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OSCE Article

OSCE Article

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Published by Tony Mathew

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Published by: Tony Mathew on Apr 25, 2012
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What to do (and what not to do..) in your...

By Louise Witham (MedSoc Welfare rep)
Remember SOCRATES- it applies to everything! Take a reliable watch. With a second hand. If your finger is bleeding because you have just tested your own blood glucose just ask for a plaster instead of dripping blood from your finger for the next two stations and apologising repeatedly.

First and second year OSCEs can be daunting. We’ve all experienced that feeling- It’s June, and you’ve spent the last two months with your head inside textbooks, trying to memorise the ins and outs of CRH/ CLS/ SF1 / FBN… You’ve got through hundreds of MCQs and you are so, so nearly on that gloriously long summer holiday. It is the last thing you want to be doing when the sun is out and all your friends have already been finished with exams for weeks, but it still counts and if anything, it is one of the more important exams that you take in first and second year. So if you are having a panic about your OSCE, have a read through this list of do’s and don’ts, based upon the experiences of older years. You might think some of them sound stupid, but they do happen… Don’t palpate the carotid pulse on both sides- your patient may pass out. The hepatojugular reflex cannot be performed on the left hand side. 2nd years-beware of the ‘explanation station’. Last year, students had to ‘explain’ a mid stream urine test, including a description of the labia.

ALWAYS wash your hands. And on that note- watch out for them hiding the hand cleanser (purposefully if you ask me)… Don’t panic- if you have practiced then you are probably doing better than you think…

When giving blood pressure readings, sound confident and don’t admit if you are lying! Of course, try and avoid lying in the first place... Flirt outrageously with the examiner- that way if they're horrible to you it will be awkward for them too (don’t quote me on this one, I haven’t tried it.) Always ask about pain before you palpate anything. The one time you don’t will be the time the volunteer decides to test their melodramatic acting skills. Even if you know the person you are taking a history from is an actor, still show them real empathy and make sure you tell them how hard it must be for them.

Time yourself when you are practicing so you don’t end up spending half the station in the exam examining the nails. Don't throw used sharps back into the sterile box as "it's like looking for a needle in a stack of needles" when you try and fish it out. On the same note, don’t put used peak flow meter mouthpieces back into the box of clean ones! Wear appropriate clothes. Boys- no bow ties. Girls- bend forward in the mirror, just to check the examiner won’t be learning what colour bra you’re wearing. If you can’t get into the clinical skills centrepractice on your housemates/ mum/ boyfriend/ girlfriend/ imaginary friend... Trim your nails or percussion will hurt! Overall, just remember to relax. You will probably make some stupid mistakes throughout your OSCE but just keep your cool. If you carry on and do the rest of it well, you will probably be fine. Remember they want you to pass! And- before you know it, it will all be over and 3 months of summer will be all yours. Good luck!

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