Head to Neck Task Trainer to Teach Palpation Skills: Back to Basic

Author(s): Iris Epstein, Deepak Naik, Barry M. Robinson, Nastaran Dadashi, Paula Mastrilli

Background: Head and neck palpation is an essential skill for medicine, nursing and allied health professionals. Palpation is a complex task to teach. A task trainer with haptic interfaces could be a viable strategy to teach head and neck palpation.

Purpose: To describe the innovative development and reflect on the preliminary evaluation of a soft skin partial task trainer with haptic interfaces (prototype-1) to teach head and neck palpation skills.

Method: Guided by iterative modeling design and in partnership with engineers and simulation technologist specialist we (nursing and denture school) develop a prototype-1 task trainer. We then evaluated the prototype-1 with experienced clinicians during a multidisciplinary conference using diverse data collections methods.

Result: Overall, the skin and anatomy of prototype-1 was realistic. However, participants (n- 11) used diverse palpation techniques in terms of time hand movement and pressure. In fact, there were differences between and among disciplines.

Conclusion: Instead of focusing on the next prototype abilities to capture accurate palpation standardized measure we might focus on enhancing students’ experience in palpating different size masses. We will further discuss clinical, pedagogical and ethical implications related to the value of learning palpation skills even though new technologies, such as ultrasound are being used more frequently.

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