Interactive Activities for Nursing Students

Nursing teachers are responsible for not only filling their students’ minds with valuable information, but also teaching them the importance of leadership, teamwork, respect and compassion. With so many skills to teach, nursing classes can become quite monotonous and dull. But with a bit of creativity, you can use interactive activities for nursing students to energize your classroom and keep your students excited.

1 Lab Value Bingo

For the lab value bingo game, you need to create bingo cards for each student in the class. The format of the card should be the same as a traditional bingo card, which features a chart with five columns and five rows. However, rather than filling the boxes in with miscellaneous numbers, you will fill the boxes with patient lab values. Before you begin, make a list of 25 laboratory tests and their normal values. For example, the normal red blood cell value is 4.5 to 5.0 million, while the normal sodium value is 135 to 145. Fill in the bingo cards with the appropriate numbers, arranging the numbers in different patterns for each card. As you play the game, call out the name of the laboratory test. Students must then mark the appropriate lab value on the bingo cards. The first student to mark five consecutive boxes in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line wins the game.

2 Role Playing

Divide the class into small groups of three or four students each. Assign a role to each person in the group. In groups of two, the roles will simply be patient and nurse. However, larger groups can include additional roles to make the role-playing game more challenging. For example, you might ask students to play a doctor, an overbearing parent or a spouse who does not speak English. Give the "patient" a medical condition and help him develop a challenging situation for the “nurse” to handle. It might also be necessary to assign specific tasks to the other characters as well. However, the nurse should remain unaware of the situation. Once all characters are ready, the nurse is informed of only the patient’s medical condition. She must then properly treat the patient based on information provided by the remaining characters.

3 Nursing Jeopardy

The nursing Jeopardy game uses simple trivia questions to test the nursing students’ knowledge. Divide the class into groups of three and ask the first group to sit at the front of the classroom. The teacher asks a trivia question and the three students rush to the chalkboard to answer. The first student to correctly answer the question and return to her seat receives a point. The teacher should pose 10 questions to this first group before moving on to the second group. The entire process continues until all groups have participated. Then, the winning students from each group compete against one another in a final round of Jeopardy.

4 Trust Walk

The trust walk activity is a relatively simple game that does not require the students to use their nursing knowledge. However, the game helps teach them to trust one another and work together. In a large room, set up a simple obstacle course using traffic cones, chairs and small blocks. Arrange the students into groups of two. One partner is blindfolded and the other partner must use verbal cues to direct the blindfolded person through the course. The blindfolded students learn to trust their guides, while the guiding students learn the importance of leadership and proper instruction.

Krista Sheehan is a registered nurse and professional writer. She works in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and her previous nursing experience includes geriatrics, pulmonary disorders and home health care. Her professional writing works focus mainly on the subjects of physical health, fitness, nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.