Improv comedy makes it real for nursing students

Improv comedy makes it real for nursing students

Call it an inspired meeting of the arts and the sciences.

School of Nursing professors were looking for an innovative way to teach students how to better communicate with patients, a crucial part of the profession. Many errors in healthcare are caused by poor communication between healthcare professionals and patients, leading to sometimes life-threatening mistakes.

Enter undergraduate Zachary Tesoriero ’11, a member of Fairfield’s improvisational comedy troupes On The Spot and Your Mom Does Improv. With just an outline of a script in hand, both Tesoriero and the students – undergraduate learners in the School of Nursing’s bachelor of science in nursing program – worked on a simulation involvingTesoriero playing a terminally ill teenager talking about dying with his nurses.

Working in pairs, the nursing students spoke to the “patient,” taking ample time to understand his symptoms and concerns. “Our goal is to enhance student nurses’ interpersonal communication so that they will be better prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation,” said Dr. Eileen O’Shea, assistant professor of nursing.

All of the interactions were videotaped so faculty and students could later observe what communication efforts worked well to access the patient’s information and where improvement was needed.