Gamification In Nurse Education

Educational Need for Gamification?

“a motivated learner can’t be stopped” (Prensky, 2003, pg. 1).

“Unfortunately, in this day and age much of the content that needs to be learned by students is not directly motivating to them and the word ‘boring’, or one of its politically correct synonyms such as ‘dry’ and ‘technical’ often crosses their lips – whether the learners be in school, college, corporations, professions, or even the military” (Prensky, 2003, pg. 1).

Benefits of Gamification

  • Goal orientated learning.
  • Fun.
  • Motivates.
  • Captures interest.
  • Problem solving.
  • Opportunity to design and create (coding).
  • Can create friendly competition.
  • Incentives.
  • Badges for achievement.
  • Safe environment to explore, succeed and importantly fail.
  • Provides timely feedback.
  • Social learning.
  • Scaffold learning as progress through a game.
  • Learning is visible.
  • Develops learner for higher IT skills.
  • Tracking and analytics (especially for the educator).

Gamification Examples for Adult Learners 

  • Pokemon Go
  • SICKO (Surgical decision-making from Stanford Uni)
  • Septris (Sepsis management from Stanford Uni)
  • Traffic Light Lets You Play Pong

Gaming Stats

  • In recent years, the video game industry has become the leading form of entertainment in terms of global total revenue.
  • In the United States, it surpassed the movie and music industries in 2005 and 2007, respectively, and in 2013, it is expected to exceed $76 billion globally.
  • More than half of Americans (58%) play video games, with an average of two gamers in each gameplaying household.
  • Forty percent of all gamers are female.
  • And contrary to popular belief that only teenagers play video games, 49% of gamers are between ages 18 and 49.3.
  • Only 25% of gamers are under 18, and 26% of gamers are over age 50; the average gamer spends 13 hours a week playing video games.

(Tsui, Lau & Shieh, 2014)

Gamification for Nurses? 

The digital citizen and digital nursing student are now among us and so we need to consider if the nursing workforce are ready for gaming as part of their ongoing educational needs? The data above shows age and sex aren’t major factors in what is likely a presumed male dominated educational approach. So it’s time to develop and engage in gamification and measure the effectiveness for nursing education.

Keywords: Gaming, gamification, play, learning, networking, human mind.

Relevant Posts:


Prensky, M. (2003). Digital game-based learning. Computers in Entertainment (CIE), 1(1), 21-21.

Mesko, B. (2016) Tips For How To Use Web 20 In Medicine (2007)

Tsui, J., Lau, J., & Shieh, L. (2014). Septris and SICKO: implementing and using learning analytics and gamification in medical education. Educause, March.

Graafland M, Schraagen JM, Schijven MP. Systematic review of serious games for medical education and surgical skills training. Br J Surg. 2012 Oct 1;99(10):1322–30.

The Art and Science of Game Based Learning Infographic