Category: Health Magazine, Learning & Discovery, Winter 2024

Title:‘Escape room’ teaches nurses how to work under pressure

seven nursing students in medical scrubs smile together in a medical room
During their first semester in the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice Program, School of Nursing students put their skills to the test for an “Escape Room” simulation in the O’Neill Family Foundation Clinical Simulation Center. The simulation was created by Assistant Professor Megan McAuliffe, DNP, CRNA. Photo: Georgetown University / O’Neill Family Foundation Clinical Simulation Center

One locked room, five or six Georgetown students, one hour or less. The objective: to work as a team, putting their skills to the test to escape the simulation room faster than their peers in seven other groups.

“Escape rooms have historically served as an entertainment or recreational activity, but they are gaining popularity in a variety of healthcare-related fields,” explains Megan McAuliffe, assistant professor and simulation laboratory director of Georgetown’s Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice Program. “Our students are immersed in a scenario and challenged with a specific goal where they must workcollaboratively to uncover clues, complete tasks, and solve puzzles within a time-constrained environment.”

three people in medical scrubs write on a whiteboard
Photos: Georgetown University / O’Neill Family Foundation Clinical Simulation Center

The stressful environment of an escape room mimics the pressure of the clinical environment where these future nurse anesthetists will practice. All students who participated in the escape room simulation were in their first semester of the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice Program (DNAP), a rigorous three-year program that trains graduates to become certified by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).

“It was such a fun way to think through all of the things we had learned the past semester,” says Ally Tromer (G’26). “We now want escape rooms for anatomy and everything else we do in labs.”

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