Posted on December 28, 2016

New show teaches compassion to student nurses

A new theatre play has been staged as part of a learning exercise to help student nurses empathise with their patients.

The new play, entitled Careful, works as a standalone play but is the result of a partnership between Kingston University’s drama and nursing facilities. The university is currently exploring how the world of drama and theatre can be used to aid nurses in their training.

Directed by Senior Performance Studies Lecturer Dr Alex Mermikides, the play was borne out of her own experiences as a patient, when she donated stem cells to treat her brother’s leukaemia. During this time, Dr Mermikides was “astounded” by the work that the highly skilled nurses carried out and the compassion that they were able to give. However, she did feel that she received less-than-compassionate care from midwives when she experienced several complications with her pregnancy.

The play poses the question of how nurses, who have chosen a job where care-giving is a prerequisite, can sometimes fail in this regard. The play does not offer a complete answer to this question, but presents nurses as people who sometimes make mistakes, often because they are exhausted with too heavy workloads. A large part of the play is given over to self-care, advising on relaxation and breathing exercises that nurses can do to get themselves ready before their shifts.

Michal Kaim, a student nurse who participates in the play, said: “I’m much more aware of my body language now and how we can send nonverbal signals to patients.”

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