Volume 26, No. 2: T-E-A-M! (Together Everyone Achieves More)

Get in the Game: Engaging Students in Active Healthcare Instruction

Priscilla Parker, Santa Fe College Career Pathways Coordinator (Priscilla.parker@sfcollege.edu); Nilanjana Caballero, Santa Fe College Sciences for Health Programs Department Chair (nilanjana.caballero@sfcollege.edu); Janine Plavac, Gainesville High School Academy of Health Professions Director (plavacjd@gm.sbac.edu); Kim Smith, CreativEd Executive Director (kims@cfl.rr.com)

The Career Pathways Consortium of Santa Fe College, Alachua County Public Schools, and Bradford County School District has conducted training workshops for local and rural health academy teachers since 2007 to develop strategies and processes that increase the quantity and quality of nursing and allied health professionals in the Heart of Florida.

Our interactive training workshop titled Engaging Students in Active Healthcare Instruction Through Learning Games uses Shadow Health digital clinical health assessments, health sciences bingo, and group activities as innovative tools for energizing secondary and postsecondary students in active healthcare instruction. These tools enable students to enjoy the learning experience and remember what they have learned.

Instructors are challenged to move away from using traditional teaching methods that focus on the teacher and cognitive learning outcomes, and focus on what really matters—the learner. Learning game tools not only help teachers provide relevant course content in meaningful ways but strategically invite the learner to apply course content—to use it, to play with it—to transfer the information from short-term to long-term memory. When instructors simply teach and move on, students do not learn as well as when instructors teach, use (the content), and repeat. The more repetition, the easier it is to retrieve the information.

Students in the Gainesville High School Academy of Health Professions use health science bingo to help them master their medical terminology course, and as preparation for earning advanced college credit when taking the Career Pathways college-level exam for medical terminology. Students take the assessment exam in December. Since 2010, 95 percent of students have earned an A or B for this course on their permanent college transcripts. After high school graduation, these academy students move on to more education at SF College or four-year institutions and become certified to enter jobs such as nursing assistant, pharmacy technician, first responder/EMT physical therapy aide, and rehab aide.

Following are descriptions of some of the resources and games our students have benefitted from using.

The Shadow Health Digital Clinical Health Assessment is a simulated 3D interactive learning environment. Students at the secondary and postsecondary levels benefit from using the Shadow Health resource as a virtual and in-depth clinical environment for Health Assessments. The Shadow Health interactive environment fosters increased confidence in realistic scenarios. Students can conduct patient interviews using the natural language conversation engine and engage in open-ended conversations to gather subjective data and practice patient-centered communication. Faculty can request a demo of this tool. Visit the links provided below to gain a better understanding of this tool. Shadow Health website (www.shadowhealth.com); videos at https://player.vimeo.com/video/101735331 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ws5-9ixtSY.

Play Medical Terminology Bingo to assess students’ knowledge of medical roots, prefixes, suffixes, abbreviations, and other information.

  1. The game is played with standard Bingo cards (5 rows across and down with the middle space a free space).

  2. Use card stock to cut out 2”x 4” index-type word cards for about 50-75 terms.

  3. Give each student 3 blank word cards and using a fine-point sharpie have them each write a term on each word card from your desired list of 50-75 terms (aligned to your textbook or curriculum) and the definition on the other side. Making the word cards can be fun chaos for the students.

  4. Distribute the bingo cards (50 for a class of 25) and follow standard bingo rules, except the teacher reads a word(s) and the student must mark the appropriate word or abbreviation on his/her card.

  5. When a student calls “bingo” (straight bingo or 4 corners), use the word cards to review the right answers.

Timed Recall
Give students 20 seconds to list muscles that begin with the letter B. (biceps brachii, biceps femoris, brachialis, brachioradialis, buccinators, bulbospongiosus) The time limit is important. To be useful, information must be stored (consolidated) so that it can be retrieved when needed, as on a test. A 20-second game, or any game that provides opportunities to repeat content, helps that process. The point is this: When one teaches and moves on, students do not learn as well as when one teaches, uses the content, and repeats. The more repetition, the easier it is to retrieve the information. (Follow the game with a short discussion. Ask students about their experience during the game. Students should say that they were thinking about the entire body to get to the B muscles. Their brains should have been working hard to search for the right answers.)

Blood Signs

  1. Four signs are posted around the room, as 4 teams spread out as far as possible, with the phrases:

    • Red Blood Cells

    • White Blood Cells

    • Platelets

    • Plasma

  2. Slips of paper with the above phrases are distributed before the session begins.

  3. Leader names a question, i.e. question on female reproductive system

    • Name a section of the uterus.

    • What are the breasts mostly made of?

    • When a follicle ruptures, where does the egg go first?

    • Name something that can cause the menstrual cycle to cease.

    • Name a pregnancy-controlling hormone that is not secreted by the ovary.

  4. Participants will be asked to immediately walk to the correct sign.

  5. Team members try to match the leader’s answer. (There is not one clear correct answer.)

  6. Once everyone is under a sign, they should huddle with the people under their sign and determine if anyone wants to move to a different sign.

  7. Team members earn a point if answers match their team leader, or come close.

Engaging students in active healthcare instruction has helped our consortium meet the goals of:

  1. Preparing students for healthcare occupations,

  2. Offering support and training to high school health academy instructors,

  3. Providing career pathways and college credit opportunities,

  4. Increasing the number of qualified health professionals, and

  5. Filling Nursing and Allied Health vacancies in the Heart of Florida.

The Health Sciences Programs at Santa Fe College offer a variety of degrees and certificates in healthcare that lead to high-wage, high-demand careers with outstanding opportunities for professional development. Programs include certificates, advanced technical certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor's degrees. These programs are designed to be accessible to nontraditional students and are offered in response to the current healthcare needs of our community.

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