The OSCE is an assessment of clinical knowledge, skills, and attitude. The communication skills you demonstrate and the process you go through in obtaining a history or performing a physical examination are more important than determining a diagnosis.
The best way to prepare for an OSCE is repetitive practice. When you are able to perform all of the tasks on the course objectives for a complete medical history and physical examination in an organized and efficient fashion, you are ready for the OSCE.
After the first year, it is important to understand that some cases are designed to present more than one diagnostic possibility. Keep your mind open to all possible diagnoses and explore the relevant ones as time permits.
Students are encouraged to use the Clinical Skills Center to practice clinical skills on each other.
COMMUNICATION TIPS (to all station)
PHYSICAL EXAMINATION STATION
- Use a stethoscope with separate bell and diaphragm heads.
- Remember that proper auscultation technique requires that the stethoscope be placed directly on the patient's skin. Wash your hands with soap in front of the patient before beginning the physical examination.
- Talk before you touch. Tell the patient when you are ready to begin the physical exam.
- Describe the maneuvers either before or as you perform them.
- Always use patient gowns and drapes to maintain patient modesty and comfort.
- Never examine through the patient’s gown.
- Do a focused (not comprehensive) physical examination based on the presenting problem.
- If you believe a rectal, pelvic/genital, or female breast exam is indicated, tell the patient. The patients are trained to deal with this part of the physical examination.
- If you ask a patient to lie back on the examination table, pull the leg rest out, then help the patient sit back up and return the leg rest. Help the patient on and off the exam table.
- After the first year, some SPs will have positive physical findings. Some findings may be simulated, but should be accepted as real.