Using Theater as an Educational Tool for Understanding Medication Experiences from the Patient Perspective

Alina Cernasev, Sonja Kuftinec, Ryan Bortz, Jon C. Schommer, Paul L. Ranelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. To develop a play depicting patients’ medication experiences and evaluate its usefulness as an educational tool for improving health care professionals’ understanding of medication experiences from the patient perspective. Methods. An award-winning playwright was recruited to write the script, which was based on 2,178 written comments submitted by respondents to a national consumer survey on patients’ medication experience and pharmacist roles. The resulting play, Go Ask Alice, was presented during November 2016 in two Minnesota cities. Attendees were asked to complete a survey before and after the performance and to provide their email address if interested in completing a three-month follow-up survey. The research team conducted descriptive and inductive thematic analyses on the quan-titative and qualitative data, respectively. Results. A total of 225 people viewed the performances, with 161 completing both the pre-and post-intervention surveys and 58 providing feedback three months later. Two themes emerged in the follow-up survey: the play illuminated barriers that patients face when seeking health care services, as well as the major hindrances and other contributors to patients’ medication experiences. Conclusion. Theatrical performance can be an effective educational tool for understanding medication experiences from the patient perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7606
Pages (from-to)459-465
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of pharmaceutical education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
two performances was approximately $25,000, funded by grants and donors.

Funding Information:
Funding: Supported by identified individual donors, anonymous donors, University of Minnesota (UMN) College of Pharmacy Faculty Grants Award Program, and Paddock Research Fund from the UMN College of Pharmacy Department of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences.


  • Applied theater
  • Medication stories
  • Narrative medicine
  • Patient perspective
  • Theater


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