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Dramatic Effect - enhancing nurse education through performance

Mahoney, Catherine; Bastow, Fiona; Harper-McDonald, Bruce



Health and social care integration (HCI) is an important policy priority across the United Kingdom. HCI is a complex process, not least because it results in blurring and redefinition of professional roles. Because nurses are at the forefront of HCI it is vital that nursing students are equipped to practice in this emerging integrated landscape. However, education about HCI comes at a time when students are developing their professional identity as nurses. This may lead to disengagement with the theory and practice of HCI. Authentic learning focussed on real-life experiences and environments has potential to bridge this gap. Drama, in particular, provides an accessible entry-point into complex healthcare environments through the stories of individuals experiencing care. To support student nurses’ engagement with the complexity of HCI, in November 2017 nursing students following a Bachelor/Master of Nursing (BN/MN) programme formed a drama group. Six students performed a play Mad, Bad, Invisible that told the story of a woman experiencing mental health crisis as she tried (and failed) to receive care and support from a range of health and social care services. Following public performance, the video-recorded play and associated educational materials, including cartoons, were incorporated into a module focussed on HCI in the BN/MN programme. Student nurse performers noted that involvement had been a ‘highly meaningful’ learning experience that enabled them to ‘explore a different perspective’ and ‘get a glimpse’ into the world of people for whom they care. Students engaging with module materials noted it was ‘novel’, ‘innovative’ and ‘relevant’. Following this innovation, one student actor has scripted a second play Old, Sad, Invisible demonstrating the progression of HCI for future students. Authentic learning can enable student nurses to grapple with complex changes in the healthcare landscape while maintaining a person-centred focus and shaping the core of their professional identity.

Education around health and social care integration (HCI) can challenge student nurses’ professional identity formation potentially leading to disengagement from learning. In this paper we discuss how drama enabled students to engage with the complexity of HCI while maintaining the person-centred focus at the core of their developing professional selves.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name RAISE Annual Conference
Start Date Sep 19, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 26, 2020
Keywords Authentic learning; Real World Learning
Public URL