Following COVID-related postponements, first session is forthcoming

COVID interrupted many things during the past 18 months. At OUM, one of the most unfortunate casualties has been the OSCEs, the final clinical exam which students need to graduate.

Thankfully, one OSCE session will finally take place later this month in Brisbane, Queensland (AU) at North-West Hospital. A second session was also scheduled for Australian and New Zealand students, until the Queensland government closed its borders to New South Wales and Victoria last month.

The OSCE story

OSCE stands for “Objective Structured Clinical Examination.” In short, they assess students’ clinical skills after their final clinical rotation, through a series of standardized scenarios. Passing them is a graduation requirement at OUM and most other medical schools, as well as a requirement of most licensing bodies and global accreditation agencies, like OUM’s (the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities, PAASCU).

“At most universities, OSCEs are a student’s final formal assessment. They were first developed in the mid 1960’s as a way to objectively assess a medical student’s clinical skills,” says Dr. David Mountford, Associate Dean for Australia, who joined the University early this year with OSCE construction and administration one of his primary roles. He also designed and teaches OUM’s online preparation course for the OSCEs.

The format

The OSCEs cover 16 cases/stations, three OB-GYN, three pediatric, and the remainder spread over other core disciplines. The exams will be conducted in one day, eight cases in the AM and eight cases in the PM and students are given a specific time limit to complete each.

“In addition to stations being graded, examiners ask themselves the simple question ‘Is this person competent enough that I would hire him/her as a first-year intern?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ you will fail the station,” says Dr. Mountford.

While several OSCEs were scheduled and rescheduled over the past year, students are now completing their prep course. Additional OSCEs for OUM’s Australian, New Zealand, Samoan, and North American students are being arranged.

(November 2021)