Nursing students create games to teach about healthcare issues
“Mission Reintegration” game aims to educate soldiers about warning signs of PTSD during deployment
April 18, 2012, 11:06 pm · Updated April 23, 2012, 12:11 am·
An interactive game that educates soldiers about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder is among 10 different games that will be presented at the School of Nursing’s Game Solutions for Health Care competition today.
Teams consisting of students and professors from various schools and centers across campus have submitted entries into the competition, which requires entrants to create interdisciplinary games that can improve nurse-patient relationships as well as create solutions to contemporary healthcare problems.
Nursing graduate student Shannon Richmond created a game to do just that.
On the heels of a visit to campus last Wednesday by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden — during which they announced a major new initiative to improve resources for those struggling with PTSD — Richmond’s “Mission Reintegration” game aims to educate soldiers about the warning signs of PTSD during deployment. It also looks to help them build support networks with other soldiers before they return home to civilian life.
“In light of Obama and Biden’s visit last week, the game that [Richmond] developed represents the commitment of nurses to caring for military members and their families,” said Nursing professor Nancy Hanrahan, who has spearheaded the gaming initiative.
Richmond explained that Mission Reintegration utilizes an iPad application to connect deployed military personnel through card and dice games. It also serves as a tool to help users recognize and discuss PTSD symptoms they may be experiencing.
“I want veterans to overcome this stigma [of PTSD], but it’s so ingrained,” Richmond said. “These guys need the help, but don’t reach out.”
Hanrahan added that Mission Reintegration teaches soldiers self-care techniques for dealing with stress, prepares the soldiers for possible stress and trauma and teaches them to recognize when a mental health issue becomes a problem requiring professional care.
Richmond had the idea for the game after she completed her clinical requirement at the Veterans Administration, where she met Vietnam War veterans who, after as many as 50 years, were finally recognizing PTSD symptoms and seeking treatment.
“Patients aren’t seeking providers and providers aren’t seeking out patients,” Richmond said. “After a two-week period of reintegration, there is no mandatory follow up.”
According to Richmond, the game — though not yet in playable mode — has been well received among military leaders to whom she has presented it.
“Richmond just got involved in the timely call for action put forth by Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden in the Joining Forces Initiative to support our military and their families,” Nursing and Perelman School of Medicine professor Rosemary Polomano, Richmond’s faculty mentor, wrote in an email. “This game will be among the many available national resources to arm our returning service members with needed information and advice.”
“I have so much faith in the game and the process,” Richmond added. “Because of the Nursing School’s healthcare initiative, I can turn it into something instrumental, something real.”