June 5, 2019 -- Want to get your new millennial residents learning about radiology -- and bonding as they come into your program? Try using an escape room activity, according to a new study published online May 31 in Academic Radiology.
A team from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock found that it was relatively easy to run an escape room activity during radiology residency orientation and that it proved very effective.
"The transition from intern to radiology resident is stressful and surprisingly challenging," wrote a group led by Dr. Kedar Jambhekar. "New responsibilities require learning a high volume of complex information while simultaneously adapting to a new peer group in a new work environment. ... Millennial residents crave active engagement, both in and out of the reading room, and prefer multimedia learning. ... We envisioned a radiology-themed escape room game as an innovative approach to meeting these generational preferences."
The game consisted of a team of players who had to uncover clues and solve a mystery to escape a "locked" room; to succeed, they had to work together and think critically and creatively, Jambhekar and colleagues wrote. The activity was held during the university's orientation for incoming radiology residents and for upper-level residents and faculty.
A single game run included four teams each comprised of five residents and faculty members. Jambhekar's group also offered the activity 27 times for 144 residents at the RSNA 2018 meeting.
Skills covered in the exercise mirrored several radiology resident tasks, according to the researchers:
> Analyzing knowledge under pressure, as well as multitasking and arriving at differential diagnoses
under extreme stress and time pressure (being on call)
> Communicating effectively (conveying results and recommendations)
> Exercising dexterity and motor skills to complete physical puzzles (hands-on procedures)
Participants completed a survey at the end of the escape room to rank their satisfaction with it. The orientation participants reported that it "exceeded their expectations" and rated the quality and value of the game at 4.8 on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the highest ranking.
RSNA participants also ranked the activity highly, with "overall enjoyment" at 4.8 out of 5. Of these participants who reported their level of training, most were in Year 4 (43%), followed by Year 2 (28%). For almost half the players (45%), this was the first time they had participated in an escape room activity.
"Players were engaged and competitive. They were able to connect the activity to their future responsibilities," the researchers noted.
The game guide for the activity is available to program directors and medical educators on request to create their own escape rooms, Jambhekar's group wrote.
"The escape room format that we designed was appropriate to welcome new radiology residents to the program and to encourage team-building and camaraderie," the authors concluded. "This format can be adjusted for lower-level or upper-level residents to test their radiology knowledge and skill set under pressure."