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NI company showcase their revolutionary model of communications and leadership training to London audience in support of a global network of nurses
1st March 2024
Image 6 Dr Karl Tizzard Kleister HAT Co Founder welcomes video contributions from HAT Students from around the world scaled e1710370664254

Dr Karl Tizzard Kleister, HAT Co Founder welcomes video contributions from HAT Students from around the world

Northern Ireland based communications training agency ‘Health Action Training’ (HAT) have today taken their revolutionary approach to communications and leadership training to London, welcoming guests to a celebratory Showcase event at The Royal College of Nursing headquarters.

Welcoming delegates from across the health sector and beyond, today’s event was a celebration of the work undertaken to date by the organisation in partnership with The Nursing Now Challenge Network, The Burdett Trust for Nursing and The Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT), which has seen nurses from over 70 locations globally benefit from this unique model of training.

Founded in Derry/ Londonderry by renowned Nursing Educator Pat Deeny and Dr Karl Tizzard-Kleister who holds the world’s first PhD jointly held between Drama and Nursing, HAT was originally established to help address some of the daily challenges in the UK health sector.

Responding to well publicised nursing sector crises locally, to the needs of those working in areas of conflict and addressing post-pandemic burn out, HAT’s revolutionary approach utilises applied drama techniques through interactive workshops, improvisation and role play. The training programmes seek to address common challenges in the workplace, delivering evidence-based training which helps nurses to know their own strengths and capabilities, to manage and reduce stress, cope with crises, build resilience and lead with confidence in challenging situations.

Speaking at today’s London Showcase, HAT CEO and Co Founder Pat Deeny commented:


 “At the core of our work is a drive to celebrate and support the incredible contribution that Nurses make to the global societ

We understand first hand the many challenges that nurses face across the globe, from challenges connected to pay and workforce availability, to the difficult conditions faced by many nurses working in areas of crisis, conflict and economic deprivation.

Building strong communications skills is vital to an effective nursing workforce and at HAT, we aim to support each individual nurse so in turn they can confidently support patients and families in times of need.

At HAT, we advocate for early support for nurses, culture change, and training that can act as preventatives to outcomes such as burn out and working in crisis environments. Our current goal is to expand our network and partnerships and in doing so, broaden access to this vital training for those nurses in the UK, Ireland and globally who need and deserve support. ”

 Working collaboratively to grow the availability of HAT training, The Burdett Trust for Nursing is a key collaborating partner, delivering support through the Nursing Now Network.

Speaking at today’s event, Dame Beasley commented:

Image 2 Former UK Chief Nursing Officer and Burdett Trust Trustee Dame Christine Beasley offically opens the Health Action Training 2024 London Showcase at the Royal College of Nursing scaled e1709808382224

Former UK Chief Nursing Officer and Burdett Trust Trustee Dame Christine Beasley offically opens the Health Action Training 2024 London Showcase at the Royal College of Nursing

“I have had the pleasure of seeing this project from its beginnings to where it is now and have been highly impressed by the growth and outcomes of Health Action Training’s work, both with the Western Trust in Northern Ireland, and with the Nursing Now Challenge globally.

At Burdett we are delighted to work in collaboration with HAT as they strive to make a real difference to Healthcare professionals and in support of the vital work which they do, day in day out, in often challenging circumstances. At today’s showcase, we witnessed the outcomes of that work first-hand and saw the positive contribution which HAT’s model of training is making.

My hope is that more approaches, like that of Health Action Training are taken up to support nurses in meaningful ways in the future.”

HAT’s bespoke approach to communications training has already secured contracts to support nursing professionals in over 40 countries across the world, including the UK and stretching as far as the Côte D’Ivoire, Trinidad and Tobago, Nigeria, Lebanon, Palestine and the Maldives. The training is actively addressing some of the most challenging issues in the modern workplace and showcasing globally the rich skill set of Northern Ireland.

Asma Al-Sowi, an Advanced Specialist Nurse based in Jordan, is one of hundreds of nurses who have undertaken a HAT training course to date. Speaking about the benefits of the course, Asma said:


“The non-traditional methods used in this training are extremely useful in both nursing practice and daily life. Taking this course has helped me to not only improve the way I communicate but also the way in which I understand others. I’m already applying the techniques I’ve learnt in my job and passionately promoting the benefits of HAT to colleagues.”

Asma’s experience is supported by a recent evaluation undertaken by the organisation following a 2022 training programme delivered for the Nursing and Midwifery teams at WHSCT. 95% of participants strongly agree that HAT courses provide a positive learning experience, highlighting benefits such as a reduction in staff anxiety, improvements in staff understanding and better understanding of the practice of person-centred care. Moreover, HAT’s evaluation showed an average increase in participants’ resilience of 18.9% (CD-RISC: Connor & Davidson, 2003), and an average increase in person-centred practice scores of 11.5%(PCPI-S: Slater et al, 2017).

Reaching out beyond the public health sector, HAT today also announced a plan to embark on a strategy of growth in 2024. Bringing their communications through applied drama training to the private sector, HAT cross sector training will focus on building self awareness and resilience in a post pandemic environment, where the physical and virtual workplace and hybrid working models have created new communication challenges for individuals and teams.

This growth strategy will be underpinned by a Corporate Social Responsibility Programme, where businesses outside of health who engage in the programmes will have the opportunity to sponsor one nurse for every employee who partakes, allowing the businesses to support nurses in crisis across the globe.

HAT Co Founder and Head of Research Dr Karl Tizzard-Kleister explained;

Image 5 Health Action Training Co Founder Dr Karl Tizzard Klesiter explains the approach behind HATs revolutionary approach to Communications Training at the 2024 London Showcase scaled

Health Action Training Co Founder Dr Karl Tizzard-Klesiter explains the approach behind HAT’s revolutionary approach to Communications Training at the 2024 London Showcase

“Our main area of work at HAT is healthcare training and it is no secret that healthcare faces huge challenges, with many people working in crisis situations on a day-to-day basis. We all want healthcare systems that work, and workers that can flourish and care for us to the best of their abilities.
As part of our ethos at HAT, we are always seeking ways to support healthcare workers in crisis, and when we work with corporate clients we ask them to join us in that endeavour. When you hire us to train you and your teams, we ask you to also match fund us to deliver training for healthcare workers currently experiencing crisis.

We are resolute in the task of making a difference in the lives of those who chose to care for others, those who save our lives every day. When you decide to work with us, we ask you to join us in that.”

For more information on Health Action Training go to or email


For media enquiries, contact:

Claire Moles, Marketing & Communications Consultant (

Karl Tizzard-Kleister, HAT Director (

Hannah Finch, Director of External Relations, Nursing Now Challenge (hannah.finch@nursingnow.globa

Notes to Editors

About Health Action Training

  • Health Action Training is a communications training agency, headquartered in Northern Ireland, working both locally and globally in the promotion of quality communication skills and resilience for professionals in health and corporate sectors, advocating for improved outcomes for all.
  • HAT’s network of trainers incorporates internationally recognised experts in Healthcare and Health Education, working collaboratively with experts in Applied Drama and Arts Education.
  • Built on over 11 years of research and practice, HAT’s unique training approach is based on academically sound concepts and proven practical techniques.
  • Programmes are delivered online or in person and can be tailored to support professionals in the health sector and beyond.
  • Using a revolutionary approach to communications training, HAT employs applied drama techniques to deliver immersive simulation for course participants. Applied drama techniques include interactive workshops, improvisation and role play. They also train through a unique combination of techniques drawn from actor training and puppetry.


Pat Deeny
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 40 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 Karl Tizzard-Kleister 
Dr Karl Tizzard-Kleister is a writer, performer, facilitator, and researcher. Karl completed an innovative interdisciplinary PhD in Nursing and Drama in 2022. His PhD has helped to lay foundations for the field of Drama and Nursing in a unique and exciting way. He has published across drama and nursing disciplines, and has presented and performed at events from both disciplines for the last five years. Karl also has a master’s in theatre and has worked professionally as a performer, writer, and director. As a co-founder and director of HAT, Karl delivers training, leads on quality improvement, and engages in research and evaluation.

About The Burdett Trust for Nursing

The Burdett Trust for Nursing was established in 2002 with the aim of making charitable grants to support the nursing contribution to healthcare. The Trustees target their grants at projects that are nurse-led and that empower nurses to make significant improvements to the patient care environment. The Trustees regularly review their grant-making policies and procedures to ensure that their grants achieve positive outcomes for patients, nursing and healthcare practice.


Nursing Now Challenge

The Nursing Now Challenge began in June 2021 to build on the global movement to empower nurses and midwives as leaders, practitioners, and health advocates. A large and varied range of online debates, collaborative studies, innovative training, and engaging projects are available to empower nurses to lead their development and make global connections with guidance and support.

The organisation’s purpose is to raise the profile, power, and potential of student and early-career nurses and midwives globally by: