We all know tabletop games as something fun. But for Mary Ross-Davie and her son, games presented a great learning possibility. In this extract from issue 26 Mary talks about creating a game to use as a learning tool for midwives. Issue 26 is still available as digital download or in limited print stock.
Interview by Matthew Lee
How do you impart the experience of a months-long process to people? Can it be done in a way which is both fun and engaging? And how do you implement it across an entire organisation?
Early October saw the Royal College of Midwives in the UK introduce a board game into its training program. Titled Continuity Counts, its aim is to help midwives understand what is involved in providing continuity of care across a woman’s journey through pregnancy.
This issue we talk to Mary Ross-Davie, Director for Scotland at the Royal College of Midwives, and part of the team which created Continuity Counts. Mary tells us about the game, where the concept came from, and how interactivity like this can assist in training and educating.
ML: Can you briefly explain what Continuity Counts is?
MRD: the game is an activity that can be played by 6 players. It is designed for midwives to help them understand what a caseload might feel like if a continuity model of care is implemented. Continuity of carer is a model of maternity care where a primary midwife sees a woman through her whole maternity journey – providing the majority of her antenatal, labour and birth and postnatal care. It is not the current model of maternity care in most countries at present. In the UK we now have maternity policy which is recommending that continuity of carer becomes the central model of maternity care across England and Scotland. This raises a lot of questions and uncertainties for midwives about how their working lives might look and feel. This game aims to address these concerns and questions.
ML: Why did you feel that a board game was a good teaching tool? How does this format help to communicate the ideas or lessons you are trying to teach?
MRD: The RCM have been running a lot of workshops and teaching sessions about continuity of carer and we have developed online learning resources. We felt that a game could add to this suite of resources. A game can be played by a small group of midwives without an external facilitator as it comes with clear instructions – so midwives can decide when and how they are able to play the game to fit round their busy schedules. A game is a good way of getting a team talking to each other and discussing concerns and questions in a quite light hearted and non threatening way.
We have found that midwives often like interactive and visual ways of learning and a game seemed a good way of getting them to learn in a fun way.
ML: What role does Continuity Counts play in the training or education of midwives?
MRD: We have had requests for the game from Lead Midwives for Education in universities where they educate student midwives. We think the game will be helpful for student midwives to understand more about this new model of care and how they are likely to work as midwives in the future.
ML: Where did the idea for a board game teaching aid come from?
MRD: I have a 14 year old son who is very creative and loves to design and print 3d printed objects. I was designing workshops on continuity and got talking to my son about what might help me to engage well with midwives on what can be quite a tricky topic. Between us we came up with the prototype of the game.
The remainder of this article is available in Issue 26. The issue is still available as a digital download or in print.