Nursing School brings games into classroom
The Nursing School recently launched the 'Game Solutions for Healthcare' initiative
March 21, 2012, 12:29 am · Updated March 23, 2012, 12:06 am·
The School of Nursing is looking to enliven the classroom by bringing games into the picture.
When the University settled on the Year of Games as its annual theme for 2011-12, Penn’s various schools and departments were encouraged to somehow incorporate games into their contrasting curriculums.
The Nursing School has taken this challenge to heart.
The school’s recently launched “Game Solutions for Healthcare” initiative has called for all Penn students to create games together that have the potential to improve the health care field, especially in nurse-patient relations.
Ten teams are currently developing their prototypes for the gaming initiative.
Through the program, team members are also collaborating with other entities outside the Nursing School, such as the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Weiss Tech House.
Game Solutions for Healthcare will culminate on April 19, when one team will win a grand prize of $1,500 at an awards ceremony.
“Games are a means of discovery and entrepreneurship and can be used to transform our understanding of our health and life styles,” said Nursing Professor Nancy Hanrahan, who has spearheaded the project.
According to Hanrahan, the contest has both changed the way the Nursing School acts to solve health care problems and challenged the way Penn students may have been learning for years.
Nursing senior Gabriela de Hoyos has worked alongside a team of faculty and staff members to develop her game, “Healthy Cities: Healthy Women.” Healthy Cities is an interactive solution-based game which shows pre-health professional students the barriers that women who live in urban settings may encounter.
This game gives students a chance to engage in virtual role reversal and make the same decisions that urban women make, such as safety, transportation, housing, educational and health care choices.
“I hope it can be a tool to reach students because it is hard to imagine what these women actually have to go through,” de Hoyos said.
While the initiative is based in the Nursing School, Hanrahan pointed out that students in other parts of campus — such as students in the Engineering School — have become involved as of late.
For instance, Engineering seniors Kara Hollis, Reid Simon and John Stuckey, Engineering and Wharton senior Valerie Cerasuolo and Nursing graduate student Robin LeBoeuf developed “My Dia Text” — a text message goal reminder system for children who have recently been diagnosed with Type I diabetes.
“It is difficult for kids to acknowledge the disease and change their diet,” Hollis said. “Hopefully [My Dia Text] will help the kids come to terms with what they are dealing with.”
Hanrahan pointed out that games such as My Dia Text are becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the nursing field in general.
“The field is exploding with new applications you can use to do anything with your life,” Hanrahan said. “Even in healthcare, we are using games as a form of therapy.”
Hanrahan added that additional collaboration with the School of Design has further contributed to the interdisciplinary nature of Games Solutions for Healthcare.
She believes that this interdisciplinary aspect reflects the “real world” of modern-day nursing.
“Students are partnering and teaming up as they would in the real world,” Hanrahan said. “I completely believe we should be mixing it up all over the place, learning new ways to think and meet new people you would have never met.”