Friday Night at the ER: Health Sciences Students Play Board Game to Learn Collaboration

Students playing board game.

Published June 1, 2022


UB’s Office of Interprofessional Education held nine sessions of the game, which teaches the importance of collaboration, with students in the programs of athletic training, audiology, counseling psychology, dietetics, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant (Canisius College), public health, social work and speech language pathology.

The game provided an opportunity for new health professions students to engage in interprofessional education — learning about, from and with students in other health professions programs — during their first semester of study.

“Playing the serious game Friday Night at the ER provides our first-year health professions students with an opportunity to begin developing their teamwork and collaboration skills — skills that are essential to ensure optimal health care outcomes — and the students are accomplishing this goal in a fun environment,” says Patricia J. Ohtake, assistant vice president for interprofessional education.

The game is used by Fortune 500 companies and universities to teach the principles of collaboration, innovation and data-driven decision-making. It challenges teams of four players to manage a busy hospital during a simulated 24-hour period.

“The experience focuses on collaboration, innovation and data-driven decision-making, which are all core strategies to high-functioning interprofessional teams,” says Nicholas Fusco, clinical associate professor and vice chair for education, practice and service in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

During each simulated hour of the game, patients arrive, are transferred throughout the hospital and exit the hospital when they finish their care. The four players at each board work collaboratively to ensure high-quality health care is delivered while costs are contained.

 “It is fantastic to watch nursing and other health professions students engaged around a game board, acquiring invaluable knowledge about systems thinking, including collaboration, innovation and data-driven decision-making,” says Kelly Foltz-Ramos, director of simulation and assistant professor in the School of Nursing.

Martin Vidal, a 2003 alumnus of the College of Arts and Sciences, and president and CEO of Trusted Nurse Staffing, is acutely aware of the importance of interprofessional education and collaborative experiences for health care students. He generously donated $3,500 in support of this initiative, funds that will enable the Office of Interprofessional Education to purchase a set of new game boards for the experience.