MEET (Medical Education Empowered by Theater): applying the theatre techniques to teach communication skills and nurture professional identity formation

Date:  Sunday 6 September 2020
Time:  0930-1230
Location:  Argyll II, Crowne Plaza

  • Marco Antonio de Carvalho Filho, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands
  • Frederick Hafferty, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, USA
  • Debbie Jaarsma, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands
  • Marcia Strazzacappa, State University of Campinas, Brazil

Summary of theme and why it is important:  Health professionals are performers. We deal with complex problems, within complex interactions, inside complex environments. Although we often deploy scripts dictating a good consultation, good teamwork, and social accountability, our problems are never the same, and we need to improvise under pressure. Our practice evokes emotions in patients, families, colleagues and ourselves and yet the emotions that influence our decisions often do not find a place in traditional teaching. The hidden curriculum ends up normalising emotion avoidance as the main mechanism to cope with the medical practice, although society demands the cognitive and emotional engagement of doctors. This normalisation becomes an oppressive force hampering the empathy of medical students and leading to cynicism and burnout. Traditional pedagogical practices may not be sufficient to help students navigate the complexity of healthcare practice while staying faithful to the values embraced by the health professions community. MEET understands theatre as a rehearse for life. Actors and clinical teachers, apply drama techniques from improvisation to Forum Theater to facilitate meaningful reflections and empower students as agents of change, targeting social justice and patient-centred care. MEET welcomes the drama of becoming a doctor while offering a safe space for cycles of reflection and action. Students bring their daily dilemmas to the stage, and try out different solutions and behaviours, allowing for the reconciliation between what is taught, experienced, and practised. The School of Medical Sciences at the University of Campinas is using MEET for more than five years in elective and mandatory disciplines, with the participation of more than 500 students with a 98% approval rating.
What participants will gain:  (1) Understand the theory and evidence that inform MEET practices, (2) participate in MEET simulations, and (3) take home a practical guide with tips and tricks about the steps of implementing MEET. The workshop facilitators will provide the participants with online resources to guide MEET implementation and create an online community to share experiences.
Who should participate:  Teachers and students interested in understanding the “why/what and how” of applying theatre in health professions education.
Level of workshop:  Introductory

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