University of South Carolina Hosts ‘Friday Night at the ER’ Educational Game Workshop June 7-8th

The Clinical Simulation Lab at the University of South Carolina will host an educational event featuring the serious game, Friday Night at the ER June 7-8, 2018 and registration is now open to join them! Led by Professor Carol Durham of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the two-day workshop includes a game experience and debrief and an optional train-the-trainer session for those who want to lead Friday Night at the ER within their own organizations.

Friday Night at the ER is commonly used to teach healthcare students essential soft skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and innovation, and is widely used by hospitals, simulation centers and universities throughout the country. The game can be played for groups of 4 to 200+!

The learning begins with a tabletop game set in a hospital. Each person plays the role of a hospital department manager during a simulated 24-hour period. Players are challenged to manage patient flow, limited resources and unexpected events all while providing quality care at a reasonable cost. The game is followed by an interactive discussion. No healthcare experience is necessary – just a desire to learn how to work effectively across boundaries to achieve team or organizational goals.


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Each simulated hour, patients arrive, transfer between departments and exit. Department managers complete tasks, manage resources, make decisions and document results. They are pressured by time limits, quality and cost measures and interactions with peers. The activity simulates the flow of people or goods through parts of an organization. It feels “frighteningly real,” as one CEO put it, yet people enjoy the experience. The gameplay is highly engaging and teams are motivated to perform well.

What does Friday Night at the ER teach?

  • Applied systems thinking
  • Collaboration across boundaries
  • Smart innovation
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Designing structure for desired behavior

The workshop is also an opportunity for people to evaluate Friday Night at the ER for potential use within their own organization. Below is a video of the game in use at Purdue University:


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“As more medical and nursing schools are obliged to teach teamwork, system appreciation and interprofessional collaboration,” explains game designer Bette Gardner, “educators are seeking new ways to teach these essential skills. This is why experiential learning tools like Friday Night at the ER are so helpful. It’s one thing to lecture to students about these concepts. It’s quite another to show them how to put these behaviors into practice. Ours is a simulation that teaches leadership and critical thinking skills instead of clinical skills.”

Registration for the workshop is $475 ($250 for academics) and includes lunch both days.

Learn more and Register for Friday Night at the ER at University of South Carolina!


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