The Affordable Care Act calls on us to collaborate with other health professionals and communicate effectively with the patients/clients we serve. Yet how do we begin that process? Whether you’re a wellness coordinator, physician, educator, public health director, researcher……we’ve all been taught to be self-sufficient and operate within our silos. We function under the illusion of control, yet we’re constantly told to change, adapt, and improvise. The “soft skills” of deep listening, cooperation, observation, adaptability, speaking up, empathy, etc. are rarely practiced and encouraged. That’s why learning and applying the principles of Improv is so appropriate for everyone’s health today!
Since my colleagues and I began presenting “Medical Improv” workshops, I’ve observed corporate cultures shift in a positive, healthful way, and organizational teams begin to engage in more skillful communication. Participants are challenged in ways they never imagined fun, collaborative exercises could offer them. Applied Improv is not about comedy, yet there’s certainly a lot of shared laughter!
Here are a few Improvisational Theater exercise principles:
- “Yes, and”…(to affirm and add, rather than negate)
- To see “failure” as opportunity (to learn, be human, forgive, help)
- To be “present” for others with mindful listening
- Avoid asking questions; affirm and grow your team’s ideas
I’ll be presenting a breakout session, “Improvisational Theater Tools (“Serious Play”) to Strengthen Communication and Collaboration” at the National Wellness Conference, June 13-18 in Minneapolis, MN. The entire week is sure to be a fabulous learning experience!
Stephanie Frederick, M.Ed., RN is passionate about healthy staff and organizational culture that supports safe, quality patient care. She attended the first Medical Improv “Train the Trainer” Intensive taught by Katie Watson, JD at Chicago’s Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. See more about Stephanie’s work at www.improvtoimprovehealthcare.com and ask to connect with her on LinkedIn.