Beach Ball Policy and Procedure Review Game


At my institution, we have a weekly orientation meeting that is coveted by orientee nurses and surgical technologists. This hour-long meeting is reserved for educational topics and overall team building. Instead of adding information to presentation slides, which is sometimes necessary, we try to offer educational activities that match the preferred learning style of our orientees: kinesthetic. Kinesthetic learners prefer active engagement during the learning process. While it is often challenging to plan and implement, our education team has deployed a few interesting methods of teaching that feature active engagement. As an educator, it is incredibly humbling to see the transition in knowledge and skill from the first week to six months.

The Game

One method for reviewing facility policy and procedures is to incorporate topics into a beach ball game. As in, the inflatable, colorful ball next to the shovel, rake, and other sand toys currently sitting unused in your garage. These balls are ideal because they have colored sections that divide their entire surface.


We use a label maker to add in category names of the policies and procedures we want to review. Topics that we have included as sections on the beach ball are surgical counts, aseptic technique, fire safety, perioperative attire, potpourri, and random facts. All of these are self-explanatory, except the potpourri and random facts sections. The potpourri section is a hodge-podge of questions that do not fit into another category and often represent a review of low-frequency, high-risk topics (eg, questions related surgical consent, do-not-resuscitate suspension, and tourniquet times). The overwhelmingly favorite category is random facts. For this category, the educators ask orientees to provide a random fact about themselves that others would not know. This section gave the orientees the most surprises! Examples of some possible questions and answers are found in Sidebar 1.

Sidebar 1. Example Questions and Answers for the Beach Ball Game

Aseptic Technique

  • Q: Your friend is circulating in Room 2. You want to tell them that mashed potatoes are being served in the café, but you know if you open the door, the air flow will be disrupted. How many air exchanges must occur each hour? A: 15
  • Q: You are setting up the sterile field, but you noticed dried bioburden on an instrument. What is the first step to correct the issue? A: Break down the entire setup and start over

 Surgical Attire

  • Q: You are precepting a new employee. They enter the OR with dangling earrings that are visible. You love their sense of style but need to communicate what next steps to them? A: Earrings must be contained within their surgical hat
  • Q: What does the CDC and OSHA require you to wear to protect yourself from splashing of blood or body fluids? A: Protective eyewear or a faceshield


  • Q: You are informed in pre-op that your patient’s DNR status has been suspended. What does this mean and how long does this last? A: Every effort to keep the patient alive will be used despite their DNR status; 24 hours
  • Q: Your patient has a pneumatic tourniquet placed on their upper thigh. At what timeframe should we alert our attending surgeon that we need to deflate to revascularize the leg? A: 120 minutes

How to Play

To play the game, the educators start by having the orientees sit in a circle. An educator randomly throws the ball to an orientee. The orientee who catches it, presumably with two hands, is asked to identify the section of the beach ball that is touching their right thumb. Once identified, they get a corresponding question from the educator’s question-and-answer bank. They are given a first chance to answer and, if unsuccessful, the group can respond. Next, the orientee who answered the question is tasked with throwing the beach ball to another person of their choice. The game continues until all questions are answered.


Beach ball policy and procedure review could be easily used in a staff in-service or small group session. This is a fun and innovative way to review important topics while also encouraging team participation. And, thankfully, beach balls are easy to find and inexpensive to buy. Best wishes as you plan your first beach ball game!

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