Improvisation Games in a Pharmacy Communications Course: “It was kind of interesting to get to step out of my science-orientated mind and get to be creative!”


  • Dr. Lisa Guirguis Assistant Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 3126 Dentistry/Pharmacy Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2N8, Canada


Communications, Improvisation, Listening


Introduction: Improvisational exercises were integrated into the first year Pharmacy Communication courses to enhance students’ ability to listen and develop a conversation without anticipating its progression. Specific objectives were to describe pharmacy students’ experiences with improvisation and determine if improvisation influences how students learn communication skills.
Description of Improvisation: In 2009-10, pharmacy students were introduced to improvisation games with a communication focus. After an initial training, half of the class used improvisation to prepare for two standardized patient-interactions.
Evaluation: Three sources of data were collected over the course of the study: reflection assignments, a focus group, and course evaluation surveys. Four main themes arose: difficulties, pharmacy practice relevance, negative outcomes, and positive outcomes.
Discussion and Future Plans: Pharmacy students were ambivalent towards improvisation; identifying both challenges and benefits. In future communication courses, improvisation games will be integrated into relevant lecture time.


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Research Article