'Don't talk like that: It's not just what you say but how you say it': The process of developing an applied theatre performance to teach undergraduate nursing students communication skills around paediatric end-of-life care

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Susan Neilson
  • Alison Reeves

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations



The project aimed to explore the effectiveness of drama and nursing students working collaboratively to develop communication skills based on situations nurses face working with children in palliative and end-of-life care. Interactive theatre techniques were developed in the participatory performance and embedded in Noddings’ concept of care education. Based on findings from pre and post intervention student feedback the results demonstrate and exemplify how performance can offer new ways of understanding the caring encounter. Through facilitating re-enactment of their real-life scenarios pre-registration nursing students both discussed and practiced nurse: patient interactions, reflecting on how caring and uncaring communication sounds and feels. Role-play and simulation is not new in training nursing students but the innovative aspect of this project was the way working with drama students enabled participation and reflection through elements of ‘Simultaneous Dramaturgy’ and ‘Forum Theatre’ in this paediatric palliative context.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Arts and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Communication skills, Participatory performance, Interactive techniques, Palliative care, care education, Forum Theatre