The Resilience Challenge

Jennifer Jackson is a Registered Nurse and Resilience ChallengeMPhil/PhD Student in the Centre for Applied Resilience in Healthcare, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery at King’s College London. She was involved in the creation of Resilience Challenge, a new interactive video game, aiming to raise awareness about the risks associated with work pressures and start conversations about how clinicians can promote patient safety while working under pressure.

There are many pressures in healthcare systems, all of which have an impact on people working in healthcare. While many of us recognise these pressures, there isn’t a lot of research evidence available about how we should deal with them. Resilience Challenge, a new interactive video game, aims to raise awareness about the risks associated with these pressures and start conversations about how clinicians can promote patient safety while working under pressure.

In the early 2000’s, Safer Healthcare Now and other initiatives were launched to improve the 10% error rate in hospitals worldwide. After more than a decade of research, and billions of dollars of funding, the error rate remains unchanged. So, what went wrong? There are several perspectives on why patient safety hasn’t improved. These include a) we didn’t understand safety as a socio-cultural system, not just the presence or absence of errors b) we need to strengthen what goes right, not just eliminate what goes wrong, and c) we need better engagement between researchers and clinicians to make sure that researchers are addressing clinical realities and that research findings are becoming part of clinical practice. 

Resilience Challenge is one way that researchers in the Centre for Applied Resilience in Healthcare (CARe) at King’s College London are addressing these questions. We are studying how we foster organisational resilience to improve patient safety and support clinicians to provide high quality care. CARe's goal is to make healthcare systems work safely for everyone involved.

Organisational resilience is the ability of a system to adapt safely to pressures in healthcare. The Resilience Challenge videogame supports nurses, doctors, and healthcare professionals to explore this concept, and understand what it means in practice. Organisational resilience is not about individuals coping with poor working conditions; it’s about creating better environments in hospitals so that people can give great care. We want to have conversations about how healthcare professionals are not liabilities; they are the biggest source of safety in our healthcare system. “Human error” is not the enemy. The ideas from organisational resilience research are being developed by researchers, but have not made it into the mainstream safety discourse. This video game was designed as a tool to connect clinicians with new ideas about safety.

The video game is based on guiding a patient’s journey through the hospital safely. It combines comic book style visuals with accurate medical imagery to create an experience that is both familiar and imaginative. We want to engage with people from a broad range of backgrounds including healthcare students, professionals, and the public to understand the pressures healthcare providers face at work, and how organisations can support clinicians and safe decision-making. While clinicians are our target audience, anyone can play the game. We also wanted to represent the diverse teams that work within hospitals.

Since its release in early February, the video game has been played more than a thousand times, and has been discussed in blog posts in Australia, Canada, the USA and the UK. It has reached audiences such as nurses, physicians, allied healthcare professionals, researchers, human factors and safety scientists, digital health communities, artists, game developers, and the public.

Creating Resilience Challenge has been an empowering process. As researchers and clinicians, it was a new opportunity to connect with artists and software developers to create a project way outside our comfort zones! There were many opportunities to learn new skills, from writing disclaimers to designing our comic book-style hospital. However, the feedback has been supportive and insightful, and has opened new research avenues for us to pursue. We have also created new connections internationally, which will help use to share projects and learn from other colleagues. We encourage others to reach out to other sectors for new collaborations, as it has been a really positive experience.

Resilience Challenge is a collaboration between King's College London's Centre for Applied Resilience in Healthcare and Karman Interactive, brokered and supported by the Cultural Institute at King's.

Play Resilience Challenge now.

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