Healthcare students who play Friday Night at the ER demonstrate improved systems thinking skills, according to a new multi-site study published in Nurse Educator.

Lead researcher Jill Sanko from the University of Miami and her peers from five universities analyzed pre- and post-game data from students in six different disciplines, including nursing, medicine, physical therapy, public health, psychology, and pharmacy programs.

They found that students in every discipline, at both undergraduate and graduate levels, significantly increased their scores on the Systems Thinking Scale, a 20-point self-report instrument by playing Friday Night at the ER.

This study, unlike others limited to nursing students, demonstrates both the ease and impact of using the game in a variety of healthcare curricula, according to the authors.

“Building a health care workforce equipped with strong systems thinking skills assists to change the long-held belief that safety is situated within individuals, devices, or single units of an organization to an understanding that safety is found within the system and only when system vulnerabilities are discovered,” wrote Sanko and her co-authors.

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