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1717 P Street, NW 1D Washington DC 20036 US   +1.2026991064 


Melinda Smith, as a medical student, trying to figure out how to connect with her romantic partner.


- Identify personal risk and protective factors for burnout and unprofessional behavior.
- Discuss how differing values, perspectives, and intentions contribute to behavior.
- Discuss barriers and strategies for effective teamwork, communication, and hospital practices.
- Formulate an action plan to implement strategies to improve communication, teamwork, and procedures/policies.




An overwhelming amount of literature stresses poor communication and work culture as the fundamental ingredients for - or primary cause of - medical errors. Regardless, most hospitals continue to rely on systems, checklists and protocols as a remedy to this national problem. At The New Theater of Medicine, we recognize that new tools and approaches are needed to holistically examine individual and systems factors, including the impact of bias and the strengths of diverse teams. The Autopsy of Dr. Melinda J. Smith is a specialized intervention that gives participants  the necessary skills to examine work culture and improve individual and team communication. Evaluations have highlighted a new understanding of ways to reduce medical errors, improve patient satisfaction, and contribute to a positive organizational culture.

The Autopsy of Melinda J. Smith, a play in two short acts, follows a new medical student from medical school into her Emergency Medicine residency where she struggles to maintain her professional identity under the stresses of work life and complex patients. Following the multi-media production, consultants facilitate a focused dialogue that includes practical strategies for addressing team communication, burnout, unprofessionalism, and patient care breakdowns. The play is designed to speak to a wide variety of roles, including nurses, medical students, faculty, residents, and hospital administrators.


1717 P Street, NW 1D Washington DC 20036 US   +1.2026991064 

The Autopsy of Melinda J. Smith

Opening monologue before going back in time to explore the factors that prompted Dr. Smith to do what she did...