Playing games with life sized board

Getting creative with educational games

Library and Knowledge Manager Debra Thornton from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust explains how the trust are using educational games in both traditional and unusual ways: 


Our library recently purchased a range of educational board games which enable healthcare teams to improve their knowledge in a variety of areas. Some of the games we’ve been using include the Sepsis Game, Hydration Game, Nutrition Game, Communication Game and Game of Stools, the C. diff game. They have been borrowed by lots of departments to enhance their study days, but two Practice Development Nurses have been particularly creative in their approach to using games for learning.


Sharon Ellis and Sharon Vickers deliver induction training for new nurses, healthcare assistants and assistant practitioners. They use the board games on the final day of the week-long induction training, to end the week on a high, whilst still delivering important learning opportunities.


As well as playing the board games in the traditional way, moving the playing pieces around the board in a race to the finish line, Sharon and Sharon came up with another innovative idea to print a life sized “path” using large sheets of card, laying it out on the floor and using the players themselves as playing pieces.


This is how it works: the card path is laid out on the floor, and teams take turns to roll the dice and move forward. When they land on certain picture cards – such as a water drop (Hydration Game) or a poop icon (Game of Stools) - their team are given a question from the corresponding game. If the team answers correctly, the player acting as the counter moves a couple of extra spaces forward, and if a wrong answer is given, they miss a turn. The team that reaches the end first can go home first and the other team plays until they reach the end!


Sharon Ellis said:

“Although it is a lot of fun there is a serious aspect to this. The talks and workshops new staff attend during the week are essential to their knowledge before they begin their new role, but we can never be sure how much they have taken in. The Friday game session allows us to go through some of the learning, enhancing the participants’ opportunities to interact with each other and share their knowledge and skills. This way they consolidate their learning and we can be sure they have assimilated the information they are going to need. In addition, playing the board games creates a sense of friendship and camaraderie that will help them get through the first few weeks of their new role, which can be quite daunting.” 


Sharon Vickers said: 

“These games are a great idea – I am very glad the library has got them, and I wish I’d thought of it myself! The participants learn so much from taking part. They often don’t realise how much they already know – it really is a great way for them to share their knowledge. And because it is all done in a spirit of fun, they answer confidently and with conviction. It is an alternative way of learning and we have a lot of fun.”

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