Professional Poster

An Escape Room as a Method for Teaching Interprofessional Collaboration

Thursday, August 6, 2020, 10:00 am - 10:00 am EDT

Background: Interprofessional collaboration (IPC) improves patient outcomes and reduces healthcare costs. The Crimson Care Collaborative (CCC) is an interprofessional student-faculty collaborative of 7 clinics throughout Boston. Our objective was to assess change in CCC students’ IPC skills after participation in a novel interprofessional escape room.


Methods: We obtained a license agreement from the University of Minnesota to run a pilot session of their beginner Interprofessional Health Care Escape Room (Friedrich et al. 2018). Students received a brief overview of interprofessional education (IPE) and its importance in healthcare. Medical and nurse practitioner students were then divided into mixed-profession teams. Teams had 45 minutes to complete a set of puzzles in simulation rooms while being observed by faculty. Completed puzzles led to clues to find the missing key to a patient locker. Each clue consisted of clinical information from the patient chart and objects in the room, such as locks, Rubik’s cubes, and books. No specific clinical skills or prior knowledge were needed. Groups reconvened afterward, and IPE faculty led a debrief session. Students then completed a retrospective pre-/post-survey that assessed the change in IPC-related competencies (Schmitz et al. 2017). The survey was designed to be completed once, at the end of the activity. The 20-item survey measured skills in 6 categories: communication, collaboration, roles and responsibilities, collaborative patient/family-centered approach, conflict management/resolution, and team functioning using a Likert scale (1=poor; 5=excellent). Students also rated their perceived change in IPC ability on a Likert scale (1=much better now; 5=much worse now). We performed matched t-tests to measure change in IPC skills and looked at frequency of perceived improvement.


Results: 11 students participated and completed the survey. 82% were nurse practitioner students. One survey was removed due to incomplete responses, for a total of 10 surveys. All students reported higher IPC competency scores after the activity (M=4.1, SD=0.6), as compared to before (M=3.5, SD=0.6; p=0.004). Of the 9 students who completed the question, 6 (67%) reported a better ability to collaborate interprofessionally.


Conclusion/Reflections: There was a positive change in IPC competencies after participation in an escape room activity among CCC students. The escape room can be an effective tool in encouraging interprofessional collaboration. We plan on running this activity again.


This project was funded by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Advanced Nursing Education Workforce grant, T94HP30909.