Healtheatre: Drama and Medicine in Concert

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Introduction: Clinical practice includes expressing empathy and understanding key features of humanity, such as mortality and illness. The Stanislavski “System” of actor training negotiates a journey from the unconscious via feeling, will and intellect to a proposed supertask. This study explored these areas during collaborative learning amongst undergraduate medical and drama students. Materials and Methods: Each of two interactive sessions involved teams of final year medical students rotating through challenging simulated clinical scenarios, enacted by undergraduate drama students, deploying key techniques from the Stanslavski system of actor training. Team assessment of performance was via a ratified global scoring system and dynamic debriefing techniques. Results: Medical students reported an enhanced immersive experience within simulated clinical scenarios. Drama students reported increased challenge and immersion within their roles. Medical faculty and standardised patients reported positive utility and value for the approach. Clinical team assessment scores increased by 47% (p < 0.05) with this intervention. Discussion: Qualitative and quantitative data demonstrated the merit and utility of such interdisciplinary learning. All students and faculty appreciated the value of the activity and described enhanced learning. Collaborative dynamic debriefing allowed for a continuation of the immersive experience and allowed for an exploration of arenas such as empathy. Conclusions: The deployment of drama students trained in the Stanislavski system significantly enriched medical and drama student experience and performance. Team assessment scores further demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach. Feedback from students, faculty and standardised patients was uniformly positive. The approach facilitated exploration of empathy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2017


  • drama and healthcare
  • interdisciplinary learning
  • simulation
  • Stanislavski system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Medicine(all)


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