10 Activities and Nursing Games for Students to Stimulate Learning

10 Activities and Nursing Games for Students to Stimulate Learning

Nursing education is a dynamic field, and innovative methods to engage students and foster effective learning have become essential. In this regard, Barbara L. Yoost, MSN, RN, CNS, CNE, ANEF, and Lynne R. Crawford, MSN, RN, MBA, CNE, co-authors of the esteemed “Fundamentals of Nursing,” offer a collection of 10 creative ideas that inject vibrancy and interaction into nursing lessons. These activities not only make learning enjoyable but also cultivate critical thinking, practical skills, and a deeper understanding of nursing concepts.

1. Patient Teaching Pamphlets:
Introduce active learning by constructing sample patient scenarios aligned with the current curriculum. Students are tasked with designing educational pamphlets, flyers, or mini-brochures catering to the specific ailment or injury of the hypothetical patient. Encouraging them to incorporate vital information, such as risk factors, symptoms, treatment options, preventive measures, and accessible resources, ensures a comprehensive approach. Encourage creativity in presentation to make the material not only informative but engaging.

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2. Ace® Wrap Relay Exercises:
Foster teamwork and clinical skill application with this dynamic activity. Students are divided into teams, each responsible for efficiently wrapping and unwrapping designated “patient” body parts using an ace bandage. The ace bandage serves as a symbolic baton, passed from one team member to another. Adding complexity, students could assess circulation, sensation, and mobility after wrapping. Integrating electronic documentation further enhances this active learning exercise.

3. Creating NCLEX® Exam Questions:
Nurture critical thinking by partnering students to formulate 10 NCLEX-style questions centered around specific nursing concepts. These questions should encompass both correct answers and various plausible incorrect responses. Presenting these questions, conducting a class vote, and subsequently dissecting the rationale behind each option promotes interactive learning and sharpens exam preparedness.

4. O2 Bingo:
Transform a classic game into a nursing learning experience. Design bingo boards containing oxygenation-related terms. Pose questions to the class and allow students to mark corresponding answers on their boards. This versatile game can be adapted to various nursing themes, providing a fun yet educational way to reinforce concepts.

5. Creating Medication Commercials:
Encourage creativity and collaborative learning through this activity. Small groups of students are tasked with developing and presenting medication commercials. This exercise can focus on a single medication or cover different ones. After each presentation, initiate discussions comparing real clinical experiences with researched information, fostering a bridge between theoretical learning and practical application.

6. Unfolding Case Studies:
Elevate classroom engagement by introducing unfolding case studies. Commence with fundamental patient assessment data and progressively reveal additional details about the patient’s condition. Equip students with smartphones, tablets, or laptops to reference medication, diagnostic tests, and care planning software. This method imitates real-world clinical decision-making and aids in comprehensive patient care understanding.

7. **Reading Reflections:**
Promote pre-class preparation and active engagement with assigned readings. Prior to the next session, ask students to jot down three key takeaways from their reading, one instance of how that learning could influence clinical practice, and one question they wish to address in class. Sharing these reflections not only cultivates critical reading habits but also initiates collaborative learning through peer discussions.

8. The Sensory Deprivation Experience:
Immerse students in the shoes of patients with sensory limitations. During lessons on functional ability or sensory perception, students take turns experiencing simulated blindness or deafness by wearing blindfolds or earplugs. Post-experience discussions encourage reflection on personal insights and empathy towards patients’ experiences.

9. Name That Personal Care Item:
Elevate students’ familiarity with essential patient care items through an interactive identification game. Present a variety of items, such as bed pans, catheters, and more. Assign each item a number and challenge students to identify and write down the corresponding item name. This activity can be adapted for individual assessments or team-based competitions.

10. Clinical to Classroom:
Bridge the gap between clinical experiences and classroom learning with this engaging activity. Assign a student each week to construct a case study based on a former clinical patient, aligning with the ongoing curriculum. The author presents the case to the class, prompts discussions, and eventually provides “correct answers” derived from class readings, preparatory research, and their own clinical involvement. By sharing real-world scenarios, this activity encourages practical application and in-depth understanding.

These activities are not only a departure from traditional lecture-style learning but also provide a multifaceted approach that enriches nursing education. By embracing these interactive strategies, educators empower nursing students to develop critical skills, think analytically, and integrate theoretical knowledge with practical scenarios, fostering a holistic understanding of the nursing profession.

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