Lights, patients, action! Nurses get dramatic

Year 3 Adult nursing students l-r Kerrie Davidson, Brittanny McArthur and Adam Dickson (Photo: Lorcan Doherty Photography)
Year 3 Adult nursing students l-r Kerrie Davidson, Brittanny McArthur and Adam Dickson (Photo: Lorcan Doherty Photography)

Student nurses are being taught acting and drama skills in Derry to help improve quality of care for patients.

The pioneering project at Magee is the focus of an Ulster University research study which involves educating nursing students in adaptid techniques from actor training, applied drama, puppetry and the use of simulation.

The initiaitve is aimed at addressing growing concern within the NHS about the quality of the ‘patient experience’, by seeking to further enhance the communication skills of Adult and Mental Health Nursing students.

Through their role play students can experience real life situations and scenarios which are considered difficult or stressful.

The study recommends that such educational approaches should be embedded into the curriculum for all nursing and medical students and the project has now become the focus of PhD research by Karl Tizzard-Kleister at Ulster University.

Pat Deeny, Ulster University Senior Lecturer in Nursing, said: “Communication is a major challenge in modern health care. Fundamentally patients and clients report that they are not being heard or understood even though they are the ‘people of experience’.”

Dr Matt Jennings, Lecturer in Drama at Ulster University said: “As the project,has progressed, we have developed a toolkit for nursing students which will help to improve the performance of care given to patients in the future.”

Gary Rutherford, Ulster University nursing graduate, said: “I found the experience valuable as it helped to bring the role play to life enabling a more effective assessment of our progress.”