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Mask-Ed (KRS Simulation) an approach to deliver intimate care for neophyte nursing students: the creator's experience

25 June 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 12


Nurses deliver intimate care to patients in a variety of ways, especially when attending to showering, bathing, toileting and managing chronic or surgical wounds located in body regions such as the genitalia or breasts. Neophyte undergraduate nursing students can experience fear and anxiety at the thought of carrying out this level of care; hence, there is a need for preparation prior to undertaking clinical placements when students encounter real patients. The preparation should begin in the laboratory context of their tertiary educational settings. Traditionally, task trainers and manikins have been used to demonstrate and practise this care in such environments. However, the realism of experiencing true human responses, by both the patient and student, can be lost through these modalities. In recent years, a simulation approach, Mask-Ed, has enabled intimate care to be taught to students in a university setting in Australia where the laboratory context provides a safety net. Mask-Ed involves the informed educator wearing highly realistic silicone props that include torsos, faces and hands. Having donned the props, the educator then transforms into another person. The newly created person has a backstory designed to enable the educator to become a platform for teaching and to coach students through the clinical experience. The following discussion explains the background to Mask-Ed and the underlying framework that is used to implement the technique to teach intimate care. Mask-Ed is considered one of the most realistic approaches to simulation and is used in healthcare facilities and tertiary educational institutions globally.

Nurses routinely perform intimate care when they assist patients in showering, bathing, toileting, managing incontinence aids or dressing chronic or surgical wounds located in personal body regions (for example, the genitalia or breast). Examples of wounds include simulated pressure injuries, burns, pilonidal sinuses, fistulas, surgical wounds and chronic ulcers (Figure 1).

As recipients of intimate care, patients can be at their most vulnerable. For experienced nurses, providing intimate care may be routine; however, the same cannot be said for neophyte nursing students. The thought of providing personal invasive care, for example touching a patient's ‘private parts’, can create feelings of distress, apprehension or even repulsion (Montgomery, 2014; O'Lynn and Krautscheid, 2014; Mainey et al, 2018; Reid-Searl et al, 2019). Nursing students need to be prepared to deliver intimate care, not only for the patient, but also to reduce fear and anxiety and gain confidence for themselves (Reid-Searl et al, 2019).

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