Simulation Game Aims to Take the Drama Out of Healthcare

Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing, Baylor Scott & White Health and UT Dallas have developed a simulation game that teaches doctors and nurses to work more collaboratively and to avoid conflicts that can bottleneck patient care. The game puts participants in tense situations in a virtual world so that they can learn how best to avoid those situations in the real world.

The simulation was created thanks to federal funds from two national awards at the 4th Annual Serious Games and Virtual Environments Arcade & Showcase during the 2014 International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare in San Francisco. The simulation won honors for a Best-in-Show, in the Academic Faculty Category, and took a 4th place award in the Technology Innovations division.

The simulation is based on feedback from actual health care practitioners who offered both positive and negative workplace communications experiences. After the game was built, the team began evaluating doctors' and nurses' knowledge on effective communication strategies, inviting them to play the game in the role of doctor and the role of nurse, and then evaluating participants afterward to see if the game helped their knowledge. That part of the research is ongoing.

"Our hope is that this project will enhance patient safety and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes," said Beth Mancini, a UT Arlington nursing professor and Associate Dean of the College of Nursing. "Being honored by the judges at this year's International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare tells us that the virtual learning environment we've built is among the very best in terms of content and design."

You can learn more about the simulation here.

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