General Interest: Med Students Learn Empathy Through Improv

By: Helen Wilbers
Submitted By: Michael Maury, UC-San Diego

Gina Shannon, associate director at the Emory University School of Medicine’s Clinical Skills Center and ASPE member, spoke at Westminster College’s Hancock Symposium on Tuesday, September 11th, 2018, about the purpose of simulated patients in Medical Education. As Wilbers lays out in this article, Shannon points out the importance of using SPs “to teach doctors to empathize and communicate with patients.” Wilbers writes that Shannon contemplated, "If a health care provider is with a patient and they aren't in agreement, where can that relationship go?" Wilber discusses how Shannon relies on her 7 years of theatre teaching and applying the rules of improv to the clinical setting. With an emphasis on the important improv tenet of ‘yes-and’ Shannon successfully guides doctors toward an acceptance and mutual agreement of what is being laid out by a patient. Shannon says, "If we're in a scene together the only way we can elevate the scene and keep it going is by agreeing."

Read the full article in The Fulton Sun here.

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