AHC Escape Rooms: Finding the Key to Interprofessional Collaboration

June 21, 2018

Picture yourself “locked” in a room with a group of interprofessional colleagues and a hypothetical patient. Your only means of escape is to work together to solve a series of puzzles to determine the best care for this patient and unlock the room- sounds fun, right?

The Fall­–Winter 2017 issue of Minnesota Nursing Magazine highlighted the interprofessional escape room experience created by the 1Health Interprofessional Education team and held at the School of Nursing’s Bentson Healthy Communities Innovation Center during the 2017-2018 academic year. To date, over four-hundred and ninety-three health professional students have participated in the fun experience designed to test teamwork skills by solving puzzles to unravel a real-world patient care scenario.

This summer the 1Health Interprofessional Education program, in partnership with the School of Nursing’s Bentson Center, is expanding the escape room experience to include faculty and staff rooms alongside the student rooms.

Clinical Associate Professor, Cheri Friedrich, DNP, APRN, CPNP-BC, is the coordinator and lead developer of the escape room simulation. Her hope in offering this experience to faculty and staff is to get them excited about the simulation and encourage more students to participate in future escape rooms. The escape room is also an enjoyable activity that promotes interprofessional teamwork across the Academic Health Center. 

Faculty and staff teams will be presented with the same escape room challenge experienced by students. While the escape room has a health focus, some puzzles have a financial or transportation theme, allowing non-health colleagues to share their expertise. “The more interprofessional the better,” says Friedrich, “We had [student] groups from other areas such as ethics. They enjoyed the experience and had to learn to rely on the team and technology, but they still had a great time”.

After faculty and staff teams complete the escape room they will participate in a debriefing session to discuss their experience and provide feedback. This invaluable information will help the development team improve on future escape room experiences. 

Friedrich and her team have collaborated with the UMN Office for Technology Commercialization to share the escape room simulations with other institutions through a licensing agreement.  She has seen interest from dozens of sites including some as far away as Japan. She also hopes to build an online network of escape room experiences where other organizations can share challenges they have developed.

The next escape room experience for faculty and staff is July 24th. If you are interested in participating, register using the link below. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdSOujExZpQ1ZyeaySzXBT-IkUFxAXV_kg1o4cRvJ1TsSnYMQ/viewform