Performing Medicine was created in 2001 to explore how ideas and techniques found in arts and theatre might help medical students develop vital skills required to navigate the day-to-day realities of being a medical professional.
Since then we have worked with over 16,000 healthcare professionals and students, in institutions across the UK, drawing on techniques from the arts to encourage participants to use their bodies and voices for effective communication, and to better look after themselves and each other.
The pressures of working in healthcare are particular, and the arts can offer both practical skills and new perspectives. Many skills that are taught in the arts are transferable to working in healthcare environments: understanding physical space, how to use your voice, interpret a narrative, or adapt to different audiences. In hospital environments, subtle changes to the tone of a healthcare professional’s voice, the quality of their touch, even the way they enter a room, can transform a patient’s experience. Developing a richer awareness of the non-verbal messages that we are giving out can allow us to have more agency as caregivers.
To date, our Performing Medicine team has worked mostly with staff at specific healthcare institutions. We are delighted that we can now extend our offer to individuals, to help them develop practical, positive techniques to manage the physical and emotional demands of working in healthcare.
We have designed a programme of five courses, open to all healthcare professionals. Each is delivered by an expert artist-facilitator and co-designed with those working in healthcare to ensure that the content is relevant and useful to their working lives. They will help staff to nurture and develop skills in communication, confidence and self-care so that they can be in a better, stronger position to care for themselves and others.
In Managing Stress participants will explore practical, positive ways to manage the physical and emotional demands of working in healthcare. OSCE Confidence will focus on giving medical students the skills to allow them to give their best performance within the pressures of an OSCE environment. In Effective Conversations, a voice coach will lead practical exercises to help to have better conversations with patients, colleagues and carers. Presentation Skills will focus on both verbal and non-verbal elements of communication, including some practical techniques overcome performance anxiety when speaking in public. And finally, participants in Leadership & Teamwork will develop strategies for building supportive, communicative healthcare teams.
We look forward to sharing this open programme with you and to meet healthcare professionals who share our commitment to respectful, high quality, inspiring healthcare.
Suzy Willson, Director