Jelle van Gurp voor het Studiecentrum
Jelle van Gurp voor het Studiecentrum

Drama classes for practicing empathic skills

TLC voucher project
Project member(s)
Jelle van Gurp , Anne-Fleur van der Meer
Project type


When medical graduates start working in healthcare, they often encounter patients with complex mental health issues. Appropriately handling these patients require good empathic skills, but in the current master's programme, these are barely ever practiced. How can drama classes contribute to cultivating these skills?

Communication education is already offered within the medicine master's programme, but this only covers generic conversational skills. There is little to no room for training empathic skills or alignment. However, these are much needed when dealing with patients, who often have serious mental issues and complex feelings and thoughts. For example, it is important that students are taught how to closely but appropriately approach a patient, but also how to keep enough distance. This also contributes to the mental resilience of healthcare workers.

Desired solution

It turns out that teaching drama is a great way to practice that empathic alignment. The healthcare industry already works with drama therapists and actors. That is why this voucher project collaborates with director and drama therapist Noortje Buiting of theatre workshop Roest.

The goal Jelle van Gurp and Anne-Fleur van der Meer have for this project is to develop a training module which lets students experience the balance between distance and closeness by having them play out their personal and professional experiences.

Action plan

The training module, which will be called ‘The Game’, will be developed in collaboration with external experts, students, and experts by experience. In the module, students experience the notions of distance and closeness through drama. Afterwards, students will reflect on what they did. The module will go through two rounds of evaluation and one for improvements. Finally, based on the final evaluation, a paper will be written in both Dutch and English.


This project is funded by a TLC voucher from the Radboud Teaching and Learning Centre. This voucher programme aims to set up projects in the field of educational innovation, lecturer development and educational research.

View all voucher projects

Contact details

Would you like to know more? Do not hesitate to contact one of the voucher stakeholders, Jelle van Gurp and Anne-Fleur van der Meer, via jelle.vangurp [at] or anne-fleur.vandermeer [at]