Take These Emotional Risks to Improve Your Workplace

By Beth Boynton | May 7, 2018

A nurse’s job is an emotional one. Every day there are layers of emotions that impact a nurse’s responsibilities. Whether it’s offering compassion to a patient or bolstering a coworker’s psyche so they have a better day, emotion is part of the job.

Many nurses will tell you their days go even deeper than that. A Vanderbilt University Medical Center survey found 70 percent of nurses are assaulted on duty during their career, and lateral violence and bullying in the nursing professional are absolutely recognized as a serious problem by the American Nurses Association (ANA). To move past this culture, nurses must take some risks. I’ve seen how the field of medical improv can help because we’re taking the principles and training techniques of improvisational theater to improve cognition, communication, and teamwork in medicine.

1. Empathy

Studies show the more empathetic you are, the greater success you will see with conflict management. Through medical improv you learn to be flexible with other points of view and put yourself in another’s shoes allowing the door to open for more empathy.

2. Support

We can often get wrapped up in our own world. Survey results show nurses are tired, barely getting enough sleep. They’re not eating right. More than 80 percent have a hard time finding a good work-life balance. Work is taking over and there’s a lot of it. Medical improv can give you the ability to acknowledge your own and others’ stresses. With this awareness you can ask for what you need and offer support to others when able.

3. Open Up

We’ve been struggling with communication and collaboration in healthcare forever. One reason for this is that speaking up requires taking on more power and listening requires sharing it. Let your walls down and share. Medical improve creates that ability to tear down barriers you’ve built up and allows your colleagues into your life, your work.

Watch this medical improv exercise that helps to build empathy.

Get education and resources that will help you retain staff by giving them ways to learn, grow and care for patients in meaningful ways.

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Beth Boynton

Medical Improv Practitioner

Beth Boynton, RN, MS specializes in communication, collaboration, and workplace culture. She is a Medical Improv Practitioner and author of Medial Improv: A New Way to Improve Communication (CreateSpace 2017), Successful Nurse Communication (F.A. Davis 2015), and Confident Voices (CreateSpace 2009).

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