Compassion training for healthcare workers - PDM1150

Compassion is known to benefit the patient but research now shows that compassion is a positive state of mind, increasing the wellbeing of the giver and protecting against burnout. Although well intentioned, empathy can accidentally turn into empathic distress for the worker. Understanding the difference between compassion and empathy is essential for healthcare worker resilience.

This 4 week online self paced course covers approximately 3 hours of content per week including a live Q & A Event with the course facilitators on Wednesday 30th November 6pm AEDT.

In this course, designed by Dr Debbie Ling, Professor Craig Hassed and Dr Richard Chambers from Monash University, you will learn strategies to enhance compassion, avoid empathic distress, improve your own wellbeing and create more caring and compassionate workplaces.

Who should attend?

Healthcare professionals and anyone working in community and social service roles.

Last date for course registration is 16th November 2022.
(Note: Course team will only be present for the course duration until Sunday 4 December.
Participants have full access to all course material until Sunday 1st January 2023).



$240 fee for:

  • Monash Staff
  • Monash Alumni
  • Monash Students

Group discounts for organisations
  • 10% discount off normal rate for 5+ staff members
  • 20% discount off normal rate for 10+ staff members
  • 25% discount off normal rate for 50-200 staff members
  • 30% discount off normal rate for 200+ staff members

Contact to organise a group discount.

Learning objectives

  1. Increase understanding of compassion, how to support it and the science that underpins it.
  2. Learn how to transform empathy into compassion to avoid accidentally going into empathic distress.
  3. Strategies for managing when compassion is challenging.
  4. Recognise and enhance the five moments of compassion.
  5. Strengthen the perception of common humanity to help cultivate compassion for anyone.
  6. Develop routines to sustain compassion in day-to-day work for increased wellbeing, improved patient care and greater job satisfaction.

Course testimonials

"I am the first to admit I was sceptical about the course content and theme. I've come from a background of being told to 'pull yourself together and just get on with things'. But I can honestly say that this has turned me into wanting to learn more about humanity and our interactions with each other and how we all are interconnected. Seeing how relaxed and happy the educators are in their work and how passionately they feel about incorporating compassion into our daily lives has truly touched and inspired me to be better."

"A long overdue addition to the professional development of health workers. This course takes you on a tour of compassion that will deepen your self-awareness, improve your helping skills and support your everyday work and life. The teaching team are clearly passionate experts in this field and share much wisdom. So glad I took part."

Learn more. Be more.

Course structure

Week 1 Introducing compassion

  • What is compassion and why does it matter
  • The science of compassion
  • Transforming empathy into compassion
  • Practice staying out of empathic distress

Week 2 Barriers to compassion

  • Compassion can be easily disrupted
  • Explore reasons for not getting to compassion
  • Mindfulness in healthcare
  • Caring for self, caring for others

Week 3 Common humanity

  • The importance of common humanity
  • The five moments of compassion
  • Forgiveness, gratitude and social connections
  • Creating compassionate workplaces

Week 4 Sustaining compassion

  • Compassion in our daily lives
  • Tips to help sustain compassion
  • Values, ethics and intention
  • Course summary

Frequently asked questions

What does the course involve?

Course includes videos, articles, practical exercises, resources, online discussion forum, weekly feedback videos and a live Q & A event with the course facilitators on Wednesday 30th November 6pm AEDT.

Is there any compulsory assessment in this course?

No. There is no compulsory assessment in this course.

Is there an opportunity to interact with the course facilitators?

Yes. Dr Debbie Ling moderates the forum discussions throughout the course. There is also a live 1 hour Q and A event with Dr Debbie Ling and Professor Craig Hassed.

How much time does the course take each week?

The course covers approximately 3 hours of content per week. This can be more or less depending on the time you choose to spend exploring additional resources, exercises and engaging in discussion with other participants.

I don't have 3 hours per week available, can I still do the course and benefit?

Yes. The key learnings are summarised in brief downloadable PDFs, the videos have downloadable transcripts and many of the resources are downloadable so that you can keep the learnings and practice applying them in your own time.

Is the entire course viewable when the course commences?


Do I receive a certificate at the end of the course?

Yes, after completion of an end of course survey.

What if I can’t attend the live Q and A zoom?

It will be recorded and uploaded.

How long do I get access to the course content?

You will have access to the course content for an extra 4 weeks after the course closes (course material viewable up to Sunday 1 January 2023). Please note that the course team will only be present for the course duration (up till Sunday 4 December 2022).

Is this course being run at other times in 2023?

The course will be running 4 times in 2023, dates to be advised.

Our organisation would like to have a dedicated run of the course for a large number of our staff only, is this possible?

Yes, please email to discuss.

Key faculty and presenters

Dr Debbie Ling

Dr Debbie Ling is a compassion and common humanity researcher, Lecturer in the Department of Social Work at Monash University and key contributor to the Monash Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies. Debbie’s research focuses on compassion, common humanity and prosocial behaviour.

Professor Craig Hassed

Professor Craig Hassed OAM is a doctor and the education director of the Monash Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies and coordinator of mindfulness programs across Monash University. Craig also works in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.

Dr Richard Chambers

Dr Richard Chambers is a clinical psychologist and internationally recognised expert in mindfulness. Richard is a key contributor to the Monash Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies.

Terms and conditions