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Improving realism in tracheostomy and oxygenation workshops


Blog written by Sue Vidgen, Simulation Coordinator, Michael Blunt, Simulation Coordinator and Paul Ferguson, Simulation Technical Coordinator.

Who would have thought that the right consistency, colour, texture and sound of suctioning pseudomonas secretions from a simulated airway would add such value to a teaching session? Well that is exactly what happens time and time again in the courses that are run within the Mater Education Practice Improvement Centre (MEPIC).

After a recent presentation at the Australian Physiotherapy Association Conference, one of our Simulation Fellows, Felicity Prebble was bombarded by requests by audience members to share her recipe for the pseudomonas phlegm used in the simulations showcased in her presentation. Nursing and Physiotherapy participants attending   Tracheostomy and High Flow Oxygen simulation based workshops become fully immersed in the skills of suctioning and assessment, of both the secretions and patient responses to treatment. Those visual, tactile and auditory cues are so important within certain contexts and can often be hard to replicate in a simulated learning environment.

So if you have been searching for just the right ingredients to make your very own phlegm then look no further than this tried and true Pseudomonas Phlegm Recipe:


  • 1.7gram sachet of coffee in 50ml water- mix well to dissolve
  • 1 drop of yellow & 1 drop of green food dye in 20ml water- mix to combine
  • 45grams water-based lubricant (we use manikin lubricant) OR 4-5 heaped teaspoons
  • Talcum powder: couple of shakes (more or less, add to effect). Mix well to dissolve lumps


  • Combine the lubricant with 9mls of the yellow and green food dye mixture- mix well
  • Add 5ml of the coffee mixture- mix well
  • Add 1-2 shakes/dashes of talcum powder to the mixture and stir briskly to dissolve the talc lumps. Once smooth assess colour to see if you need to lighten the mixture by adding more talc


  • Sputum will appear darker when in the cup. It lightens in colour when it is suctioned

Be forewarned that if you are squeamish then the following footage may not be for you.
See here a step by step guide on making the recipe.

Need that little something extra to help create realism, capture attention and engage your participants in your next educational session? Get in touch with any of the Simulation Tech Team at MEPIC@mater.org.au to see how we can help you.