HomeGrown Solution: Abscess Care Simulation Trainer


Abscess Care Simulation Trainer

Submitted By

Kimber Dallas

HomeGrown Solution Number


Identification of the Problem

Abscess care, is a medical procedure that is used to relieve pressure on the underlying tissue and drain purulent material. By properly draining and inspecting an abscess, facilitators can prevent the infection from disseminating. We have created an abscess that gives students access to common techniques of incision, drainage, cleaning, packing, and/or suturing. Using an outdated trainer and discarded simulation skins plus a few household items, we have created a cost effective model. In doing so, we have eliminated the cost of buying an expensive trainer with inserts.

Unique Idea

One of our Nurse Practitioner instructors came to us with a need for teaching the students how to lance, clean, pack and possibly suture an abscess. We currently have no simulated trainer for this. I told her to give us a couple of weeks and we would come up with a plan. So off to the basement we went for surplus items. We found an old IV elbow trainer that was no longer in use for the base of our trainer. We also found old simulated skin that was really thin. We ended up in our work room where we keep various supplies like balloons, sutures and pudding. (I know you all keep pudding!) The idea was unique in the way that it is very realistic and the sac can actually be removed and the wound can be dressed at a very low cost.


To create a realistic and inexpensive method for teaching abscess drainage and care.

Learning Objectives:

  1. proper lancing techniques
  2. proper draining techniques
  3. cleaning of an abscess
  4. sac removal
  5. packing techniques
  6. suturing (if needed)


  1. Task Trainer with skin
  2. small balloon
  3. circular ring (we used a Nespresso coffee pod)
  4. Sutures
  5. Tapioca pudding
  6. 2 pieces of thin simulated skin
  7. Toomey Syringe or any large catheter tip syringe
  8. Vaseline
  9. 1-ply toilet paper
  10. Darker shades of eye shadow

Steps to Creating the Solution

  1. Fill a Toomey tube syringe with the Tapioca pudding. (Take the plunger off the syringe to get the pudding inside, then replace plunger. Only put in the amount you want to fill the balloon with.). Insert the tip of the syringe into the open portion of the balloon and inject the pudding. (This step can also be done with a funnel). Tie off the balloon once it is full as you would like. It should be about one inch in circumference. Cut off the excess tail of the balloon.
  2. We used a Nepresso coffee pod to make a holder for the balloon. Cut the top off the pod and fold down the edges so you don’t have any sharp edge.
  3. Sew the coffee pod or circular ring to the skin on the IV training arm. (Use a straight needle size 3.0 sutures.) A continuous stitch worked best. This step should not have to be repeated every time. Keep the pod attached to the arm for easy reuse. We placed the ring so that the balloon would not move too much.
  4. Place the balloon filled with pudding in the center of the circle. Stretch a thin piece of skin over the boil and staple it to the trainer skin. Try to keep the skin tight and the staples close to the outside of the circular ring. (This creates a pocket for the packing of the boil).
  5. After you have the foundation for the boil, take another thin piece of skin and wrap it around the arm. Staple this skin into place. This skin does not need to be stapled around the boil. It needs to be stapled at the back of the arm where it cannot be seen. Again trying to keep it tight around the arm
  6. Use dark pink/red and brown eyeshadows to create a look of inflammation. Hint: Placing darker colors around the outer perimeter will give the boil more definition in height.
  7. Use a very small dab of Vaseline to the top of the infected area the place a tiny piece of single ply toilet paper onto the Vaseline to create the head. (We used the end of a small paintbrush to push the toilet paper into the Vaseline to give it texture.)
  8. Once finished keep the arm refrigerated until ready to use. You can take the arm out of the refrigerator the morning you are going to use it to allow the pudding to come to room temperature.