Megan VanDeVoorde loves all things Harry Potter. As a nurse, she also loves taking care of her patients. So when the annual Fall Prevention Awareness Week bulletin board contest at Mayo Clinic in Rochester was announced, VanDeVoorde found a way to combine both passions, hoping to catch the eye of the Fall Injury Prevention Subcommittee. "They give you points for creativity, information and just how well you get your point across," she says. "That's how it all started."
VanDeVoorde's idea? Make her organ transplant nursing colleagues feel like they'd just arrived for their first day at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
She began by penning her own version of Hogwarts' sorting hat song. "In the first Harry Potter book, there's this song that the sorting hat sings every year to sort students into their different houses, and I re-wrote the lyrics so they'd fit with fall prevention," she tells us. "There's a stanza in the song that describes each one of the Hogwarts houses, and I gave each one of them their own fall prevention theme. So we had the Gait Belt Gryffindors, the Arm Band Hufflepuffs, the Within Arm's Reach Ravenclaws, and our Slippery Slytherins."
But what good is a sorting hat song without a sorting hat to go with it? "I also made our own sorting hat with one of our urine pans," VanDeVoorde tells us. That's when colleague Aaron Peterson knew VanDeVoorde was in it to win it. "I actually laughed out loud when I saw she'd made that hat," he tells us. "I was like, 'That is the coolest thing I've ever seen.'"
VanDeVoorde wasn't done. Next, she made badges — with house-specific fall prevention themes, of course — for each of her colleagues to draw out of her sorting hat. "That was also the fall prevention theme they had to help champion throughout the week," she tells us.
When VanDeVoorde pinned a poster promoting the sorting ceremony onto a breakroom bulletin board, excitement (and tension) began to mount. "A lot of people wanted to be Gryffindors just because that's probably the most popular house," she tells us. "But whatever card they drew out of the hat, that was their house and the fall prevention theme they had to help promote."
Peterson, a proud Gait Belt Gryffindor, tells us the length and creativity VanDeVoorde went to in the name of making preventing patient falls fun also made it highly effective. The theme "definitely sparked more interest in our fall prevention work and piqued people's curiosity more than a regular piece of paper tacked to a bulletin board would have," he says. "It was fun, too, because her idea of having people sorted into different houses also made things more engaging because it made us go and seek out other people in our houses. That helped spark new conversations about fall prevention."
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