Making power visible: Doing theatre-based status work with nursing students


As part of a senior leadership class in an undergraduate baccalaureate nursing program in the northeastern United States, we conducted an experiential, theater-based workshop designed to increase student awareness of the micro-dynamics of power and the enactment of status in their day-to-day lives. These exercises allowed student participants to embody status and power and understand it in ways that they did not after simply completing assigned readings. At the conclusion of the workshop the participants were asked to reflect on their status habits and the consequences of these habits in a single hand-written page. The participants' reflections showed two interesting trends. The first is that a relatively short workshop dramatically increased participants' awareness of power and status as ever present, including a substantial normative move from seeing using power as being a generally bad thing that can be justified in the interests of the organization's mission to a more neutral stance that power and status are at work in all of our interactions. The second trend that emerged was the tendency for participants to focus on agency-based explanations of power dynamics.



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Nurse Education in Practice



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