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Nurse educators often feel overwhelmed with the amount of material to teach in a limited time frame. To teach about the gastrointestinal (GI) system and touch on anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, interpreting laboratory results, pharmacology, and nursing priorities, I developed a game for use with prelicensure nursing students. The game is called "Liver Pursuit," based on "Trivial Pursuit." To play, students divide into small groups of 5 to 6 members each. Alternating turns, each group has a chance to answer a multiple-choice question that I read as the game host about the liver or GI system. When the group answers the question correctly, they earn one of several organs. They need to collect all 5 organs and assemble them correctly to win the game. If the group answers the question incorrectly, another team has a chance to answer the question correctly and earn the organ.


To prepare for this game, I use construction paper to cut out appropriately colored, life-size, 2-dimensional figures representing the various organs of the GI system for each team. I make sure that the stomach, intestines, gall bladder, liver, and pancreas fit together like a puzzle. With a marker, I write the laboratory values that correspond on each organ (eg, alanine aminotransferase, amylase, lipase). The visualization of the laboratory values on each organ helps to reinforce knowledge. The process of fitting the organs together guides students to appreciate the structure of the flow between the organs and how the organs interrelate. The application-level, multiple-choice questions test cognitive knowledge and assist with NCLEX-RN readiness. Furthermore, the gaming strategy generates enthusiasm, competition, and participation from the students.


By Cynthia Foronda, PhD, RN, CNE, CHSE, ANEF, Associate Professor of Clinical, School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida (