotherapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Her research focusses on three main areas:  1. Evaluating psychotherapeutic interventions, particularly mindfulness and compassion-based therapies.  2. Investigating psychological processes implicated in the development and maintenance of mental health problems. 3. Addressing psychological wellbeing, resilience, and burnout in health and educational settings. She is a member of the Bournemouth University Surgeon Wellbeing Research Team. As part of this work she took the lead for an RCT testing a resilience-enhancing training intervention for trainee surgeons and contributed to the RCS Good Practice Guide “Supporting surgeons after adverse events.”

Professor Kevin Turner

Kevin Turner was appointed as a Consultant Urological Surgeon in Bournemouth in 2007 and is a Visiting Professor at Bournemouth University. He trained in Urology in Oxford, Edinburgh and Melbourne. His clinical interests are in urological cancer, particularly resectional surgery for pelvic cancer and robotic / minimally invasive surgery. He was elected an Hunterian Professor of the Royal College of Surgeons of England whilst still a trainee, was awarded the European Association of Urology Thesis Award for his research in renal cancer, and is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Urological Surgery. In 2015 he co-founded the Bournemouth Surgeon Wellbeing Research Team with colleagues in the Department of Psychology at Bournemouth University. The aim of the team is to generate original research data concerning the psychological health of surgeons including in relation to the impact of adverse events on surgeons. The team develop and trial novel interventions designed to ameliorate the impact of adverse events and more generally, to increase surgeon resilience and wellbeing. Results of the team’s national survey have been published in the British Journal of Surgery, an RCT of the effectiveness of a resilience training intervention for surgical trainees has been completed, and in 2020 (in conjunction with RCS England) the team led the multidisciplinary panel that wrote the RCS Good Practice Guide “Supporting surgeons after adverse events.”

Dr Judith Johnson

Judith Johnson is an Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Leeds and holds adjunct roles at the Bradford Institute for Health Research, UK and the University of New South Wales, Australia. She gained a PhD from the University of Manchester and a ClinPsyD (Practitioner Doctorate) from the University of Birmingham. She is an HCPC registered Clinical Psychologist. Her research interests focus on healthcare staff wellbeing and burnout, patient safety and communication in healthcare settings. She is particularly interested in developing interventions which can support healthcare providers better in order to improve the delivery of patient care. She has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles in high-quality journals including the BMJ, International Journey of Surgery and Academic Medicine. Her work has been covered by The Guardian newspaper and BBC News and has been referred to in policy documents published by the World Health Organization, the British Medical Ultrasound Society and the Society and College of Radiographers.

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