Today is the 2nd year Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE), which probably means that…a) I didn’t sleep last night, b) I am peeing pure cortisol, and c) my shirt is dark blue from having both sweat stains meet in the middle. For those who aren’t familiar with this type of exam – the OSCE is meant to assess “clinical proficiency” and will use a simulated patient (read ‘actor’) in a variety of standardized scenarios to test this. Theoretically the OSCE presents a better opportunity to evaluate not only the student’s knowledge but also communication, professionalism and decision making abilities. Brown Medical School has a nice little write-up on their website here (http://bms.brown.edu/students/osce/index.html) with a little video which may give a better sense of what the exam is like. What you aren’t told is that the OSCE provokes fear in even the most stoic.
Today’s fun includes 13 stations, each 10 minutes long. There will be 8 minutes for the actual examination or history, and then 2 minutes given for student feedback. What I can expect is 5 histories (I have no idea what to expect here – could be anything from geriatric health to sexual medicine, or ethics – maybe all three combined? Little old lady hits on you doing a physical – what do you do??), 4 physical exams (I’m guessing 2 MSK, 1 Neuro and 1 Resp / Cardio), 1 PEP (post-exam question), 1 self assessment, and 2 breaks. I have prepared well for both the breaks and the self assessment, I know I can pass these, it’s the others that have me tense.