Empathy & Difficult Conversations

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Situations - Whether it's telling a patient about a new diagnosis, counseling about end-of-life care issues, helping someone quit smoking, or coping with a difficult pregnancy, clinicians must express empathy to successfully guide patients through challenging moments. A lack of empathy can lead to miscommunication, mistrust, and even poor outcomes. 

Solutions - With improvisation skills, clinicians can improve emotional intelligence, listen carefully to patients, and hone instincts for knowing what to say at the right moment. Clinicians can become comfortable and skillful in providing compassionate care even in the most difficult situations. 

Interprofessional Teamwork

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Situations - Patient care is increasingly delivered by teams of professionals, working together to provide the best possible care for their patients. Working in groups carries challenges, and communication breakdowns can lead to medical errors.  

Solutions - With improv skills, clinicians can communicate effectively and work collaboratively in teams. By listening, supporting, leading, and following, clinicians can strengthen teams, resolve conflicts, facilitate projects, and build camaraderie.


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Situations - Burnout is affecting more and more clinicians every year, sometimes with devastating effects. Excessive perfectionism, shame, and bullying pervade some medical communities, leaving clinicians feeling vulnerable, unsafe, and unwell. Clinicians may feel afraid to speak up, afraid to make mistakes, and even afraid to support one another.

Solutions - Clinicians can practice mindfulness, learn how to pay closer attention to oneself and each other, to support efforts, forgive mistakes, and validate each individual's contributions and importance. The experience of learning such skills can have profound effects both on individuals and on groups, fostering personal wellbeing and a healthy environment.