Shifting to Collaborative Behaviors with Help From Medical Improv-The Innovative Bridge to Positive Patient Experience, Safe Care, & Rewarding Work

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Because the principles of Improv create opportunities for individuals and groups to develop emotional intelligence, communication, and collaboration skills, there is a vast potential to positively impact:

  • Safety
  • Patient experience
  • Career satisfaction
  • Cost of care

The social worker who reminds the unit coordinator that the computer system is going to be down during the evening shift.


The receptionist who tells her peers she does not want to talk about others behind their back.

The nurse leader who negotiates budget allocations for delegation skill training for her staff  and a part-time nurse assistant during the busiest times 

The surgeon who tells the OR team he expects each of them to watch for and report problems. 

The housekeeper who shares her concern with the clinical team that a post-op patient’s fear of falling is the reason she has refused to walk with the physical therapist.

The nurse assistant who went in and held a patient’s hand in the middle of the night when she sensed the patient was anxious.

All are examples of elusive and emergent behaviors that contribute to quality of care that patients are demanding, professionals want to provide, and organizations must offer in the most cost-effective ways possible.    Like a basketball team, they involve all sorts of individual and group actions that, in addition to professional knowledge and expertise, are necessary for optimal outcomes.

In order to practice improv, you must speak up, listen, cooperate, be flexible, think on your feet, lead, follow, trust, respect, show ownership, and learn from mistakes.   These are the very same areas of breakdown that predominate the sentinel event data from The Joint Commission with respect to leading root cause categories, namely Leadership, Human Factors, and Communication.

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OD Consultant and Author, Beth Boynton has been trained in the Professor Watson Medical Improv Curriculum at the Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern University.

Please contact or 603-205-3509 To learn more about how a program can be adapted to your healthcare team, students, or organization.

Learn More

Testimonials from “Improv for Healthcare Professionals” pilot workshop with Beth Boynton, RN, MS

Medical Improv Media Programs



“Perspective: Serious Play: Teaching Medical Skills With Improvisational Theater Techniques”,  Professor Katie Watson, JD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Academic Medicine, Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, October 2011 – Volume 86 – Issue 10 – pp 1260-1265

“Improvisational Exercises to Improve Pharmacy Students’ Professionals Communication Skills”,  Kevin P. Boesen, PharmD, Richard N. Herrier, PharmD, David A. Apgar, PharmD and Rebekah M. Jackowski, PharmD, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education,  April 2009.

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