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Grace Under Pressure: a drama-based approach to tackling mistreatment of medical students
  1. Karen M Scott1,
  2. Špela Berlec2,3,
  3. Louise Nash4,5,
  4. Claire Hooker2,
  5. Paul Dwyer6,
  6. Paul Macneill2,
  7. Jo River7,
  8. Kimberley Ivory8
  1. 1Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Centre for Values, Ethics and Law in Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Indigenous Business Australia and Ernst & Young, Sydney, New South Wales,, Australia
  4. 4Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  5. 5Health Education and Training Institute of NSW Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  6. 6Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  7. 7Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  8. 8School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Karen M Scott, Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, The Children's Hospital at Westmead Clincial School, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia; karen.scott{at}health.nsw.gov.au

Abstract

A positive and respectful learning environment is fundamental to the development of professional identities in healthcare. Yet medical students report poor behaviour from healthcare professionals that contradict professionalism teaching. An interdisciplinary group designed and implemented a drama-based workshop series, based on applied theatre techniques, to help students develop positive professional qualities and interpersonal skills to deal with challenges in the healthcare setting. We piloted the workshops at the University of Sydney in 2015. Attendees completed evaluation questionnaires and participated in a focus group or interview. Of 30 workshop attendances, there were 29 completed questionnaires and three participants attended a focus group or interview. Workshop activities were rated as ‘very good’ or ‘good’ by 21/22 (95.5%). Thematic analysis of qualitative data highlighted the rationale for participation (to deal with bullying, prevent becoming a bully, learn social skills), workshop benefits (express emotions, learn about status dynamics and deconstructing personalities, empathy, fun), challenges (meeting participants' expectations, participants' need for further practice) and implications for medical education (need to develop awareness of others' perspectives). Our research has shown that there is momentum to challenge mistreatment in medical education. While a multipronged approach is needed to generate systemic change, this pilot offers a positive and creative innovation. It helps students improve their interpersonal skills and sense of self to deal with challenges in the healthcare setting, including mistreatment.

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Footnotes

  • Twitter Follow Karen Scott at @karenmsco

  • Contributors All authors contributed to the drama-based workshops and accompanying research outlined in this brief report, and authorship and critical review of this journal article. All authors authorise its submission to Medical Humanities.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Human Research Ethics Committee, The University of Sydney (2015/282).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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