Background Neonatal healthcare professionals require frequent simulation-based education (SBE) to improve their cognitive, psychomotor and communication skills during neonatal resuscitation. However, current SBE approaches are resource-intensive and not routinely offered in all healthcare facilities. Serious games (board and computer based) may be effective and more accessible alternatives.
Objective To review the current literature about serious games, and how these games might improve knowledge retention and skills in neonatal healthcare professionals.
Method Literature searches of PubMed, Google Scholar, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL, Web of Science and EMBASE databases were performed to identify studies examining serious games in neonatology. All games, such as board games, tabletop games, video games, screen-based simulators, tabletop simulators and virtual reality games were included.
Results Twelve serious games were included in this review (four board games, five video games and three virtual reality games). Overall, knowledge improvement was reported for the RETAIN (REsuscitationTrAINing for healthcare professionals) board game (10% increase in knowledge retention) and The Neonatology Game (4.15 points higher test score compared with control). Serious games are increasingly incorporated into Nursing and Medical School Curriculums to reinforce theoretical and practical learning.
Conclusions Serious games have the potential to improve healthcare professionals’ knowledge, skills and adherence to the resuscitation algorithm and could enhance access to SBE in resource-intensive and resource-limited areas. Future research should examine important clinical outcomes in newborn infants.
- serious games
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Contributors Conception: GMS, SKG, SDP, MC, MRGB, TJ, PvH. Literature search: GMS, SKG, SDP, MC, MRGB, TJ, PvH. Drafting of the manuscript: GMS, SKG, MC, MRGB, SDP, TJ, PvH. Critical revision of the manuscript: GMS, SKG, MC, MRGB, SDP, TJ, PvH. Final approval of the manuscript: GMS, SKG, MC, MRGB, SDP, TJ, PvH.
Funding We thank the public for donating money to our funding agencies: SKG is a recipient of the Maternal and Child Health (MatCH) Scholarship Program (supported by the University of Alberta, Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, Women and Children’s Health Research Institute and the Lois Hole Hospital for Women). GMS is a recipient of the Heart and Stroke Foundation/University of Alberta Professorship of Neonatal Resuscitation, a National New Investigator of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada and an Alberta New Investigator of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Alberta.
Competing interests MRGB, PvH and GMS have registered the RETAIN board game (Tech ID 2017083) and the RETAIN video game under Canadian copyright (Tech ID 2017086). MRGB and GMS are owners of RETAIN Labs Medical, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (https://www.playretain.com), which is distributing the game.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
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