Sloppy Mountain Medical Center: Online Escape Room to Practice Teamwork Skills

Monday, Jul 30, 2018, 9:45 am - 11:15 am


Hospital medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. That is 700 people per day. Myriad factors contribute to these statistics including system errors and possibly the prevalent model of health education. Current models do not adequately prepare future healthcare professionals to work in effective team-based healthcare environments and in order to do so, interprofessional groups of students need practice in communicating effectively, developing trust, sharing team goals, leading a team, ensuring mutual support, and problem solving.

To provide an opportunity for a large number of students to practice these skills, 800 students from six health profession colleges at the Medical University of South Carolina came together to play a computer-based team-building game. The game is designed to challenge small interprofessional groups of students with a set of tasks that demand effective communication, leadership skills, efficient collaboration, and interprofessional cooperation.

Each player functions on their team as an imaginary healthcare provider with all of the rights, privileges and responsibilities associated with all aspects of patient care management including treatment planning, medication ordering, specimen collection, lab ordering and interpretation, and hospital discharging. Teams consist of 3 or 4 players. Each team has a total of 9 (3-player game) or 12 (4-player game) patients to discharge from the "Sloppy Mountain Medical Center" as quickly as possible. Each player has access to only one of the rooms in the medical center (3 patients per room per player). Each player is responsible for discharging his/her 3 patients. However, most of the information and resources needed to discharge patients is contained in the other team members' rooms. This forces teams to work together, communicate clearly, collaborate effectively, and plan efficiently to discharge all of the patients quickly.

Student survey results (41% return rate) indicated that 72% agreed the game was valuable, 73% said it was challenging, and 77% said they would recommend it. Student comments included statements such as, "It was impossible to not work in your team", and "It really required us to communicate and ask questions to peers."

Learning Objectives:

  • Work in a team to play game
  • Discuss benefits/challenges
  • Identify ways to use game in IPE and practice settings
  • Discuss how to extend activity beyond one-time experience

Participants play the game and participate in a debrief to discuss relevance/applicability to teamwork skills implementation strategies


  1. Bandali, K., Parker, K., Mummery, M., & Preece, M. (2008). Skills integration in a simulated and interprofessional environment: An innovative undergraduate applied health curriculum. Journal of Interprofessional Care,22(2), 179-189.
  2. Shanafelt, T., Sinsky, C. A., & Swenson, S. (2017, November 21). Medical Errors and Preventable Deaths in U.S. Hospitals. Retrieved March 10, 2018, from
  3. Stehlik, P., Frotjold, A., & Schneider, C. R. (2017). Effect of hospital simulation tutorials on nursing and pharmacy student perception of interprofessional collaboration: Findings from a pilot study. Journal of Interprofessional Care,32(1), 115-117.
  4. Titzer, J. L., Swenty, C. F., & Hoehn, W. G. (2012). An Interprofessional Simulation Promoting Collaboration and Problem Solving among Nursing and Allied Health Professional Students. Clinical Simulation in Nursing,8(8), E325-E333.

Social Media: @sloppymountain


Interprofessional Continuing Education

This activity has been planned and implemented by the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. In support of improving patient care, the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. The intent is to provide accreditation and continuing education credit for this workshop. For questions regarding continuing education, please email