Clueless for inservices? Try crossword education

Infection control educators seeking to enliven or otherwise engage their bored charges at mandatory inservice sessions may want to consider a crossword puzzle designed by ICPs at University Hospitals of Cleveland. (See puzzle, p. 188; answers, p. 192.)

"It’s a different way to try and make it interesting," says Julia Wendt, RN, BSN, CIC, infection control nurse at the facility. "We have people fill it in as they are waiting for the class to begin, and then we go over it."

The crossword was designed to bring out some of the common-sense teaching points normally reviewed in health care workers’ training sessions on the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s bloodborne pathogen standard.

"You can highlight the points that you want to bring out based on the standard," she says. "It’s pretty basic, but it reviews everything that you are supposed to, and that’s what we are trying to do."

Rather than passively listening to a lecture, using such a crossword reinforces teaching points by having the participants write an answer. ICPs trying such an approach — either by designing their own or using the one reprinted in this issue — may see a few raised eyebrows, but some health care workers like the crossword format.

"Some groups — like the laboratorians — love it," she notes. "Other people aren’t as enthusiastic. I don’t collect it, so they can chose not to fill it out or just put down one answer. Then I flash an overhead [projector] with the answers on it. We go over it, using it as a springboard to talk about more specific things. People ask questions, so it has worked very well."

Wendt is already warning what next year may bring: "Jeopardy!"