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SC21 The use of participatory forum theatre in supporting undergraduate student nurses’ awareness of the role of the multidisciplinary team in the discharge planning process
  1. Melanie Tanner,
  2. Gilly Mancz,
  3. Isobel Ryder,
  4. Carrie Hamilton,
  5. Chris Allen
  1. University Of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK


Background Discharge planning involves a range of health care professionals supporting the increasingly complex, specialised and person centred needs of patients. Successful discharge planning involves being able to work with patients, families and the wider multidisciplinary team (MDT) to identify discharge needs and priorities, of which, communication and an awareness of the different roles within the MDT are vitally important (Epstein, 2014).

Student nurse education must reflect the needs of patients being cared for in complex health care systems, where care is often fragmented and involves the input of several different professionals. Whilst this can be delivered in didactic teaching; simulation, through forum theatre, has the potential to develop students declarative knowledge into functioning knowledge (Arveklev et al., 2015) in situations that they might have only limited exposure to, during their training.

Project description We have developed a simulated discharge planning meeting by adapting forum theatre methodology. To provide context, a short video (filmed previously in the simulation flat) of the simulated patient (SP) prior to admission, struggling in his home environment, is shown. The meeting then centres around discharge planning after a hospital stay. Student nurses play various roles within the MDT engaging with the SP and their simulated relative.

Integral to the session is a skilled facilitated debrief, involving the SPs, where the students focus on three aspects of the activity; what went well, what (if anything) they would change if they were to undertake the discharge planning activity again and thirdly how they will apply what they have learnt when they are undertaking their next clinical placements.

Summary of results The ASPiH standards for simulation-based education have provided a quality assurance framework for the design of this session, furthermore, it has been aligned to the curriculum and reflects the NMC standards. Already apparent in the design, is the importance of consulting with multi-disciplines and critically to involve patients and their families. It is only then that the simulation becomes meaningful for the undergraduate student nurses.

Discussion This session is taking place in July 2018, when over 100 student nurses will participate. It will operate as a proof of concept, with future work planned to test ‘participatory forum theatre’ empirically. If discharge planning is to be successful, for the patient and their family, simulating a MDT meeting in nurse training has the potential to assist greatly in identifying discharge needs and priorities and understanding the MDT roles.


  1. Epstein NE. Multidisciplinary in-hospital teams improve patient outcomes: A review. Surgical Neurology International2014;5(Suppl 7):S295–303.

  2. Arveklev SH, Wigert H, Berg L, Burton B, Lepp M. The use and application of drama in nursing education. An integrative review of the literature. Nurse Education Today2015;35(7):e12–17.

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