Using Games in Nursing Education – 1988
February 19, 1988
Dear Ms. Pamela:
I am delighted to inform you that your excellent manuscript, “Using Games in Nursing Education,” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Nursing Staff Development.
I can hardly believe they will publish our manuscript this year. Lynn, my coauthor, grinned when I showed her the letter. We began the process six months ago when we sent them a query letter with several ideas for an article. It was worth all our hard work of writing, rewriting, editing, and working with the photography department to make the black and white photos and diagrams.
Our abstract introduced the final print of the article:
Games are an exciting and useful teaching strategy that we have used successfully in the orientation and continuing education of hospital staff nurses. We have created and adapted games to stimulate interest at the beginning of a program, to present new information, and to review course content. Directions for playing nine games as well as some guidelines for creating games are included in this article.
The following describes three of the nine games we published.
At a recent planning retreat of our nursing education department involving 20 people, we played our version of the popular TV game show, “Jeopardy.” The purpose of the game was to help everyone review together the past accomplishments of the department and the present trends in order to plan future goals. The nurse educators were divided into several teams of three people each. The newer educators were matched up with the more experienced educators. The nursing education managers wrote columns with categories at the top on a flip chart, followed by dollar amounts from $50-$500. Then each team chose a category and dollar amount. If they answered the question correctly, the dollars were put in their account. At the end, the team with the most imaginary “dollars” received a small handmade craft item as a prize. All the other teams also received consolation prizes.
At the end of the game, the participants were enlightened about the history of our department, exhilarated by the game’s effect and appreciative of management’s efforts to make the day enjoyable. The information presented helped everyone prepare to develop future goals for the department in light of the past and present trends.
Presenting new information is always challenging and consumes a large percentage of our time in nursing education. One game we created to teach our new nurse preceptors during their workshop is the “Feedback Game”. The game dramatizes to the preceptors the effects of giving feedback to orientees. The participants are paired up and then seated back to back. Half of them are given a paper with a simple line diagram and become the instructor. The other person is given a pen and blank paper and becomes the student. The instructor must give directions to the student. The student is not allowed to look at the instructor’s diagram, ask any questions or ask for any clarification. When they compare papers, the results are usually poor replications of the original diagram.
In the second half of the game, the roles are reversed. The only difference is that the instructor may answer questions and give unlimited feedback. The resulting diagram is much more accurate than the first one. The new preceptors realize the importance of giving their orientees frequent feedback throughout the orientation period.
What’s New? – Solitaire
When existing policies and procedures are revised, it is communicated to the nurses on their unit through “What’s New?” – Solitaire Posters. A small poster (6″ x 14″) is made with “What’s New?” at the top followed by four or five questions. the questions are typed on the outside of small folded cards with the answers typed on the inside. Then the cards are glued to the board. The poster is put on the nursing unit’s bulletin board for two weeks at a time. After the nurse reads the questions and answers, he or she signs the accompanying attendance sheet for continuing education credit. The response to these posters has been excellent since it only takes a few minutes to be updated on procedures. The busy staff nurse can choose the best time to learn the information.
The following steps describe how we designed new games for our various nursing education programs. The incorporation of game playing into our educational offerings has greatly enhanced our program. The participants have indicated through their evaluations a sincere appreciation of the enjoyable and varied approaches. Another positive effect has been the revitalization of our instructors; they demonstrate more positive attitudes toward teaching the same information routinely. Create your own games for your specific situation and remember to have fun. Your enthusiasm is contagious and vital to the health of your educational programs!
I always loved to play games as a young child. I’m thankful that my parents encouraged this as seen by these old photos of my brother and me playing together on Christmas morning, and my sister and me splashing each other in the creek.
It’s amazing that they still show “Jeopardy” every night on American TV, although they have doubled the money categories since 1988. No more $50 clues. I still find it fun to play decades-old board games such as Scrabble or Monopoly. It takes my mind off the challenges of living in this world and gives me a short mental break to bring out the child in me again. I thank God that He gives us times of laughter and fun. Truly, laughter is good medicine. “A time to weep, and a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4 KJV).
A couple of years ago, a friend told me about http://www.duolingo.com which is a wonderful free website to learn a new language. I enjoy their teaching method because it is like playing games while you work on listening, reading, and writing skills as you expand your vocabulary. Some of the languages offered are English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Turkish, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Ukrainian. I hope you have fun this week and play a game with someone and laugh!