Behind the mask

March 5, 2015

I would like to clarify inaccuracies in the piece about the use of silicone masks at Robert Gordon University (The week in higher education, 19 February). The university is not ending its use of the prosthetic masks, but it will be restricting their use within the discipline of mental health nursing, and it will over the coming months be carrying out an evaluation, which will be conducted by an external body.

Although there were some negative comments on social media by a small number of individuals and service-user organisations, the university has received a number of letters of support from service users, members of the public and students. Shona Robison, cabinet secretary for health and well-being, said that “there is an important place for simulation within nurse education”. These realistic masks can help nurse lecturers to address the very attitudes and values that lead to stigma, and do this in an environment that ensures that nurses engage with patients and clients in a supportive and non-judgemental manner.

Ian Murray
Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery
Robert Gordon University

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