Ponder: The Socratic Way

The Nursing Critical Thinking Game by LifeCareSim

About LifeCareSim–critical thinking is our game!

Welcome to LifeCareSim!
LifeCareSim is a company that offers unique board games geared to help stimulate critical thinking for healthcare professionals.  Games are ideal for nursing schools or hospitals desiring to promote critical thinking.  Games apply to many different specialty areas and some games may also be played with interdisciplinary teams and/or in combination with simulation mannequins of high or low fidelity.

Mission statement:
Our mission is to create interactive ways to engage students in active learning while stimulating critical thinking; to serve students and seasoned professionals alike; and to give educators innovative ways to bridge the gap between knowledge of content and the ability to apply that knowledge.

We provide games that engage students in learning while having fun doing it.  Our games create unpredictable, constantly changing patient case scenarios.  Problems arise that students solve as teams.  As students say, “It’s almost just like being on a real floor!”  Instructors lead the play and have opportunities to grab those precious “teaching moments” that only occur irregularly in real clinical settings.  Take your classroom and clinical to the next level.



Ponder: The Socratic Way™
Geared towards students and nurses in medical-surgical specialty.  Level is for students who have completed at least half of an adult health or medical surgical course or registered nurses.  Engage students in class and clinical by playing an entire game or creating unfolding case studies for class–the game writes case studies for you!

NEW!  Ponder (TM) Booster Pack Cards–our first set of Booster Cards that have a concentrated focus on pharmacology, nutrition and oxygenation will add an additional level of challenge to the original Ponder game.


The Leadership Game
This game helps students and nurses learn to manage a nursing unit.  The game presents management issues, work issues and ethical issues.

Ponder (TM) The Call Light Game
Combined with low fidelity mannequins in a nursing lab, this game supports Ponder: The Socratic Way  to simulate a real nursing floor.  Great interdisciplinary potential.  Exciting news!  We are in the process of creating an EHR that can be used with The Call Light Game!  Look for this game coming soon by the beginning of 2021!

Ponder (TM) The Health Assessment Game
Geared towards introductory students learning to perform health assessment.  This game needs further work so that it can be ramped up and geared towards advance practice nursing and medical students.

Ponder (TM) the Maternity/Newborn Game
This game takes students through the labor, delivery, postpartum, and newborn experience.  Coming soon–goal is 2021!

About Dr. Hallie Bensinger
I am an advanced practice nurse and former instructor/assistant professor for ten years with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Nursing.  I have been a nurse since 1986.

The Ponder (TM) the Socratic Way Story:
In the spring of 2010, my Adult Health clinical students were struggling with understanding the nursing process and with how to create concept maps. I wanted a way to engage them that would be fun and help them learn. I was inspired by some dice I had seen in a store that sells teaching tools for grammar schools that, when rolled, helped produce sentences. I went home and Ponder (TM) the Socratic Way was born. Seriously, through fate, the game took on a life of its own. Every time I hit a roadblock, something occurs that pushes the game along–it was meant to be! Never in a million years did I think then that my homemade prototype would become the huge success that it is today.
The game produces unpredictable, constantly evolving patient case scenarios with problems that must be solved throughout play. Ponder (TM) weaves the entire nursing process throughout the game, and students must pull together principles of pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, psychology, and sociology in the holistic approach to nursing in order to solve problems. Ponder (TM) is played in a fun and non-threatening environment. Students LOVE being able to bounce ideas off of each other and competing in this manner.

Just like on the floor, our patients are a roll of the dice.  Different patients and scenarios are created by rolling the dice and drawing cards throughout the game.  Students vie for the highest number of “Status Improved” cards awarded when they answer questions correctly and the fewest number of “Suffered Setback” cards when they answer incorrectly in order to win the game.

The games implement all facets of the nursing process:  assessment, diagnoses, planning, implementation, and evaluation; and also incorporate things that appeal to all types of learners.  There are heart and lung sounds for audio learners, role playing for hands on learners, and photographs for visual learners.

The potential to utilize the games for interdisciplinary play are immense; and some can be combined with high fidelity simulation for added challenges.   In May 2014 our medical surgical game, Ponder: The Socratic Way was available for purchase.  We will soon be adding The Call Light Game, a game geared towards pairing with simulation labs and interdisciplinary play, a health assessment game and a leadership game that helps students learn the art of managing a patient floor as a charge nurse.  On the drawing board is an advanced health assessment game for providers, a maternity game that explores labor and delivery, postpartum and newborn, and Ponder: The Socratic Way – Providers Version.  We are also working on computer versions of these games to be marketed as study guides and tools for individual students.



  • Received the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society Theta Beta Chapter at Large Excellence in Teaching Award 2013.  This is an award bestowed on someone by his or her peers.
  • Received the Student Government Association Executive Council Excellence in Teaching Award 2010-2011, 2013-2014 and nominated for the award in 2012.  This is an award presented to an instructor who is nominated and voted on by students.
  • Runner-up Best in Show at the International Medical Simulation in Healthcare Serious Games and Virtual Environment and Showcase in the Faculty/Staff Division for The Call Light Game, January 2014 in San Francisco.