Through a grant from the Performing Arts Special Activities Fund and the generosity of our Alpha Alpha Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, we are pleased to share that Megan Cole, actor, will be with us from March 28-April 1, 2016 for a series of special learning opportunities. While we are finalizing rooms and last minute details, we wanted you to begin to save some time for these unique opportunities. Using Humanities and the Performing Arts to Improve Health Care will offer innovative approaches to teaching caregiver-patient communication, examine end of life decisions and care, increase interprofessional understanding, and foster joy and meaning in health professions work. We will be distributing more specific publicity shortly with RSVP and a special opportunity for Alpha Alpha members. She could also join you for some classroom time if that fits.
Who is Megan Cole? She is a professional stage and TV actor (www.megancole.net) from Oregon who developed the original role of Professor Vivian Bearing in the Pulitzer Prize winning play, Wit, at the LA Theatre with the playwright and has performed nationally in numerous productions. I first worked with her while at the University of Texas Health Science Center where she was our Artist in Residence for many years, teaching health professionals using the actor’s tool box and more. She is all but dissertation for a PhD in English herself so played the role of Professor Bearing with deep understanding—the poetry of John Dunn is not for the faint hearted! Following her role in Wit, she redirected her career to helping health professionals with communication (how to deliver bad news), patient relationships (how does context shape how we interact?), and end of life topics (how to be with someone?). She also uses poetry widely in her teaching. She is in demand working with Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins (in fact, we are partnering with JHU in order to save travel costs), Columbia, and many other health related institutions.
There are two types of scheduled learning opportunities: theartrical/dramatic and seminars.
The two theatrical performances are:
- The first is a one actor presentation of Wit, tentatively scheduled for Monday, March 28that 5 pm (I will confirm this date as soon as we learn about the auditorium we have requested).
- The second is a new production, Still Life: Scenes from the Faraway Nearby, based on a real life story of a severe medical crisis followed by conversation of what we learn to make patient care more informed and compassionate. Written by a nurse, the story is about removing a ventilator tube—what questions arise about when a life should end; who makes this determination? Where is the patient’s voice in this epic discussion when silenced by the ventilator itself?
The other learning opportunity is a series of noon time seminars each day, 12-1 pm, March 28-April 1, Balancing Engagement and Detachment: Using Skills from the Dramatic Arts. Location to be confirmed. Seminar Topics include:
Session #1: Fundamental Principles and Skills of Balance. The two essential components of a good balance between thought and feeling are witnessing and choosing our behavior. Participants will interactively explore these skills and consider why they are so important. The two important mechanisms for leaving our “baggage” outside the door are focusing the imagination and conscious breathing. These two are crucial for accessing theawareness that leads to intentional behavior.
Session #2: Evaluation Skill: Action/Objective/Obstacle. This is an important tool that provides a simple objective means of analyzing the components of a problematic encounter in order to clarify content, and for whichawareness and intention are requisites.
Session #3: The Hidden Reality: Status. Status refers to the shifting hierarchical relationships inherent in all human encounters. We will look specifically at how status, conceived as a state of imbalance, functions in a medical context.
Session #4: Internal Realities: Subtext. Awareness of perspective is critical to good communication. We will explore how subtext (unexpressed internal meaning) and signals (gestures, body language, vocal tone) affect the messages we send.
Session #5: External Realities: Context. Another critical aspect of perspective, context includes the external elements of an event – the given circumstances – that can affect its meaning. We will also re-cap the course skills and the ways they interlink.
All students, staff and faculty are invited, and we will issue an RSVP shortly so you can reserve a space. We wanted to get the information out as quickly as possible so you can work this into your schedules.