❓What’s an OSCE❓Objective Structured Clinical Exams (OSCEs) are part of many medical school curricula. I just had one for internal medicine yesterday! It’s an opportunity for you to get feedback on your medical knowledge and interpersonal skills, while being evaluated on your abilities to take a history and perform a physical exam, come to a working diagnosis, and counsel the patient on the next steps (like you’re the actual doctor...) Here’s how it works— you have an allotted (short) time to read a patient’s chief complaint + vitals. You take a concise, but complete history, perform a focused physical exam, provide the patient with a working diagnosis/diagnoses and counsel/provide next steps, which could be anything from ordering imaging to prescribing medications and everything in between. Then, you’ll have some time to write a concise H&P with assessment and plan, provide diagnoses with reasons why these are more or less likely. Some tips and tricks I’ve learned about these, although I’m by no means an expert:
1️⃣ RELAX. Being nervous does nobody good! Chances are, it’ll hamper your interpersonal skills and you might even forget to complete part of your exam or deliver a certain diagnosis. Example— I got flustered by the “5 minutes remaining” warning that I forgot to tell a patient an important imaging test I wanted to order (I did put it in the plan of my note at least!). Time flies in these things!
2️⃣ BE PREPARED. Come with your white coat, stethoscope, pen light. Professional dress. Look the part. Bring a pen to write notes if you’re allowed. And don’t forget to use Purell or wash your hands on the way in 😅
3️⃣ EMPATHY. Please bring some with you and utilize it! It’s a crucial skill in medicine, and they are looking for your abilities to use this with patients. If your patient tells you about a tragedy or a difficult situation— don’t be afraid to ask how it makes them feel. Don’t be afraid to say you can understand. Don’t be afraid to ask more detail and get a little bit off topic to show that you’re there for them. The worst that could happen is they don’t want to discuss it and you drop it. (Continued in comments)