Liquid Ass is a foul-smelling spray that was launched in 2005 for pranking purposes, although it was developed many years earlier, when the inventor was a high school student. People bought it, used it, and declared the unpleasant smell was worth it for the stories they were able to tell about it. But the spray is also in demand at medical schools and teaching hospitals because of its accuracy in replicating the smell of certain medical conditions and procedures.
That’s why Kata Conde, an assistant nursing professor at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Kansas, started buying Liquid Ass for the simulation lab she runs for her students. It’s the only product she’s found that accurately captures the smells that come from our bowels, and she would know: she had a 30-year career as a nurse before becoming an instructor. Conde now uses Liquid Ass in teaching scenarios in which a patient has soiled themselves while trying to get out of a hospital bed, complete with chocolate icing to set the scene. It’s also good for practicing bowel surgeries, like colostomies, where surgeons divert some of the large intestine to a new hole in the abdomen.
“The smell hits you like a huge wall,” she says. “It’s something people react to when they first experience it. We see all kinds of faces.” In a real-life scenario, any kind of reaction to a stench like wrinkling or covering your nose would make a patient understandably embarrassed and uncomfortable. To successfully complete the simulation, students have to demonstrate that they’re capable of giving adequate care while maintaining professionalism.