Captivating the interest of nursing students, particularly digitally-savvy Gen Z learners, can be a daunting task. To overcome the hurdle of disengagement, an option for educators is to embrace the power of interactive nursing games—innovative and stimulating tools that resonate with the lifestyles of learners in nursing school while fostering active engagement in the learning process.
Research reveals that nursing students can achieve a more profound understanding of the content through the use of serious games. This innovative approach to learning not only sparks excitement but also enhances engagement, retention, and problem-solving abilities. Furthermore, it empowers students to self-assess their learning capabilities and, crucially, hone their critical thinking skills. With such an arsenal of benefits, interactive games emerge as the ultimate tool in the modern instructor's toolkit.
We’ve highlighted 5 games that are a fun way to learn critical skills.
1. Create and swap NCLEX® exam questions
This can be a collaborative game designed to help nursing students create, review, and exchange NCLEX® exam questions to enhance their understanding, critical thinking, and test-taking skills. Nursing students work in teams to develop challenging questions, which they then swap with other teams for review and practice. The game fosters a supportive learning environment, encouraging students to discuss concepts, clarify misunderstandings, and share insights. By actively engaging in question creation and peer review, students gain a deeper understanding of the exam material and build confidence in their test-taking abilities.
2. Healthcare education board games
Healthcare education board games offer an interactive and engaging approach to learning, allowing nursing students to develop critical skills in a fun and collaborative environment. These board games focus on various aspects of healthcare education, ranging from clinical decision-making to teamwork and communication. Here are a few examples:
3. Immersive virtual reality
Immersive virtual reality (VR) has emerged as a powerful interactive nursing game tool, offering innovative and interactive experiences that enhance students' learning and skill development. It’s fun and involving while being serious. Through VR technology, nursing students can access realistic simulations that closely replicate real-life clinical situations. This immersive experience enables them to practice various skills in a safe and controlled environment without the risk of harming actual patients.
Introducing UbiSim, a VR training platform specific to nursing! We offer serious games that immerse nurse learners in a virtual world where they can tend to patients, respond to family members, and discuss treatment options with providers.
Here’s what an instructor using UbiSim had to say about the experience: “We’re bridging theory to practice and students really enjoy it because it makes it fun to learn,” Dr. Tina Barbour-Taylor, Nurse Educator in UWF’s School of Nursing, said. “It develops critical thinking and prioritization skills, and that’s the most important thing.”
4. Traditional role-playing games
Traditional role-playing games in nursing education immerse students in realistic healthcare scenarios. By assuming different roles, students gain a deeper understanding of nursing and empathy for patients and colleagues. They can also play other members of the healthcare team. These games provide a safe environment to practice skills and make mistakes without causing harm. Additionally, they encourage peer learning and teamwork, as students often work together to resolve complex situations. Role-playing games enhance the nursing education experience by combining learning with engaging, interactive gameplay.
5. Nursing jeopardy
Nursing Jeopardy transforms the renowned TV show "Jeopardy!" into a quiz game tailored for aspiring healthcare professionals. Students can dive into a world of nursing knowledge, navigating diverse categories and point-based questions that fuel their intellectual curiosity. The game sparks teamwork, bolsters knowledge retention, and sharpens critical thinking skills.
6. Escape room-style challenges
Some educational institutions and healthcare facilities organize escape room-style challenges for nursing students. These events require participants to solve puzzles and complete tasks related to patient care and nursing skills within a time limit. They promote teamwork and critical thinking.
There are six key design aspects to escape room-style nursing challenges:
- Participant characteristics
- Learning objectives and outcomes
- Puzzles and equipment
7. Acting out medication commercials
Creating medication commercials as an educational game in nursing school involves students researching and crafting engaging advertisements for selected medications. It can even be an opportunity to use some humor! This exercise deepens their understanding of pharmaceuticals, including indications, contraindications, and side effects, while also honing their communication. Working in groups, nurse learners develop scripts and choose presentation formats, such as video, audio, or live demonstrations, to convey essential medication information effectively.
Embracing the future of nursing education requires a dynamic shift that transcends conventional methods. By integrating interactive nursing games, educators can unlock the full potential of a new generation of learners. These games ensure that nursing students stay captivated and motivated as they navigate the challenges of their chosen profession.