It was 2 and 1/2 hours of clinical testing and I’m thinking I did alright. I know that I didn’t do well on three stations but I definitely passed the rest so I’m not to concerned…I could get burned on the marking but I really don’t think that will be the case. It’s a relief that it’s over.
So from Saturday my predictions were pretty close to true for the physicals and the histories ranged from such scenarios as: worst headache ever, depressed patient with poor libido, man with constitutional symptoms and bloody stool. I had trouble with the same stations that everyone else did, which is reassuring – perhaps they’ll scale the marks if they see that everyone was confused by the instructions, but I guess we’ll see. Of course, after the exam the ‘war stories’ begin to be told – one in particular sticks out.
Preparing for the MSK portion of the clinical exam is perhaps one of the more difficult aspects because of the sheer number of tests for each joint. It becomes a real memory game as one tries to remember the name of the test (usually named after some European physician long since passed) and how to perform the procedure. Some students were betting that the OSCE would focus on either a knee or shoulder exam, as had been the case in years prior, and so some of my classmates had prepared to do only those two exams. A bit of a gamble but I understand what they were thinking. Time is of the essence here, you put as much time as you can into the areas you think you need to, and don’t focus on those areas which you think (hope) will not be tested. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. In this case the money was on knee and shoulder but the roulette wheel came back with ‘lumbar spine’. A bad gamble, but not be deterred one of my classmates who was in this particular situation walked into the room, turned to the examiner and stated:
“I’ll level with you. I prepared for the knee and shoulder exams but not the lumbar spine. So I’m going to try and muddle my way through it the best I can, but I understand if you have to fail me.”
At the end of the exam the instructor’s feedback was summed up as:
“Well, I wish I could give you points for honesty …”