Increase capacity of frontline staff to manage anxious or demanding patients during the COVID-19 and influenza vaccine rollouts

This is a More Involved QI – includes free access to Medicoach

Rolling out COVID-19 and influenza vaccines in the first half of 2021 is a challenge and may understandably cause increased stress and anxiety in general practice. Health professionals will have to manage a range of reactions from their patients, including defensiveness, anger and fear.

There are three key strategies for increasing the capacity of frontline staff to manage anxious or demanding patients during this time:

  1. Equipping staff with accurate, accessible supporting information.
  2. Maintaining strong communication skills.
  3. Engaging in active self-care to maintain a sense of wellbeing (self-care is not selfish or weak, it is essential for safe, high-quality patient care).

Increase or maintain the capacity of frontline staff to manage anxious or demanding patients during the COVID-19 and influenza vaccination rollouts.


75% of frontline staff report increase capacity to manage anxious or demanding patients. See sample survey as an example measure.

Starting point


Communication Skill:


Possible improvement ideas
  • Use meeting time to construct a unified organisational response to challenging patients that is agreed and understood by all team members, including:
    • zero tolerance to abuse and swearing.
    • roles and responsibilities for debriefing and supporting staff who experience abuse.
    • who reception staff can refer patients to, to provide reassurance on vaccine safety.
  • Use mock scenario sessions to practice dealing with challenging patients and exercise compassionate communication skills.
  • Brainstorm ways the team can support each other to engage in self-care and maintain wellbeing.
  • Survey staff monthly and check in confidentially with staff reporting low capacity to manage anxious and demanding patients.
  • Access a free Medicoach training course (contact your Primary Health Coordinator or Aboriginal Health Coordinator for the coupon code and access instructions):
    • Compassionate Communication (90 mins)
    • Leveraging Your Team (90 mins)
    • Strength to Strength (90 mins)
Assistance is available

Healthy North Coast has contracted Kim Poyner of Medicoach to provide you with short term assistance on this improvement. Consultations with Kim are specific and unique to your practice and come with practical tools and advice. To access Kim please contact your Primary Health Coordinator or use this form.

Let us know your progress on this activity

Coordinator Contacts

Our organisation highly values our front-line partners in general practice, allied health, the Local Health Districts, as well as the wider health, mental health, and social service sectors.

The first point of contact for partner organisations and professionals seeking to improve joint health outcomes in the North Coast is the regional Primary Care Coordinators listed below.

Aboriginal health is a key priority for our organisation. We are committed to improving health outcomes and equitable outcomes across our region.

We have a dedicated Aboriginal Health Team to ensure Aboriginal health priorities across the North Coast are led by and identified in consultation with the Aboriginal Community Controlled sector (ACCS), Aboriginal people and communities.

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