The aim of our study was to test an educational intervention to improve nurses’ confidence in supporting and frequency of offering a mirror to patients who have recently suffered visible body disfigurement.
Forty-eight registered nurses who worked in two acute care hospitals took part in a mixed-method one-group repeated-measures (pretest and posttest) research study. The educational intervention included a video, a presentation, and a recorded discussion.
Study participants experienced a significant increase in confidence in supporting and frequency of offering mirrors to patients. An overarching theme from the qualitative analysis was that the nurse participants perceived assisting patients in viewing their changed bodies in mirrors as “an act of compassion.” Four subthemes emerged: (a) seeing mirrors differently, (b) there is only one first time, (c) how can we do this better, and (d) “me too” stories of their own and patients’ difficult mirror-viewing experiences.
Education enhances nurses’ frequency of offering mirrors and supporting patients in mirror viewing after visible disfigurement because of trauma or surgery.
Education provides nurses with the necessary skills to assist patients in adapting to an altered body image.