A new online game featuring nurses saving patients from zombies is actually an attempt to recruit more young people into the profession.
Nurses Against Zombieism, launched on Wednesday, was created for the University of Calgary's nursing program in Qatar. In the game, a nurse has to triage patients while avoiding bites from marauding zombies.
"We were recruiting new students in the Gulf Peninsula and one of the challenges we found is there is not a very good understanding of what nurses do," said Jenny Conway Fisher, a marketing professional who is in Calgary after spending two years working on the Qatar campus.
A new approach was needed to debunk stereotypes such as only women are nurses, and nurses exist only to help doctors, she said.
"We wanted to get the message out of nurses being highly trained professionals that makes decision that save lives… kind of planting the seed of nurses being heroic, adventurous characters."
Building an online game seemed like a good way to reach young people, but Conway Fisher couldn't find a developer in Qatar so she contacted Structured Abstraction, a Calgary company.
She hopes nurses will help use social media like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word of the game this week, which is National Nursing Week.
"One of the nurses today said it is like Angry Birds for nurses," Conway Fisher said, referring to the popular iPhone app game.
The project cost about $25,000. The Qatar government, which funds the nursing program in Qatar, paid for the game development, she said.
Nurses Against Zombieism is only available online, but Conway Fisher hopes a smartphone version will be developed in the future.