Brainstorm Invitation: Silo-Prevention Idea for Healthcare Professionals’ Education!

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BB closer Headshot 1-13 CherationsWe know that working in silos prevents patients from receiving the most optimal care from healthcare teams.  We all bring different expertise and experience to the table and it can be challenging for leaders, even collaborative ones to make sure that all voices are heard. Time limitations, more urgent priorities, poor communication skills, and toxic cultures contribute to barriers that are superimposed on top of the diversity that interdisciplinary professionals teams represent.  Optimizing communication and interpersonal skills can build relationships so that we can break down silos and truly offer more value to patients.  Sometimes this is really hard to do in the midst of constant pressures and changes that are the norm in healthcare.

Medical Improv for undergrad healthcare students of all disciplines! Click To Tweet

So why not prevent them from forming in the first place?

What I am proposing is an undergraduate course for all students pursuing careers in any healthcare profession in ‘Medical Improv’ or ‘Applied Improvisation’.   Maybe call it, “Communication and collaboration skills through medical improv”! No pre-req other than for students pursuing careers in healthcare”

Imagine a classroom with nursing, pre-med, med-tech, health education, social worker, physical, doc nurse handshakeoccupational, and speech therapy students all learning how to speak up and listen to each other, develop critical thinking and emotional intelligence and a wide range of ‘people’ or soft skills.  Not only learning these essential skills but learning them together!  Building relationships for an interdisciplinary network that will span entire careers and expand all over the world.

It could be a one-day seminar or a 4 credit semester-long course.  It could be required or an elective. Perfect size would be 24-30 although even that could be much bigger with teaching assistants.  If the school has a theatre department, they could participate.  Maybe pilot a one-day workshop for Alum?  There are all sorts of possibilities!

We sure do need to do something to better prepare our students for the real world of healthcare and ensure that they are positive change agents!

Here are two quick blogposts and one longer youtube [53 min] that help illustrate the underlying power of this playful work!

A powerful teaching moment for 1 doctor and 2 nurses

What I learned about my own assertiveness in a silly improv game:  Death in One Minute!

images Medical Improv Status Activities for Leadership, Communication, Collaboration, & Culture

 

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14 Responses to Brainstorm Invitation: Silo-Prevention Idea for Healthcare Professionals’ Education!

  1. Beth. I like the suggestion of a communication course for undergrads. It is amazing how we pay very little attention to communication, yet it makes or breaks our work environment. In the end, the best outcomes are form departments that practice the best communication skills.
    We can easily get rid of toxic work environments if we simply communicate better. Great post!

    • Beth_Boynton_RN_MS says:

      Thanks, Joyce! I so agree that effective communication CAN make a huge difference in outcomes. Paying more attention to this all along the path of a nurse’s (and other healthcare professional’s) education and career seem imperative!

  2. Beth, I love the idea of an undergraduate class with all healthcare disciplines working together before they branch out into different areas of healthcare. Nursing classes are definitely in a silo. All 2 years of my undergraduate program were with the exact same group of people. We did not ever collaborate with others throughout our time together learning.
    My hospital does have these types of classes offered with our learning and organizational group, although I find the people that come to these classes are not the ones that have issues in coordinating care amongst disciplines!
    Thanks for the idea, we should collaborate and create a webinar to share!! Thanks for hosting.
    `Kelly

  3. Carley says:

    Hi Beth!

    This is a really innovative idea! It would be great to implement in a class setting.

    There is actually a “customer satisfaction” class offered at the hospital i work at. The class is almost exactly what you describe. If only this type of class could be implemented earlier instead of later on in the work setting.

    • Beth_Boynton_RN_MS says:

      Hi Carly, Thanks for your feedback and insight. Can you envision it being part of everyone’s training with mixed groups from throughout the facility. Then add it to orientation using volunteers from the facility to co-teach. Then monthly or quarterly gatherings for those who have so much fun they can’t resist, or to boost specific communication and collaboration skills. The sky’s the limit! I can see hospitals forming little improv troupes and even fundraising. Building community and the new lingo, “A culture of health!”

  4. Hi Beth,
    Your innovative strategies to improve patient safety, patient outcomes and interdisciplinary communication is inspiring and thought-provoking. Each time I read your articles related to the topic of Medical Improv I am more intriqued about it. Some universities are implementing “collaboratories” as labs focusing on improving interprofessional collaboration. This would be a fun strategy to implement within a collaboratory!

    • Beth_Boynton_RN_MS says:

      Thanks for your feedback and ideas, Rachel. You are right on! Med sim is a natural fit for growing med improv and could be very valuable in hospitals and schools that don’t have sophisticated med sim programs. I’m working on a podcast for NAIMP.org that is a sequel to one I did introducing the concept. This one is fun to work on, although tricky, b/c the focus will be on using improv status activities for leadership, communication, collaboration, and workplace cultures! Stay tuned! We’ll talk about how we can (and do) use high/low status to help or hinder any of these things!

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  6. Donna Carol Maheady says:

    Beth,
    You know how much I love your work and vision for using medical improv to teach health care students. I see many opportunities to implement in “on the ground classrooms”. I teach online courses. Any ideas on how medical improv could be offered in an online course?

    • Beth_Boynton_RN_MS says:

      How about a phone conversation/skype to brainstorm sometime, Donna. I do think there are some creative opportunities as well as some learning limitations :). I’m all for maximizing the ops and open to ideas. I’m currently working on a 2nd webinar/podcast for NAIMP.org. In the first one I discussed the principles of med improv and their value in HC. This next one is a sequel where I’ll be using some ‘status’ activities to improv leadership, communication, collaboration, and culture. Shirley Cress Dudley, Founder of NAIMP will help demo a couple of things…I would love to hear your ideas and brainstorm. What is your schedule like and where are you? I’m on the East coast in Portsmouth, NH and tues and thurs are often flexible days. And I can come up with lots of other ops….thanks for reading and feedback too, btw. Here’s the initial one: http://nationalassociationofindependentmedicalpractices.org/medical-improv/

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What are your thoughts?