Jungle theme replaces traditional hospital inservice and cuts the time in half

The annual Safety and Infection Control Inservice at St. Michael Hospital will never be the same old boring lecture sessions since a task force led by Chris Hutchison and Donna Lawien transformed it into the 'Franciscan Jungle Safety Fair.'

Instead of passively siting through the standard lecture, learners now tour 7 interactive jungle 'territories' on the 7 inservice topics.

The Jungle is set up for a whole week. All 795 hospital employees are required to attend, but they can do it whenever they want, so scheduling hassles are eliminated. Also, the whole tour is videotaped for those who can't make it.

Learners are greeted by a tour guide in a safari hat at a Red Cross Station in front of the room. When a group of 10 to 12 learners has formed, a tour begins. (In peak hours there are as many as three tours going on at once.) Learners are given anti-malarial pills (Skittles candy), and a passport that has a short True/False or Multiple Choice Quiz on each territory they will visit.

Then learners enter the 'jungle' a large training room decorated with posters of animals, palm trees and waterfalls painted on sheets, jungle sounds from a tape, and other jungle items. The room is sectioned off by sheets so there's only one path through the jungle.

Learners wind their way through the jungle's 7 territories. Each territory has a leader who takes learners through different learning activities. At the end of each activity, learners orally go through the corresponding quiz in their passports.

The first station is on Hazardous Materials (called Ailewa, the Nigerian word for Safety). The tour bus (a shopping cart) bumps into the table and spills bleach. To clean this up, the station leader reminds them of the correct documentation they must access.

The second station, Confidentiality (Da-Ke), takes them through a computer presentation on confidentiality issues.

Then they proceed to the next station, the Lion's Crossing or Body Mechanics. First the guide throws a net over a stuffed animal lion, then they attend to an injured, bleeding dummy named Jungle Jimmy, and learn how to properly lift from the knees.

Then they carry Jungle Jimmy to the next station on Bloodborne Pathogens, a hospital bed labeled the Lion's Den. There learners see a demonstration on how to avoid contamination with infected blood, how to dispose of contaminated clothing, how to clean up blood spills, and how to fill out an incident report if any contamination does occur.

Next learners go under a waterfall to the Handwashing station, and then to a jungle storage shed made of sheets, called the Hot Hut, to learn about fire safety. The Hut is made from sheets. The territory leader knocks over a lantern to simulate a fire, and then he shows them how to properly extinguish it.

At the end of the tour, learners go past a paper river and valley to the Outbreak Clinic, where they sit down for the first time in the whole program and learn how to isolate TB and other infectious diseases. They are given a booklet with common questions and answers, entitled 'TB or not TB?' The back wall of the Outbreak Clinic, a structure of poles, has peripherals of various infectious agents and how to isolate each one.

Finally learners go to a debriefing station where they complete an evaluation, sign a roster to verify they made the journey, and turn in their passports.

The results of this program have been outstanding.

The inservice has gone from two separate sessions totaling almost three hours to a single hour-and-a-half session. This cuts down on both instructor and participant time, which translates to money saved. 'The administration is quite pleased,' says Donna. And more of the staff attended than ever before.

Everyone loved it. '99.9% of participants gave excellent evaluations,' says Chris Hutchison. One evaluation stands out in her mind: 'This was the best inservice I've been to in 20 years at the hospital.'

Both the instructors and the participants had fun. 'The fun was part of the learning process. Having fun helped people learn and retain the information better,' says Donna.

Long term retention has been excellent too. Six months after the program, the Task Force sent out a quiz similar to the quizzes in the learners' passports. People scored quite well. The areas where retention was weaker will be improved for this fall's inservice using a wild west theme.

(The St. Michael Education and Training Task Force is: Carolyn Boozer, Terrell Bromley, Paul Collins, Corrine Finn, Tammy Hansen, Billy Hawkins, Chris Hutchison, Donna Lawien, Mary Pluer, Rod Roberson, Karen Schmelzer, Amy Stecker. )

(July/August 1996 issue)