What is Health Action Training?

Health Action Training uses techniques drawn from actor training and applied drama to teach improved person-centred communication for health professionals.

HAT offers a fresh and up-to-date approach to communication training. It is based on evidence-based research and proven practical techniques. Designed for health professionals, HAT can improve communication and resilience for any teams, in any context.

Our Mission

Our mission is to help people to connect with themselves and each other, as individuals and communities, supporting a global network committed to an ethics of care and meeting the needs of all people everywhere. We do that by teaching skills of attention, collaboration, and respect, building on the relationships, courage and compassion that make us human and help us grow.

Our Method

HAT delivers programmes that use techniques drawn from actor training, applied drama and puppetry to teach how to improve interpersonal communication skills in challenging situations.

The approach employs active learning methods in the form of:

  • Immersive simulation and workshops that involve patient and public involvement
  • Improv games, role play, video play-back, to enhance learners’ understanding of attention, objectives, and intentional action
  • Supported reflection and accurate assessment for feedback and feed forward to enhance continuous professional development
  • Support and development for those who wish to become HAT trainers via train the trainer philosophy

HAT workshops with health professionals can develop and support:

  • Interprofessional Working
  • Quality Improvement on Care Outcomes
  • Accurate assessment and feedback
  • Immersive Simulation Training
  • Relationships with patients and family members
  • Confidence and self-esteem
  • Team Dynamics
  • Non-verbal Communication
  • Practitioner resilience
  • Creative Problem-Solving
  • Reflective practice
  • Health Communication
  • Cross-cultural Understanding
  • Language Acquisition

Who We Are

HAT was created by CEO Pat Deeny and Dr Matt Jennings.

Pat Deeny is a Senior Fellow of the United Kingdom Higher Education Academy and an experienced External Examiner for the Higher Education Sector. He has over 30 years of experience as a nurse, nurse educator, and nursing consultant with a wealth of expertise in curriculum development and educational programme management. He has extensive experience in simulation practice, including in healthcare, disaster response, and community resilience.

Dr Matt Jennings is Lecturer in Drama at Ulster University. Originally from Sydney, Matt has worked as a performer and teacher in Australia, Ireland, the UK, Italy, France, Netherlands, Morocco, and South Africa. Based in Northern Ireland since 2001, he has worked extensively in the field of arts education, community arts and applied drama. In 2010, Matt completed a PhD on the impact of community drama as an aspect of conflict transformation in Northern Ireland. Since 2008, he has been providing training in communication skills for health professionals, using applied drama techniques.
Since 2013, Pat and Matt have been collaborating to develop and deliver the Health Action Training methodology, to teach improved communication skills for Nursing students at Ulster University, as part of their preparation for healthcare simulation and role play assessment.