Surviving Orientation Can Be Murder for First-Year Fellows

A week’s worth of meetings, talks and training conferences were not the only activities on the orientation schedule for the first-year nephrology fellows. The fellows also had to break out of a murder mystery Escape Room.

“We always like to promote teamwork and camaraderie among the fellows – so I thought taking them to an Escape Room would be a fun way to do that,” says Dr. Stephen Cheng, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and co-director of the Nephrology Fellow program. The fellows took part in an interactive entertainment exercise in which players are “locked” in a room and have to use their wits (sorry, no electronics) and work as a team to solve a series of mysteries or puzzles in order to “escape.”

The scenario presented to the fellows was the disappearance of Smilin’ Jimmy Pagano, a small-time crook with a big-time heart. They had one hour to sift through a variety of clues to solve the mystery of Jimmy’s disappearance or risk being “wrapped in an old rug and dumped in a landfill.”

The fellows had to figure out the combinations to a variety of locks, find hidden rooms, and interpret coded messages to get out of the room. Dr. Ryan Kunjal, one of the participating fellows says, “The escape room was definitely a fun exercise. We worked very well as a team to ultimately solve the scenario given to us.”


Another fellow, Dr. Miraie Wardi also enjoyed the experience. “I thought it was a really good way to get the five of us to work together,” she says. “It can be really stressful to start at a new place when you don’t know anyone, so the escape room was also a good way of getting us to just hang out and get to know each other a little better.”


“The division will be happy to know that our fellows ‘solved’ the mystery with 4 minutes to spare!” says Dr. Cheng.

Gateway Escape Rooms, located at 150 Concord Plaza Shopping Center in Sappington, MO, hosts the immersive events.