ABSTRACT: Teaching students to develop high quality communication skills in healthcare education is vitally important if best practice is to be achieved. These skills have often been seen as challenging to successfully develop. Didactic approaches impart knowledge but not necessarily the opportunities to practice communication techniques. This paper shares the experiences of a group of University lecturers introducing the use of an experiential theatrical technique, forum theatre, to support students to develop their communication skills. Forum theatre aims to create a dynamic learning environment enabling students to try out different communication strategies within a safe setting. Academic staff perform short scripted scenes developed using their knowledge from practice along with the experience of carers and service users. The end result is always unsatisfactory for the service user. The scene is then re-run inviting the students to interact with the characters and to change the outcome to a positive one resulting in a collaborative experience.
Nurse education in practice 11/2011; 12(3):139-42.