Improv Workshops

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BB closer Headshot 1-13 CherationsImprov for Healthcare Professionals!


What are the benefits?

In addition to laughing,  having fun, and supporting each other, Improv for Healthcare Professionals’  workshops will develop skills and capacities that contribute to individual, team, and organizational health!

  • Trust
  • Listening
  • Speaking up
  • Confidence
  • Curiosity
  • Risk-taking
  • Limit-setting
  • Self-knowledge
  • Patience
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Self-care

We know these are critical for positive patient experience, safe care, and career satisfaction.

What’s it like?

Mostly fun activities in a small group. Some examples are Mr. Know-it-All, (or Ms., Mrs. Miss Know-it-all!) :), Mirroring, One-word Story and Overload. We do a little brainstorming about communication and collaboration in healthcare and see how we can apply learning related skills to these fun games! I like to leave a few minutes for private reflection.  Some work (or play), is in pairs, or triads, and some is with the whole group.  Some of the warm-up activities you’ve done in conferences are very similar.  In my workshop on Interruptions, we did an activity called Overload.  You can get a good idea of that by watching this youtube video!  (This wasn’t an Improv workshop, but I used an Improv activity as a teaching/learning tool!)

Improv varies a lot with teaching styles.  Improv for Healthcare Professionals is different than the typical stuff you see on TV or in theatres because instead of focusing on performing we focus on process.  For instance, Mr. Know-it-All (or Ms., Mrs. Miss Know-it-all!) can be done by a group of Actors specializing in Improvisation and be extremely funny and entertaining.  In our classes we will focus skills such as listening, speaking up, being present and flexible.  It can still be extremely funny, but there is no pressure to perform.  And even the audience gets to learn and practice the art of asking open-ended questions!

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What if I’m nervous?

Everyone is nervous in new situations, but in improv there is no “wrong” response and once most people get involved in the fun activities of the workshop, their nervousness is replaced with a sense of fun and joy in succeeding at something new.

Does Improv have to be funny?

No.  That is a common misconception.

Will there be an audience?

No. Just the group.

What size is the group?

6-20 or so.

Do I have to prepare?

No!  (no power points either! 🙂 )

How did you get interested in teaching Improv?

I’ve been taking Improv classes for years for fun and to develop my professional skills.  While working on my Masters in Organization & Management, I combined my interests to develop a model that used activities from Improv to build emotional intelligence in children. Following graduate school, I began to focus on teaching and researching communication and collaboration in health care.  This has led me to developing interactive workshops that included some improv activities for warming up and reinforcing learning.  In the spring of 2011 I presented an activity called “Overload” at NYU Forum on Public Health which eventually resulted in a workshop and youtube about “Interruption Awareness”.  In May of 2013 I launched my first “Improv for Healthcare Professionals” and the following June I attended the first ever ‘Train the Trainer’ for “Medical Improv” at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.  In June of 2013, I attended the first ever Train the Trainer Conference at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.  It was the most incredible professional experience I have ever had.

What inspires you to do these workshops?

Well, I have been a practicing RN for over 25 years!  We need fun ways to develop and practice these important skills.  If you are a healthcare professional, you know our work is relentlessly stressful physically, emotionally, and intellectually.  You also know about medical error stats, workplace violence, and burnout!  It is all related.  Nurses and other healthcare professionals need opportunities to develop emotional intelligence AND have fun together!

Can I get CEUs or Contact Hours?

Contact hours, yes.  I provide a paper certificate w/ date, # hours of workshop, and learning objectives consistent w/ CEU criteria.   I will also be happy to work with organizations in applying for CEU approval.

What should I wear?

Comfortable clothes.

Will you travel to our hospital or organization?


Can you suggest some resources for learning more?

Professor Katie Watson, JD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s article, “Perspective: Serious Play: Teaching Medical Skills With Improvisational Theater Techniques”, 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.

What other workshops do you offer?

Everything I do is interactive and focuses on building communication and collaboration skills.  These are critical for safe, quality care and rewarding careers.  Here’s a list of workshops and I’m happy to customize them.

  • Leadership’s Role in Re-establishing, Maintaining & Promoting Professionalism in Nursing
  • Assertiveness Training
  • Practicing the Art of Giving Constructive Feedback
  • Practicing the Art of Receiving Constructive Feedback
  • Nurse Leaders as Change Agents
  • Inspiring the NURSE Within YOU!
  • Interruption Awareness:  A Nursing Minute for Patient Safety

Beth is trained in the Professor Watson Medical Improv Curriculum at Northwestern University

Feinberg School of Medicine

Contact or 603-205-3509 to learn more about “Medical Improv”


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