Wizards work their magic in Harry Potter style at Methodist safety fair

Diagon Alley was there. So was Platform 9 3/4 and the sorting hat. And a room for the Dark Arts. There was even an attempt at a Quidditch match and creepy keys hanging from the ceiling.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, you’ll recognize the references. The ridiculously popular fantasy book series by J.K. Rowling and subsequent movies were the inspiration behind the annual safety fair for the cardiovascular critical care unit at IU Health Methodist Hospital.

The sixth-floor special pathogens unit was the setting for a Harry Potter-themed event designed to give 120 team members, aka Muggles, from the CVCC a refresher course on competencies, quality and safety on the job.

Jessica Jones, aka Professor Dumbledore, was rocking the robe, wand and flowing beard as the master wizard during this week’s three-day fair. Jones is clinical manager of the CVCC, and she looks forward to the safety fair each year as a novel way for fellow nurses to update their skills.

“I think learning happens more when you’re having fun with your peers,” she said before disappearing behind Platform 9 3/4 into the Great Hall. There, around an elegant table set with candelabras, goblets and charger plates, team members would reach into the “sorting hat” to find out which house they’d be joining for the friendly competition.

Then teams would rotate through five decorated rooms with various education focuses. Think lumbar drains, hemodynamic monitoring, skin protection, mobility devices, emergency procedures and communications.

The latter delved into not just communication with patients and families, but also among nurses themselves. They were challenged to be better listeners and better advocates for one another.

As participants answered questions, they earned tokens, which translated into points for their “house.” The team with the most points at the end earned bragging rights.

About 20 members of the CVCC team were involved in planning this year’s fair, a process that usually begins six months before the summer event.

As a Harry Potter aficionado, RN Victoria Lomax was in her element. She dressed as Luna Lovegood, a witch, brave member of Dumbledore’s Army and a member of House of Ravenclaw, who is considered a bit odd by her classmates. With her long blond locks and wand, Lomax/Luna shuttled her nurse peers through activities focused on patient mobility issues and skin protection.

Lomax, who read all seven of the Harry Potter books one summer during college, donated some of the props used in the safety fair from her own collection. She has a themed room at home.

Watching as teams competed to safely secure and lift a “patient” in a chair lift, clinical educator Jenny Baker downplayed her role as mastermind of the event.

The organizers do all the work, she said. She just manages some of the logistics behind the scenes. Baker, dressed to the nines as Hogwarts Headmistress and High Inquisitor Delores Umbridge, loves the camaraderie of the event.

“The most powerful thing that’s happening here is peer-to-peer education and influence,” she said. “We’re just lucky we have a staff that’s committed to teaching one another and sharing knowledge. That’s really part of a healthy work environment.”

Jones said the safety fair wouldn’t have the same impact if she and Baker did the teaching.

“This creates a safe place where asking questions is encouraged. This is the kind of team we have, one that supports each other and teaches each other.”

– By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist

Email: mgilmer1@iuhealth.org

Photos by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health visual journalist

Email: mdickbernd@iuhealth.org