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Gamification in nursing literature: an integrative review

  • Upinder Sarker ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Heather Kanuka , Colleen Norris , Christy Raymond , Olive Yonge and Sandra Davidson



Gamification is an increasingly popular instructional strategy in nursing. The purpose of this integrative review is to explore gamification as it has been applied in nursing literature. This integrative review seeks to ask the question – What aspects of gamification have been explored in nursing literature and what aspects require further exploration?


Whittemore, R., & Knafl, K. (2005). The integrative review: Updated methodology. Methodological Issues in Nursing Research, 52(5), 546–553 integrative review framework guided this review. Seventeen articles were reviewed and a quality appraisal tool (developed by Hawker, S., Payne, S., Kerr, C., Hardey, M., & Powell, J. (2002). Appraising the evidence: Reviewing disparate data systematically. Qualitative Health Research, 12(9), 1284–1299) was also used to evaluate the articles.


Following the data analysis stage outlined in Whittemore and Knafl’s integrative review framework, six themes emerged: construct conceptualization; relationship between engagement, satisfaction, and knowledge retention; knowledge translation, motivation, role of technology, and gamification elements.


Gamification is of interest to the nursing profession. More study is needed to better ascertain the relationship between gamification and several of the main themes identified in this review.

Corresponding author: Upinder Sarker, PhD(c), RN, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, E-mail:


Not applicable.

  1. Research funding: None declared.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Not applicable.

  5. Ethical approval: Not applicable.


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Received: 2020-08-19
Accepted: 2021-03-04
Published Online: 2021-03-17

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