MSOE brought the popular “Escape Room” trend to the classroom with “Escape the Lab,” a fun way for students to prepare for exams by racing against the clock to solve a series of challenges and puzzles to unlock clues, diagnose patients and find the final key.

“It’s a great way to refresh their brains and test them on material from past lessons to prepare students for final exams,” said Nicole Corso, assistant professor in the School of Nursing.

“Escape the Lab” took groups of senior nursing students through four different simulation rooms, each one containing a patient manikin designed to test students on varying health care concepts and conditions ranging from food poisoning to severe burns. In order to move to the next room, the group had to work together to solve a puzzle, challenge or riddle to receive the next clue.

The clues were either given to them by Corso after they completed a task or hidden on their manikin patients, requiring them to conduct the proper nursing procedure to address the manikin’s ailment and find the clue.

“A lot of students will say ‘oh wow, we learned that so long ago,’ so this is a great refresher and lets them know what they should be working on,” said Corso.

The puzzles varied from rhyming riddles students needed to decipher, a crossword puzzle of nursing vocabulary, and an all-white jigsaw puzzle that required a blacklight to reveal the next clue. One of the puzzles challenged students to put a series of tasks in chronological order to complete the procedure of caring for a pediatric patient. They weren’t awarded the clue until all the tasks were in the right order, which stumps a lot of students.

“It can be difficult to know the right order of how to approach a situation until you experience it yourself, so this is a fun way to put students in that situation and experience it hands-on,” said Corso.

Immersing students in hands-on challenges appeals to multiple students as it merges audio, visual and kinesthetic learning techniques. Combining a variety of learning techniques helps imprint the curriculum in students’ brains.

Jumping from room to room and caring for a variety of patients gave the senior nursing students a taste of what to expect in a hospital environment where they may be required to care for multiple patients at once. It also builds teamwork as the students work together to solve problems and care for patients.

Students went into the challenge nervous and unsure of what to expect. After working together to complete all the puzzles and care for their manikin patients, they left with a sense of accomplishment.

“That was really fun!” students exclaimed as they unlocked their last box, revealing a candy reward. The team with the fastest time was rewarded an extra credit point on the final exam.

“It’s a different way to learn and the students respond to it well and have a good time, which is the best way to learn.”