Going to the doctor or dentist can be scary. Abby Hess knows this well. She is a nurse at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio. “I help kids get ready for surgery,” she told News-O-Matic. Doctors use for many of these operations. They put patients to sleep with special medicines. “Many young patients become when an anesthesia mask is placed over their face,” Hess explained. “I wanted to help kids feel calmer.” So, Hess came up with a video game!
“I invented a breathing-controlled video game,” Hess shared. It’s called EZ Induction. Young patients at the hospital learn how to play the animal-themed game before surgery. They get gaming on a tablet. But they don’t toggle knobs on a controller. They move cartoon animals by taking deep breaths!
Some types of anesthesia use gas to put patients to sleep. So the gaming controller is a breathing mask! “The child puts on the mask and starts to breathe in and out,” Hess said. “They encounter challenges,” she added. These can include “blowing up balloons or helping an elephant fly in a hot air balloon.” The patients are able to play the final level when it is time for their surgery.
Hess and her team are already using the game with their patients. The experts are hoping to get other hospitals to follow their lead. After all, the game is helping kids be brave in Ohio! “Taking calm breaths can help you feel relaxed,” Hess said. “The game shifts the focus from something scary to something that’s fun.”
“When I became a nurse, I never imagined I’d get to create a video game!” Hess shared. She teamed up with designers and computer programmers to make her vision come to life. Hess also said that working with kids inspired her to use her . “Kids are so great at using their imagination to solve problems!”
Hess learned a lot from her video game journey. And she had some advice to share. “Keep using your imagination to come up with great ideas,” she said. “Working with other people and continuing to learn can make anything possible,” the nurse added. “There are so many problems that need solutions. Your imagination, ideas, , and teamwork can help make the world a better place!”
Updated April 27, 2023, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Alexa Tirapelli