The Case for Medical Improv: Using Theatre Techniques to Improve Patient Care

Author: Bonnie North
Submitted by: Dan Brown, Emory University School of Medicine

In a January 18, 2018 interview, Lake Effect host Bonnie North spoke to Prof. Katherine Watson, a lawyer, ethicist, and improviser about her work in medical improv. In this summary of the interview, Watson defends the need for medical improv, saying that providers “need to be trained…to not just respond to what they think is going to happen, but to respond to what is actually happening,” and expounds on how improv training helps providers think the way a doctor needs to.

Audio of the full interview is available as well. Watson goes into further detail about how providers are so trained to follow a script for a given complaint, but they need to deviate from that script to avoid pitfalls such as trying to fit the patient into a box or ignoring symptoms that don’t match their expectations. Around the 9:50 mark, North asks her about the connection to SP work.

There’s much to glean from what Watson has to say. She discusses the ineffectiveness of “rushed communication” and how improv training helps create “efficient communication.” She concludes the interview by making a powerful connection between theatre and medicine: in both fields you’re seeing stories at very significant moments in a character’s life; that there’s a reason today is the day of interest.

Read the full article and hear the interview here.

Publications Committee Mission: “To bring high quality reporting of current research, trends, techniques and information regarding SP methodology and other relevant industry articles to the attention of the membership through the web-based ASPE eNews blog.”

Please provide comments, questions or suggestions about the ASPE eNews Blog here.

Share this post:

Comments on "The Case for Medical Improv: Using Theatre Techniques to Improve Patient Care"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment