Did you ever think playing video games…could be valuable for workforce planning?
A Game with Purpose
Journey Through Carington House is a serious game designed to familiarize the nursing home environment and to combat negative stereotypes and misconceptions about nursing homes. It was developed as part of the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Home’s Recruitment Strategy with the goal of engaging a youth audience to consider careers in nursing homes.
Serious games are games with a purpose other than pure entertainment and are often used in education, health care and business.
Youth aged 10 – 16 years were invited to play the newly developed game. We held three focus groups with 22 participants in total and asked them how playing the game made them feel about nursing homes.
Why Did We Do This Research?
New Brunswick is facing a workforce shortage
Nursing homes are perceived as negative places to live and work
Nursing homes often struggle to recruit
What Did We Learn?
Participants did have negative perceptions of nursing homes.
“It’s like, it’s a prison for oldies” (P3, G1).
After playing the game, participants started asking important questions about nursing homes and connecting the game to real life experiences.
"Is a nursing home like a real home?” (P4, G3).
Participants said that nursing homes are busy places to work.
“It’s like a hornet’s nest...everyone’s b-lining room to room helping everyone” (P3, G2).
Playing the video game made participants feel better about nursing homes and began to challenge their perceptions of aging.
“It sorta made me feel like it’s…a really friendly environment” (P2, G3).
“Yeah, it definitely changed a bit of my perspective...more…things going on. I always thought it would just be a boring place where you help seniors. But, now playing that simulation, it gives me a better perspective of more things going on” (P1, G3).
What Does This Mean?
Results show the game helped to improve players’ attitudes towards nursing homes.
This aligns with a growing body of research demonstrating the potential of serious games in addressing important social issues.
This video game, used in conjunction with other initiatives designed to engage youth, has the potential to inspire youth to pursue a career in senior care.
For full study results, please contact the researcher.
For More Info
Cassandra Folkins, MAHSR, BA
This research was supported by: Mitacs
This project was reviewed by the University of New Brunswick Research Ethics Board and is on file as REB2019-107.