After the hurdle of the Stage 2 Barrier, our final assessment for the year was the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). For second year University of Sydney Medical Program (USydMP) students this meant a barrage of twelve stations where a specific history, examination or procedural skill was examined.
Day 1 stations
- Paediatric gastrointestinal history
- Diabetes history
- Chronic renal failure history
- Abdominal pain history
- Lymph node examination
- Visual acuity examination
Day 2 stations
- Drug & alcohol history
- Arthritis history
- Chest x-ray interpretation
- Neurological motor examination
- Cardiovascular examination
- Respiratory examination
During a USydMP OSCE, you start outside the exam room and have a minute to read the instruction sheet for that station, then proceed into the room and have six minutes to complete the task with the “patient” and examiner. You then rotate to the next station and repeat the procedure until all stations for the day have been completed. The timeframe of the OSCE often makes the task quite rushed and doesn’t allow time to think clearly – you’d be surprised at how hard it is to calculate standard drinks and pack-years under pressure, for example. It’s quite an intense experience!
At my clinical school they often get the international elective students to act as patients for OSCEs. This proved to be quite interesting when: (i) my “patient” for the lymph node examination didn’t really understand English directions, which meant that I had to improvise with non-verbal cues; and (ii) I was initially unsure whether my “patient” for visual acuity examination was actually having trouble reading the letters on the Snellen chart or whether she was just hesitant about the English name of the letters she was reading out.
In any case, ostensibly we’re now on a seven week summer break. Echoing Miss G’s sentiments on the OSCE, however, it won’t really feel like holidays until 12 December when results will come out – then second year will finally be over!