Game Becomes Learning Tool for Nursing Students

Diane Yorke_Web Dr. Diane Yorke

Dr. Diane Yorke recognized a need to improve the way nursing students are oriented to their pediatric rotation. By making a game out of what was a somewhat rushed and stressful formal orientation, the essential elements were retained better and the orientation as a whole was more engaging for the students. The game itself is a collection of tasks written on index cards that both challenges the students to use their existing skills in the context of working on the pediatric ward and familiarizes themselves with the staff, procedures, and physical layout of the space.

Students are paired, given a series of cards with pre-defined tasks on them, and then asked to complete their combined ten tasks as a team. The tasks vary from locating objects such as pediatric bedpans, to doing online research, to verifying skills such as taking simple histories or wasting meds with an appropriate witness. Simulated patients were also moved from place to place and medication was “withdrawn” from the floor’s Pyxis machine, tasks with which they need to be familiar on day one.

This game was presented by Dr. Yorke, clinical assistant professor, and Jason Morningstar, UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing web master who helped develop it, at the Innovation Learning Network conference in Seattle, Washington, a “gamification summit.” It was played by conference participants to demonstrate methods for incorporating games into pedagogy. It was later implemented as part of the pediatrics rotation supervised by Dr. Yorke.

Jason Morningstar-Web

Jason Morningstar

The game was used at UNC Children’s Hospital a few weeks ago to take the place of a traditional orientation for the pediatric rotation for student nurses. This was also very successful. According to Jason, “We’ll be refining it and running it again in five weeks. We’re also submitting a paper to the 4th Annual NETNEP International Nursing Education Conference for June 2012.” Jason has also been invited by Kaiser-Permanente to present a different game during their September 2011 two-day academic summit for nurses.