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Gaming to teach skills part of the future of healthcare

Serious games are a big part of health education’s future, says a nursing academic who has helped develop a game that explores safety risks and hazards in care environments.

The application Safe Environments was developed by University of the Sunshine Coast academics and named as one of two industry finalists in the 2016 Serious Games Showcase and Challenge Australasia.

The game is developed in collaboration with Bondi Labs. Players enter environments such as a home, a healthcare facility, a park and a supermarket, and asks them to identify safety risks and hazards for a particular patient.

USC associate professor in nursing Patrea Andersen said the game gives students and healthcare workers an alternative way to engage with this critical information.

“We’ve included more than 100 safety factors, which are spawned differently every time someone plays the game,” Andersen said.

Users receive points for finding and managing the risks, which are linked to the Australian National Safety Standards. Andersen said: “When that element of point-scoring and competition is introduced, there’s suddenly a lot more motivation to develop skills or knowledge traditionally seen as dry.”

Nursing Review sat down with Andersen to discuss the features of the program and why gaming technology is a good fit for health education.

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