The Bridge Between Improv Comedy and Medical Improv!

BB closer Headshot3:6:2015I’ll never be a professional improvisor and don’t plan on returning to direct care as an RN. What I AM focused on is building a bridge between the transformative learning from theatre improvisation and skills we need to develop healthier relationships, teams, cultures, and systems.

My 3rd book, tentatively titled, The Medical Improv Primer:  15 Fundamental Activities You Can Teach STAT! is being reviewed now and scheduled for publication later this year.

From Chapter One:  Medical Improv as an “Escape Fire”!:

Enter the emerging field of Medical Improv! Where theater techniques and philosophies can be used to develop emotional intelligence, communication, teamwork, and leadership capacities and promise a host of additional benefits such as; managing conflict, reducing stress, and improving creativity, flexibility, and spontaneity.  All of which can permeate our cultures and the care we provide with improved outcomes and a hopeful new energy.

Healthcare professionals will be able to use it to teach basic improv activities to staff at all levels without spending a lot of time or resources.  Improvisors will find it helpful in understanding the problems we face so they can be more effective in applying their expertise to healthcare’s unique needs.

I’m also working on broader applications of improv and recently completed a 4-session pilot launch of the Portsmouth Improv Learning Lab (PILL)!  In the last session about 15 friends and colleagues tried out an activity called, Physical Phone.   It was easy to teach, incredibly fun, and potentially very valuable if framed in the context of a Medical Improv learning session.  I can use it to explain this bridge between improv and healthcare.

If you watch the video and try it just for fun as we might do in improv, I’m pretty sure you’ll have some. If you use it as a Medical Improv activity, facilitate discussion with these talking points: Click To Tweet

  • What would happen if the communication was more complex?
  • What if we added some interruptions to the process?
  • What if the environment included sound effects like phones ringing, overhead pages, IV alarms?
  • How might it relate to issues we face with communication in “Handoffs”?
  • How could we improv communication in this process?

If you try it, I’m pretty sure people will enjoy the experience and walk back into their Improvoscopy logo draft NO wordsclinical environments with less tension, more awareness and skills associated with effective communication, an appreciation for their own and each other’s limits, and maybe even some ideas about safer “Handoffs”.  (You can bet if they come up some they will be much more committed to trying them in a collaborative way!)

If you try it with a group of friends or staff let me know how it goes and what kinds of learnings you experience!

Posted in Communication in Healthcare | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Healthcare Professionals Might Want to Try the Danish Clapping Game!

I’m always looking for Improv ideas that can help us with various ‘pain points’ in healthcare.  I think the Danish Clapping game can improve teamwork, decrease stress, and engage staff in organizational initiatives.  Yet this activity is so playful and fun, maybe that is enough reason to watch this 4 min youtube and try with a colleague.! You can practice teaching it with one person or a whole group.  It only takes a few minutes to teach and play and you will hear lots of laughter and see lots of joy if you do.

By the way, I’m not quite as competitive as the guy in this video!  When I play and someone ‘looses’ we just start again! 🙂  Have fun and let me know if you use it with your team!

Posted in Communication in Healthcare, Complexity in nursing, Diversity, Healthy Workplaces, Medical Improv | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Primitive Research on Benefits of Cranberry Supplement

untitled-design-26by Suhail Ajmal

Being a diehard cranberry fan, I am always interested to know more and more about it and its benefits. Today, I will share my primitive research about the benefits of Cranberry supplement. Before you start taking this supplement, it will be wise to consult with your doctor. The supplement can give birth to undesired effects at times.

Benefits of Cranberry Supplement

The supplement is primarily made up of tart berry and usually comes in powder, extract or tablet form. It contains high amounts of anti-oxidants, which are being used for centuries to cure a number of ailments.

Prevention from Urinary Infection

A research conducted by the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has shown that cranberry supplement is very effective in combating urinary infection. Major cause of urinary infection is multiplication of bacteria in urinary tract that in turn causes inflammation of bladder, a condition known as cystitis. Here comes the role of cranberry. It boosts urine acidity and prevents bacteria gluing on the walls of the uterus.

Suppresses Gastric Ulcer

Cranberry supplement also plays an important role in suppressing infection caused by bacteria ‘Helicobacter’ that leads to the formation of stomach ulcer. The same fact was confirmed by a journal by the name of the bacteria ‘Helicobacter’. It was highlighted in the journal that people who consume cranberry daily or on regular basis are less prone to stomach ulcer. To stimulate a healthy gastro-intestinal environment, some experts also suggest Probiotic America.

Dental Hygiene

Another potent advantage of cranberry supplement is prevention of plague amassing around your teeth. It decreases bacteria’s ability from adhering to one’s teeth, and in turn, the chances of formation of cavities as well as tooth decay lower. Although cranberries are for sure no replacement of a tooth paste, yet researches are considering their positive impact on teeth.

An Excellent Detoxifier

Cranberry has been termed as an excellent flat flusher and detoxifier by Ann Louise, renowned Idaho nutritionist and author of the book, “The Fast Track Detox Diet”. According to Louise, cranberry possesses certain nutrients that are beneficial for liver, and in turn, liver filters toxins from the body. Consuming cranberry also helps liver in fat metabolism.

Improves Skin Condition

It is also known for improving skin condition and healing acne, pimples, dry patches, dermatitis, aczema and psoriasis. Furthermore, its intake strengthens immune system, hence, your body becomes strong enough to combat any disease; be it skin related, or any other.

Potential Side Effects

Although you can easily get lured by any of these benefits, yet there is a potential side effect to non-prescribed intake of the supplement. Though people suffering from an ulcer or any other ailment might be interested in the cranberry supplement, be sure to check with your doctor first.  If it interacts with any other medicine, or you need more urgent care, it might be hazardous to your health.

Cranberry, be it fresh, in the form of juice or supplement, are beneficial for health. Its daily intake in advisable proportions has innumerable advantages for mind and body, but should not be taken in excess and must be taken under physician’s advice.

Suhail Ajmal  is a health journalist who writes for multiple health blogs regularly.

Posted in Communication in Healthcare, Healthy Workplaces, Holistic Health | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment