Removing barriers game at bartsability event

Supporting learning with games at Barts Health NHS trust

Our latest guest blogger, librarian Lynne Mackie from the Knowledge and Library Service at Barts Health NHS Trust, describes how the library uses our educational games to support training for a variety of departments and staff groups in the Trust:

In 2018, we acquired a selection of educational games from Focus Games, which we began to publicise to staff. We soon received our first bookings from staff who wanted to play the games. Since then, by promoting the games through the library service Twitter account, our intranet and at induction sessions, interest in the games has continued to grow, leading to over 30 bookings in the second half of 2018.

The games can be borrowed from the library, or a session can be arranged where a librarian (normally me) will take the games and help to facilitate the session. We have held sessions using anywhere between 1 and 6 board games, for groups of various sizes. The games are useful for any staff group – we have run sessions with student nurses, junior doctors, administrative staff, and others. We have found that the discussions sparked by the game can be just as useful (if not more so) than the content of the game itself, particularly once the staff begin to apply what they’ve learned from the game to what happens in their own workplace.

Our most popular game so far has been the Sepsis Game. It has been borrowed by departments including the Emergency Department and Therapies Department to include in their training days.

The next most popular requests are for the Removing Barriers Game and Communication Game. The Removing Barriers Game has been especially valuable because it has been taken up by BartsAbility, our disability inclusion group at the Trust. The game has featured in BartsAbility meetings and events, as well as being incorporated into Disability Awareness Training run by the Trust. The game provides a fun and interesting way to engage with the topic and leads to great and open discussion, especially when facilitated by someone with knowledge of disability rights and support.

We have had overwhelmingly positive feedback from all sessions that we have facilitated, with colleagues stating that the games helped them to improve communication with their colleagues, share best practice, and learn about something new in a different and interesting way. The games are all very flexible, and we can tailor the game session to meet the needs of the group in question. When we do this, the games are especially successful. For example, we ran a session using the Infection Control Game for student nurses, while one of their tutors was present. This game uses an interactive video to present challenges for the players to respond to on “ward” on the board. Their tutor chose to add in some extra challenges, to push the students further and complement what was happening in the game – it was really successful.

For me, the best thing about the games, especially when I’m facilitating a session, is the flexibility to adjust the time or the rules in order to make sure that the students or staff are getting the most out of the game.

We have also grown our collection throughout the year by listening to our users and finding out what other games they were interested in. After the Safeguarding Game and the Priorities Game were requested, we ordered copies of those and have already received bookings to use them in 2019. We also bought the Drug Round Game to support our Trust after a need for further training around medicines management emerged, meaning we are able to use the games to respond to a relevant training need.

As we go into 2019, we now have a collection of 15 educational games, 14 of which are made by Focus Games. It looks like we’re going to have another good year with our games – we already have lots of bookings for sessions stretching all the way to July, and we look forward to continuing to support learning in the Trust with board games.

Think Christmas, think board games!

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