Title of Work

Healthcare Improv to Enhance Interprofessional Communication and Patient Care

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

August 2020

Conference Location



This interactive seminar will address optimizing the interprofessional clinical learning environment, and clinical practice, through the principles of improvisational theatre. The skills utilized by improvisational actors demonstrate their ability to accept uncertainty and ambiguity. Health care providers require these same skills to effectively practice in an intrinsically unpredictable environment. Improvisational actors count on their fellow actors to expand on ideas as they create a scene on stage. They listen carefully while observing body language, paying attention not only to the words but also to the emotional context. They do all of this while focusing completely on the moment. These skills of listening, observing, and responding are also key skills utilized in clinical practice. Medical improv, an emerging field, is the adaptation of improvisational theater principles and exercises to enhance communication, teamwork, empathy, and resilience (Watson, 2011; Fu, 2018; Gao et al., 2019). This course will introduce select improvisational exercises that have a direct application to interprofessional and education collaborative practice. References: Fu, B. (2018). Common ground: Frameworks for teaching improvisational ability in medical education. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 31(3), 342-355, https://doi.org/10.1080/10401334.2018.1537880Gao, L., Peranson, J., Nyhof-Young, J., Kapoor, E., Rezmovitz, J. (2019). The role of “improv” in health professional learning: A scoping review. Medical Teacher, 41 (5), 561-568 https://doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2018.1505033Watson, K. (2011). Perspective: Serious play: Teaching medical skills with improvisational theater techniques. Academic Medicine, 86 (10), 1260-1265. https://doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e31822cf858

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