Thinking outside the box: Surgical inpatient unit organizes scavenger hunt to help orient staff at the Glen

“You need to pee. Find the closest bathroom!”

Nurses from the Children’s Surgical Inpatient Unit scour the floor in search of the closest lavatory, where they’ll also find their next clue. Since March, Christina Duperreault, the unit’s assistant head nurse, and Stephanie Lepage, a nursing professional development educator, have been organizing regular scavenger hunts for their nursing team. The wayfinding exercise is one of the creative ways they’re training staff at the Glen.

Training day

The training sessions run from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and six to 12 nurses are invited to attend. Each participant receives a map of the unit and gets to explore the floor for 30 minutes on their own. Christina and Stephanie then host a two-hour official tour where nurses are briefed and trained on a number of different protocols and new pieces of equipment, including the nursing call system and pneumatic tube system. “We then break up into teams of two and start the scavenger hunt,” explains Christina. “The exercise helps recap what they’ve already learned. We wanted to organize a fun and helpful activity for them and so far we’ve been getting great feedback!”

The goal of the scavenger hunt is to help orient staff and get them accustomed to a new routine. Each clue leads to the next one and the entire activity lasts about 20 minutes. Once the scavenger hunt is over, they move on to completing 12 patient care scenarios. “When developing these simulations we really thought about what do these nurses need to know on day 1,” says Stephanie. “How do you call a Code Blue? How do you find a colleague who is down the hall? How do you call for help?” After lunch, the group then moves on to a hospital-wide tour. “Once the hospital opens, our nurses will be expected to bring their patients to different parts of the hospital, like Medical Imaging for example, so they also have to know where everything is at the Glen,” she says.

New environment

Their new environment is very different and much larger than their current space. Twenty-four patient rooms will now be spread over two pods, one on the south side and the other in the centre. The north pod is reserved for the new Acute Care Unit and will be run by intensive care nurses, however, the surgical nurses still need to be familiar with this space because they will be sharing the breast milk room, procedure room and playroom.

Next steps

By early May, all 40 nurses will have been trained, and then Christina and Stephanie will begin training the clerks and patient care attendants on May 11. “We’re going to adapt the training session to their needs. We will still have a scavenger hunt, but this session will be more about explaining their new role in their new space.” And of course, showing them where the closest bathroom is!