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​​Unlocking Success in Nursing Education (Part 2)

A Guide to Designing an Engaging Escape Room for Nursing Simulation

In part one of this series, we covered how escape rooms have become a popular tool in nursing education, providing immersive and interactive experiences for learners to enhance their skills and knowledge while reinforcing key competencies.

In this guide, we'll explore essential tips and considerations for creating a quality escape room tailored to nursing education.

Establish Clear Ground Rules

Before diving into the design process, it's crucial to establish clear ground rules to ensure the safety of participants and equipment. These rules should emphasize safety precautions and respectful behavior within the simulated environment.

Sample ground rules may include:
  • Clarifying that the door is not physically locked and that participants can exit if needed.
  • Reminding participants not to touch electrical equipment.
  • Instructing participants to follow evacuation protocols in case of alarms.
  • Emphasizing the importance of unlocking items instead of forcefully breaking them.

Define Guiding Principles

Identify the learning objectives of the escape room before selecting a theme. Themes should naturally align with the objectives to create a cohesive and purposeful experience.

  • Know your audience. Determine the demographics and experience level of the participants to tailor the escape room accordingly. Consider factors such as whether participants are nursing students, clinical professionals, or a mix of both.
  • Consider logistics. Determine where the escape room will take place, the duration of each session, and the frequency of use. Consider the time needed to reset the room between groups and whether duplicates are required for simultaneous sessions.
  • Design the flow. Choose between linear and converging designs based on the size of the group and desired level of challenge. Linear designs progress sequentially, while converging designs allow for multiple puzzles to be solved simultaneously.

Core Elements of a Nursing Escape Room

  • Aligned with best practices. Design the escape room based on healthcare simulation standards, including identified gaps, measurable objectives, prebriefing, debriefing, and evaluation.
  • Cost-effective and practical. While commercial escape rooms may have elaborate props, DIY escape rooms can be created on a budget. Use everyday items creatively, such as puzzles, charts, black lights, and programmable manikins, to provide clues and challenges.
  • Relevant and realistic to real-world nursing. Develop scenarios using templates to ensure consistency and effectiveness. Scenarios should be relevant to nursing practice, presenting realistic challenges and opportunities for skill development.
  • Encourages teamwork and communication. Foster collaboration among participants by incorporating puzzles that require communication. Ensure that each participant has a role to play and that sharing information is essential for success.


Nursing escape rooms are a fun way to engage learners and fill knowledge gaps. Designing an escape room for nursing simulation requires careful planning and attention to detail, but the results are worth it. 

If you’re ready to incorporate escape rooms into your nursing curriculum but aren't sure where to start, consider using one of Sim2Grow’s free nursing escape room templates. Once you’ve successfully implemented our template, it will be much easier to make your own.