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Serious Game for Viable Cost-effective Public Health Nursing Practice

Image credit: Community Health Nursing by BreakAway Games

Community Health Nursing developed by BreakAway Games, was selected as a finalist in the 2019 Serious Games Showcase and Challenge in the Business/Nonprofit Category.

One of the areas of interest on which BreakAway Games are focusing and for which they are currently developing apps is Community Health Assessment.

Community Health is a field where simulating an environment for learners to assess and practice their processes makes great sense:
"The recent shift in healthcare delivery from that of the hospital to the community calls for skilled community health nurses. The role and practice of community health nurses differs from that of a nurse clinician. Unlike the skills required for that of a nurse clinician, much of the skills required for community health nursing and their application cannot be developed and practiced within newly developed and highly innovative practice laboratory facilities where the focus of patient care is the individual. Virtual simulation and serious gaming present a viable, cost-effective training option for community health nursing trainees, providing the opportunity to practice within an interactive, engaging, and safe environment. (Stuckless P., Hogan M., Kapralos B., 2014, Virtual Simulations and Serious Games in Community Health Nursing Education: A Review of the Literature. In: Ma M., Jain L., Anderson P. (eds) Virtual, Augmented Reality and Serious Games for Healthcare 1. Intelligent Systems Reference Library, vol 68. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg)."
To that end, BreakAway Games have a few applications currently under development where a learner investigates a community, observes different neighborhoods, communicates with community stakeholders, researches news and reports and more. Once the investigation steps have been completed, the learner selects topics of concern and executes prevention plans to address a set of issues present in the community.

Community Health Nursing tests knowledge and fortifies practices for learners in a public health nursing program. The player-student is responsible for investigating the situation and making decisions as a Public Health Nurse in a small, hypothetical U.S. community.

The initial phase of gameplay involves investigating the neighborhoods of the community to determine what possible issues might be presented. The following phase involves communicating with discovered community members and researching news and reports to determine possible stakeholders and affected demographics within the community.

Image credit: Community Health Nursing by BreakAway Games

A successful player will perform windshield surveys to gain firsthand information about the community; interview community members for awareness of the individual’s understanding or commitment to community conditions, health topics and prevention; research information in news and reports related to various topics and prevention; select a feasible topic to address and select related prevention plans to enact.

Image credit: Community Health Nursing by BreakAway Games
The player must follow the guidance from the Community Health Coordinator to successfully analyze the community.

The final phase permits the player to select a topic upon which they feel has enough warrant to focus their attention. Thereafter they will apply one or more related prevention strategies, each involving targeted community stakeholders and specific demographic groups. Completing these activities prepares the learner to perform their real-world analog activities when they begin their fieldwork.

Image credit: Community Health by BreakAway Games

Each scenario is unique in its community composition, but even within a scenario, a learner has the ability to choose different topics and prevention plans each time, dependent on what they have observed or desired to pursue, with assessment and instrumented metrics pertinent to their performance for each topic and prevention chosen.

The player is assessed on how well they perform the processes involved in executing a prevention plan. The instrumented metrics focus on the relationship between player-marked important observations, interviews and news and the player-selected topics and prevention. Additional assessment is directly related to which stakeholders and demographic groups have been selected for a given prevention plan, and how pertinent those stakeholders and groups are to a specific topic or given prevention plan. As another part of the resource management aspect of the game, after a learner commits to a prevention plan, they are permitted to end the scenario if they wish or continue and observe or build enough community resources to enact additional prevention plans.

There is an assessment report upon completion of the game. This report will enumerate the player’s pertinent actions as well as indicate the actions’ pertinence to the prevention and topics selected.

Aimed at university and post-graduate level community health nursing students, the game challenge is analogous to the real world tasks a Public health nurse performs - observing a community, talking with its members and isolating and addressing public health concerns.