"Yes, and..." - an improvisational workshop within the framework of the Simulation Patient Program

5 November 2023

Within the framework of the Department of Languages for Biomedical Purposes and Communication at the Medical School of Pécs, the Simulated Patient Program (SPP) has been employing simulated patients (SPs)  for four years as part of undergraduate medical education where every semester they participate in further training sessions. This year the development of English-speaking simulated patients was enhanced with improvisational elements aimed at enriching their skills to help them handle difficult and unexpected situations in their work. The training took place on October 2nd at the Medical School's new building.

For the past three years, Dr. Judit Fekete, Dr. Katalin Eklics, and Dr. Alexandra Csongor have been teaching medical students in the field of applied/medical improvisation (#MedImprov). This recent innovation was made possible with the support of Dr. Anikó Hambuch, the head of the SP Program.

Applied improvisation draws from the fundamental principles of improvisational theater and applies them to situations beyond the stage. Why might this be useful for simulated patients, and what role does spontaneity and humor play in their work? The answer lies in the development of "soft skills," that is, interpersonal abilities and competencies. Improvisation focuses on enhancing these skills, emphasizing the importance of maintaining focus,  presence, and active listening, which are essential both in everyday life and in doctor-patient communication. These critical skills are at the heart of #MedImprov - applied improvisation in medical education - and were the focus of this recent SP workshop.

The training was extremely successful, and the trainers, instructors received a lot of positive feedback. They eagerly look forward to hosting the workshop again next semester for both English and Hungarian-speaking simulated patients, further enriching their educational support. This opportunity also allows students at the Medical School of Pécs to receive high-quality, comprehensive training.


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