Healthcare Improv to Enhance Interprofessional Communication and Patient Care

Thursday, August 13, 2020, 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm EDT
interprofessional clinical learning environmentscontinuum - students and residentsclinicians

This interactive seminar will address optimizing the interprofessional clinical learning environment, and clinical practice, through the principles of improvisational theatre. The skills utilized by improvisational actors demonstrate their ability to accept uncertainty and ambiguity. Health care providers require these same skills to effectively practice in an intrinsically unpredictable environment. Improvisational actors count on their fellow actors to expand on ideas as they create a scene on stage. They listen carefully while observing body language, paying attention not only to the words but also to the emotional context. They do all of this while focusing completely on the moment. These skills of listening, observing, and responding are also key skills utilized in clinical practice. Medical improv, an emerging field, is the adaptation of improvisational theater principles and exercises to enhance communication, teamwork, empathy, and resilience (Watson, 2011; Fu, 2018; Gao et al., 2019). This course will introduce select improvisational exercises that have a direct application to interprofessional and education collaborative practice.


During this workshop, participants will:

1. gain an understanding of the key “rules” of improv and how they relate to effective communication.

2. participate in/observe select improvisational exercises that reinforce skills required for effective communication and teamwork.

3. discuss how improvisational techniques can be used to improve communication with patients, families, and other health care providers.

This seminar will use active learning strategies of improvisational exercises and group debriefs.



Fu, B. (2018). Common ground: Frameworks for teaching improvisational ability in medical education. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 31(3), 342-355,

Gao, L., Peranson, J., Nyhof-Young, J., Kapoor, E., Rezmovitz, J. (2019). The role of “improv” in health professional learning: A scoping review. Medical Teacher, 41 (5), 561-568 https://doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2018.1505033

Watson, K. (2011). Perspective: Serious play: Teaching medical skills with improvisational theater techniques. Academic Medicine, 86 (10), 1260-1265. https://doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e31822cf858


Contact the presenter team:

Teresa Lyons Hegdahl

MarySue Ingman PT, DSc

Katie Molitor, MA, RN, CHSE®  

Linda Blazovich DNP RN CNE CHSE


Renee Broughten, DC, PhD



Accreditation Details

In support of improving patient care, this activity is planned and implemented by The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

As a Jointly Accredited Provider, the National Center is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. The National Center maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive continuing education credits.

This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change.

  • Physicians: This activity will be designated for CME AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM through ACCME.
  • Physician Assistants: NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.
  • Nurses: This activity will be designated for CNE nursing contact hours through ANCC.
  • Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians: This activity will be designated for CPE contact hours (CEUs) through ACPE.
  • Social Workers: This activity will be designated for social work continuing education credits through ASWB.
  • All health professionals: This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change.