Objective Structured Clinical Exam

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What is an OSCE?

Course directors of the participating programs develop the learning goals, assessment objectives, the case and checklists for an Objective Structured Clinical Exam that is completed in the Des Moines University Human Simulation Lab. The OSCE is designed for the learner to develop:

  • Competence when performing physical exam skills using proper technique
  • Systems-based practice skills
  • Application of biomedical and clinical knowledge
  • Problem-solving and clinical reasoning skills
  • Interviewing and communication skills
  • Ability to learn from mistakes and purposeful practice
  • Professional behavior and bedside manner
  • Presentation and documentation skills

Learners are pre-briefed in class on what to prepare for each event. Learners report to the human simulation lab in appropriate professional attire 15 minutes prior to their scheduled OSCE event. They receive additional instructions and are escorted to the exam rooms. They are given one to two minutes to review their patient’s chart before entering the room. The learner then begins the 20-30 minute patient encounter and completes the tasks needed per details in the patient’s chart. These tasks may include, but are not limited to, taking a history, performing a physical exam, developing an assessment and plan for the patient follow-up and interpreting ancillary reports (labs, x-rays, EKGs, etc.). As in professional clinical practice, all learners adhere to professional codes of conduct in working with standardized patients and clinical staff.

After the patient encounter, the learners document it via an electronic note and/or present it orally to a clinician who observed the patient encounter.

After the event, learners watch their patient encounter and complete a self-assessment to help them grow as clinicians. A review session allows learners to reconvene, view their scores and feedback from the standardized patients and clinicians, ask questions and reflect on the experience.

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