Session type:


Presented by:

Laura Dalrymple

Bank of England

Session time:

17 May 11:10 11:55

Session duration:

45 minutes

About the session

Defensive Practice (DP) is a well-understood term in health and social care circles. It describes a range of behaviours enacted by professionals which are rooted in protecting them from the very real repercussions of the risky work they do (for example, going to coroners court).

However, this behaviour is often at the expense of patients, or directly in conflict with providing good patient care. It can include overly restrictive care, not providing 'genuine' care at all and prioritising the maintenance of a professional image.

From Laura’s experience of being a Mental Health Nurse and a Senior User Researcher, she has noticed a commonality and pattern of DP emerging in ambiguous or 'high-risk' environments. Which runs the risk of causing both patient and (UCD) project harm

This talk speaks to this commonality across both spaces, how we can notice DP, and how we stop this way of working getting into our practice.

Participant takeaways:

  • What Defensive Practice is
  • How you can practically challenge DP, and how can this be done subtly
  • How to get senior management buy-in and create a culture that can tolerate professional vulnerability


Cross-discipline/industry learning, Psychological safety, Agile working practices, Burnout, Though-Provoking, Practical

This session:

Includes interaction

About the speaker(s)