In a masterstroke of symbiosis, the University of San Francisco has assigned its drama students to portray the sick and dying for the benefit of the school's nursing students.
It's hard to think of a more mutually beneficial setup: The nurses-to-be get the advantage of learning, early-on, how to deal with drama queens, while the actors-to-be get the heads-up on likely future necessities such as convincing a medical professional that you need hard drugs and dealing with an audience that wants nothing more than to stick needles in you to make you shut up.
"I think this is a perfect embodiment of why you go to a four-year liberal arts Jesuit university to become a nurse," said Susan Prion, an assistant professor of nursing. This is an interesting statement, as how USF's Jesuit affiliation bears upon a young drama student portraying, say, an Alzheimer's- or Cancer-afflicted senior is unclear. It is a pretty good bet, however, that no improv scenarios involving unwed mothers-to-be were pulled off -- and, if such a thing happened in real life, it warrants mentioning that USF has taken pains to drop any coverage of abortion from its health plan.
On the other hand, there may be yet another motive behind this exercise beyond mere altruism on the actors' parts: "The overall experience was fun, exciting, and made me realize that I am capable of fully engaging as a character in a hospital scene with extreme medical conditions," said drama student Rochelle Lozano.
That explains more. Look out Hollywood -- USF drama students are ready for their guest shot on House!