Engaging & Easy To Run

The first in our informational series on Nursing Escape Rooms

Simulation in nursing education is no longer an add-on to a curriculum. It has become a necessity in today’s environment, in part due to the ever-increasing challenge to obtain valuable direct patient clinical experiences.
Simulation also allows for the customization of objectives and skills where learning is experiential. Learners must use critical thinking to make decisions. Simulation can be offered at a convenient time and with specific clinical situations and goals that learners may never otherwise observe on a real patient. Learners are immersed in a patient event that is realistic but safe…for the learner and the “patient”.
Findings show that there are many benefits to learners for making mistakes in simulation. The reality of simulation is, however, that it is often challenging to anticipate all the errors a learner could make. If a learner makes a mistake that is not predicted, the scenario or the room may not be set up to account for the error. Planning can be arduous, and mistakes can be overlooked even by the most prepared facilitators.

NURSING ESCAPE ROOMS offer an engaging, inexpensive, and predictable addition to a nursing simulation program.

Learners work together to solve problems and puzzles while reinforcing concepts learned in theory in a hands-on but “safe” and engaging setting. Escape rooms are also, by their very nature, pre-planned with no unexpected student errors.
Like any effective simulation, the escape room must be well-planned and include:
  • A needs assessment
  • Measurable objectives
  • A prebriefing
  • A relevant scenario
  • Plan for types of fidelity (escape rooms can be low, high fidelity, or include a combination)
  • A learner-centered approach
  • A debriefing
  • An evaluation plan
  • Practice run-through sessions (alpha and beta testers)
There are different types of escape rooms.
  • Linear – Simple to create. A solved puzzle leads to the next puzzle to solve until learners reach the end of the escape room.
  • Non-Linear – A little more complex to create. The puzzles do not need to be solved in any order until the learners come to a larger puzzle. The larger puzzle often utilizes pieces discovered from other puzzles.
  • Multi-Linear – Complex with clinical judgment involvement. These require teamwork, collaboration, and even delegation to solve successfully. This could be a good choice for nursing education because they lend themselves easily to adding “detours”. In the event a learner gets an answer to a critical nursing intervention or assessment incorrect, the simulation takes a “detour”. This mimics a real-life event as well as a well-planned simulation and adds a true nursing critical thinking element. The detour requires the learner to correct the situation.
    • For example – If the learner misses a crucial piece of the assessment, such as decreased oxygen saturation, the “detour” can change the status of the patient. At this point, additional puzzles would need to be solved to get back on track. This, of course, takes up additional time.
A map of the activities and puzzles can be a very effective tool to get a good view of the overall scenario and the puzzles that need to be solved in the room. A map also allows for multiple facilitators to make use of the escape room. When engaging multiple groups of learners, the room will need to be reset between games. A map makes this simple and quick.
 A nursing education escape room creates an engaging learning opportunity to enhance skills and boost understanding of concepts learned in theory. Learners are motivated and gain self-confidence in working collaboratively in a “safe” environment.

For the most effective tips on planning your own nursing escape room visit for upcoming NEd Talks including escape room information on:
  • Developing a needs assessment
  • Puzzle ideas for learners to solve
  • Meeting INACSL Standards (The International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning)
  • Prebriefing and debriefing also has pre-written and complete nursing escape rooms to use in your classroom. They have been developed by nurse educators to meet the standards of nursing simulation design.

To find out more about escape rooms and INACSL Standards VISIT: