Thursday, July 30, 2009

Combat Medic Card Game

Published: Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The U.S. Army is working with UCF to design a card game to help combat medics memorize life-saving techniques. “The research question is, ‘Can we effectively train and use some of the training downtime for combat medics to help reinforce some of the key life-saving processes that they need to know perfectly?’” said David Metcalf of IST, principle investigator for the project. “That’s the goal of what we’re doing.”

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Simulation and Training Technology Center, (RDECOM-STTC), has teamed up with the UCF Institute of Simulation and Training on the project.

The object of the card game is to test medics’ and nurses’ knowledge of medical techniques that are used in the first hour of an injury or incident that are vital to saving lives. “These are process steps around what’s called the ‘golden hour’ where certain treatments can save people’s lives,” Metcalf said. “Things like obstructed airways or a hemorrhage that needs to be taken care of, or a chest wound, a collapsed lung or something like that.

“Those are some things that if you treat them well in the first hour using the right processes, you can save a life.” The game will quiz the medics on their knowledge of these processes and can be played individually or in groups.

“We’ve actually designed several card games, and we have a series of students and research associates at the Institute of Simulation and Training that are working in conjunction with Army RDECOM-STTC, some actual combat medics and combat nurses that are subject matter experts, and then some of the developers and designers who are helping us with the actual cards,” Metcalf said.

The team plans to have a sample deck ready by Aug. 10, Metcalf said.

They will begin conducting demonstrations and receiving feedback from Army personnel and combat medics. From there they hope to have a finished deck ready by October.
Some of the developers and designers include UCF students Denice Lancashire, an instructional technology graduate student, and Jorge Oyola, a digital media senior.

Lancashire is working to develop the game instructions and help with game testing.
While she’s not involved in the actual construction of the cards, she believes the best part of the project is watching everyone’s work come together to create a valuable final product.Oyola is working on the card designs, focusing on editing images for them and creating and retooling card templates.

At first, it wasn’t clear to Oyola how this project would benefit the combat medics.
“At the beginning of the project, I didn’t really see how combat medics or soldiers would really have any enjoyment for the game,” Oyola said. “I thought they might see it as sort of like a gimmick and not really pay much attention to it.

“But as I’ve seen the art evolve and the fact that there are multiple games that you can play with this, as well as use it as a standard deck of 52 cards with the four suites and everything, I really think that they’ll take home a lot from it.”

Metcalf is enthusiastic about the student participation in the project.

“They’ve been really valuable on the project too,” Metcalf said. “They’ve had some really good ideas.

“They’ve also been involved in play-testing out the games to make sure that the actual game-play works.”

They all agree that one of the highlights of the final game will be knowing it is working to save lives in the field.

“I think that helps a lot,” Oyola said, “knowing that we’re doing something that can save lives on the field as well as alleviate some of the boredom and some of the stress. I think it’s a really great feeling.”

Link: Central Florida Future - Card game reinforces medic training