At the final Tribal Accreditation and Quality Forum of 2016, Michelle Myers, from the Oneida Nation Comprehensive Health Division, introduced us to a wonderful tool used to teach basic quality improvement and team building skills called "Bus Crash." Some of you may have seen variations of this tool, but this version uses an assortment of Mr. Potato Head dolls to inject a healthy dose of laughter and fun into QI.
At the beginning of the exercise our group was divided into four teams and given the following scenario:
"Four buses are traveling to an event. Each bus has 14 Potato Head family members. An unfortunate accident occurs and all four buses crash. EMS arrives to the accident scene to find only potato parts scattered inside each bus. Fortunately the bus contains a record of each member-photos prior to the crash. The potato parts and photos are scooped into bags and each bag is sent to a different hospital. It is your job to save as many lives as possible."
After reading the scenario and setting out some basic ground rules, each team member was assigned an area of responsibility: 2 surgeons, who were only allowed to assemble, 3 assistants, who were only allowed to prep potato parts for assembly, and 2 inspectors, who verified that each Potato Head family member was assembled correctly. Then, each medical team was given 7 minutes to save as many Potato Head family members as possible. At the end of 7 minutes, each team reported their results and discussed what might be done differently during the next round. Then, each team repeated the process two additional times, incorporating changes based on their experiences during the previous round(s). When all was said and done, each team reported lessons learned on QI and team building.
This exercise forced each team to think strategically and work together to improve their processes, and many Potato Head family member lives were saved as a result. Not only did our group learn valuable quality improvement principles, but we had a bus load of fun doing so!
So, if you or your department is looking for a fun and valuable learning tool, please reach out and we can help you build your own "Bus Crash" kit!
Special Thanks to Michelle Myers, Community Health Nursing Supervisor, Oneida Comprehensive Health Division, and Judy Tupper, DHEd, CHES, CPPS, Muskie School of Public Service.
About the Author, Dustin Young - Vice President, Gray Horse Strategies, LLC.
Dustin Young is the Manager for Gray Horse Strategies. He provides consulting services, project management and support, multimedia project development and website administration. Prior to joining Gray Horse Strategies, Dustin served as Manger for the Institute for Wisconsin's Health, Inc., and as an AmericorpsVISTA for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Dustin graduated from Marquette University in 2008 with a degree in International Affairs and is an ASQ Certified Quality Improvement Associate. Dustin is on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Public Health Association and Drive Clear, a Madison, Wisconsin based non-profit organization dedicated to helping the victims of drunk and impaired driving accidents.