Board games facilitate teamwork

Remember when you played Monopoly, Scrabble or Activity as a child? You immersed yourself in the game, probed its boundaries and challenged its rules, basically doing everything you could to win. Perhaps you never realized how much you gained from it. You learned how to communicate, how to share, how to wait your turn, how to appreciate others winning and how to think two steps ahead or coordinate with your own team. Sometimes you had to focus, remember things, come up with solutions and present your thoughts in a concise manner.

What you did as a child, had all the characteristics you should have as an adult for being a great team player. So, you are able to elevate your social skills to new heights with board games while enjoying spending time with others. And this impact does not change when we grow up. That’s why we should not forget to play board games as adults.

Monopoly - Board Games

Doctors playing board games = improved healthcare processes

And even if the two seem to be far away from each other: board games can help medicine and healthcare as well. Just think about it: practicing medicine is teamwork. In every department of every hospital, usually, physicians have a meeting in the morning to discuss cases and current events. Medical teams decide about diagnostics, treatment plans, carry out therapies together. And as medicine is becoming more interdisciplinary, teamwork has become more important than ever.

But physicians don’t really have time to go on team building events or vacations together. A time-saving solution could be playing board games together as they take around 30-60 minutes. By the end of the game, they will know much more about their colleagues as everyone introduces themselves from a different side. They can discover the various communication patterns, learn about themselves and the others while enjoying some quality time together. In the end, social cohesion and communication within the team will improve without outside pressure and consciousness about it.

Playing board games

I believe this is something that plenty of healthcare facilities could introduce into their operations to help their colleagues collaborate and work together more efficiently. And as their team work improves, the entire process of treating patients could have an efficiency boost; which results in more satisfied patients and a less stressful working environment. A win-win situation. Here, I collected board games with the highest impact factor to help facilitate change within the hospital.

1) The Sepsis: board game for treating a serious condition right

Sepsis is a sly condition: it’s the organism’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. In other words, it’s your body’s toxic response to an infection. The appropriate handling of sepsis requires the supervision of different departments and groups within a hospital, which requires excellent cooperation and coordination.

The UK Sepsis Trust and NHS England decided help create a board game together with Focus Games to facilitate the treatment and the diagnosis of this dangerous condition. The game itself is meant to improve teamwork in an interdisciplinary fashion. The players get two decks of cards: one deck of cards contains basic medical questions, while the second includes questions about sepsis – how to diagnose it, how to treat it, how to be fast and efficient, how to make teamwork more efficient. The best trait of the game is that the players need to talk. Describe how they would diagnose sepsis, how they would treat it, what they would do if something went wrong. A much better way of mastering the fight against a disease than sitting through the millionth lecture with a power point presentation.

Board games

2) Hospital Life: the socialized, 3D version of Theme Hospital

This interactive board game was developed with NHS Scotland also by Focus Games and demonstrates how patients move around a healthcare facility. Hospital Life is perfect to make a group of hospital workers, employees of a department sit down together and talk about the operational processes of a medical facility.

This game was meant to improve teamwork. The players take up different roles by using different badges (nursing charge, junior doctor, general manager, etc.). Its ultimate goal is to make the process of treating patients more efficient (how to improve teamwork, how to communicate within the team itself, etc.) – and to basically make the team members talk more to each other. It takes 45-60 minutes to complete the game and it is guaranteed that staff members will have much more knowledge about each other’s work and the overall hospital processes than before.

Board games

3) Dr. Jargon: the board game for the translation of medical language

Did you ever have the experience of trying to read a discharge summary? It is stuffed with Latin expressions and figures of speech nowhere else used in daily life. Adjuvant therapy? Cerebellum? Cytotoxic drugs? Most of the times Google is more of our friend than the physicians in trying to explain it – as most of the times, they are explaining conditions and treatments with a lot of medical jargon. And even if you ask them about the foreign words, you either feel stupid or you get a response with a different jargon.

Dr. Jargon by Focus Games aims to help improve exactly the communication of doctors to their patients in a playful way. The objective of the game is to remove jargon from explaining conditions, diseases, treatments. For example, you pick a card for example with the word migraine on it, while on the back of the card you also get 5 words to avoid. A brilliant way to force out jargon from the language of medicine!

4) Healing Blade: the (board) Game of Thrones for learning antibiotics

As a medical student, you have to memorize plenty of information, which takes a lot of time and energy. And most of the times, there is no rational or logical explanation behind the labels, titles or a huge bulk of the material in general. Nerdcore Medical’s board game aims to help learn about antibiotics and bacteria.

They placed the entire scene into a Game of Thrones-like setting. The world of Soma is under siege by the Lords of Pestilence. Hideous invaders like Anthrax, Pertussis, Cholera, and the Black Death are running rampant inside the country’s borders, attempting to murder innocents. The helpless people of Soma’s only hope is that the Apothecary Healers, their god-like saviors, will save them. That’s the description of the game itself. You already want to save the innocent people of Soma, don’t you?

The real-life features of bacteria and antibiotics are described on various cards – with weird names which you will definitely remember. By playing it, you will learn how to treat bacteria with the right kinds of antibiotics in an exciting and playful way – without much less struggle than sitting over your books in the library.

Healing Blade - Board Games

5) Impact: the board game for game changers

As I fell in love with the concept of the Canadian Idea Couture, the creators of the Impact board game immediately, I backed their crowd-funding project a few months ago. I was over the moon when I heard that their campaign succeeded. You cannot figure out a more fun and efficient way to think about how technological developments will change our lives and what impact they will have on our societies.

The game itself plays out in the future. The players have 10 types of resources – natural resources, transportation, energy, services, manufacturing, etc. Then you pick a card with a job from the future: your role in the game. These are mind-blowingly creative! You can become an artificial intelligence whisperer, a bio-entrepreneur or even Martian migrator. And you have to fulfill your job the best you can. You should play out your best with the impact cards in order to have the right amount of impact cubes on the resources you need. But the main point is: you talk. You must reflect constantly upon what technological changes mean to us in our everyday lives, and how these will impact our entire society. When you want to have great discussions and debates with your friends on how technologies will alter our future, Impact should be your choice.

Playing Board Games

No matter what kind of game you choose, it is easier to learn and improve by playing. That’s why gamification has such promising results also in healthcare. So why not leverage the benefits of board games in hospitals to improve teamwork? Let’s do it!

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