Nurses make a game to prevent drug errors

Who knew that a game could help nurses prevent committing drug errors? In London, a board game has been designed to teach health care professionals to understand, recognize, and minimize medication errors.

The School of Health Sciences at City University London and Health Education England helped Focus Games Ltd. develop the game, which is more known as the “Drug Round Game” and is specifically designed for nurses and other health care professionals who are involved in the administration of medications to patients. Basically, this board game helps improve players’ understanding of what medication errors are, the impact they have on patient safety and why they happen.

Studies have shown that patient safety as well as medicines management are areas of concern for all healthcare providers, and patients. Though most medicines incidents and overdoses are avoidable with appropriate education and training, the majority of avoidable errors happen when drugs are being administered. However, it is likely that more effective staff training can reduce errors by improving knowledge, confidence and numeracy.

3015412_drugroundphoto2Dynamics of the game

The game is a face to face group learning activity where two teams compete to answer questions on a selection of topics and was developed by Karen Rawlings-Anderson and Janet Hunter, who are both senior lecturers in adult nursing at the university.

An adaptation of “Snakes and Ladders,” the Drug Round Game gives its players the opportunity to exchange ideas, participate in interactive discussions relating to medication safety and to practice drug calculations in a safe and relaxed environment. The game has a narrative structure which covers covering specific issues such as the nature of errors and where and how they occur, and also the potential impact of errors on patient safety.Games usually last 45 to 60 minutes.

Subjects specifically dealt with in the game include causes of medication errors, administering medication, medicines management, practical advice to minimize errors, drug calculations and adherence.

A fun way to learn

According to Stan Newman, Dean of the School of Health Sciences at City University London, “Knowledge about drugs and when and how to use them is critical for patient well-being and safety. What better way for health care students to learn than by playing a game.”

Also, Tia Khan, from the research and enterprise department at City, states that “In collaboration with Focus Games, we were pleased to help support and fund novel board games developed by our staff members. Their vision was to provide a simple but effective means of supporting front line medical staff with drug calculation and patient safety practice in a fun and safe environment.”

“The board game helps to practice and refresh skills,” she adds.



Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

What Do You Think?