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W8 Enhancing authentic SP based OSCE stations: harnessing techniques and technologies from the discipline of simulation
  1. Gerry Gormley1,
  2. Linda Ní Chianáin1,
  3. Paul Murphy1,
  4. Debra Nestel2
  1. 1Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Monash University, Melbourne, Australia



Health professional researchers and educators who design, deliver and implement OSCEs and anyone who is keen to develop more authentic SP based OSCE stations.

Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced levels catered for

Background Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) are a widely used form of assessment in health professional education. In their summative form, they strive to provide objective, reliable measurements of behavioural competency skills. As a constructed phenomenon, they aim to simulate aspects of real clinical practice, but often fall short in terms of authenticity. Many OSCEs stations are socially situated activities, where candidates interact with a ‘patient’. The ‘patient’ can take the form of a real patient or a simulated participant (SP). However, there are growing concerns regarding this manufactured form of assessment. Firstly, real patients are increasingly not partaking in OSCEs. Secondly, educators often default to assessing what is easy rather than what is challenging to examine e.g. uncertainty, ethics and interpersonal skills. Lastly, if assessment does drive learning – are OSCEs driving more test performance rather than clinical performance? Many have called for greater authenticity in OSCEs, while retaining reliability and cost effectiveness.

Intended learning objectives After this workshop participants should be able to

  1. Describe the ‘life cycle’ of developing an OSCE station.

  2. Identify important scenarios that are ‘challenging’ to authentically frame in an SP OSCE context and permit repeated candidate examinations.

  3. Offer techniques, grounded in the discipline of simulation that can help to realise and deliver ‘challenging’ SP OSCE stations.

  4. Translate this knowledge into their own educational practice.

  5. Structure of workshop

  • General introductions, ‘ground rules’ and overview of session.

  • Introduction to assessment of clinical competency, with focus on the OSCE and characteristics of ‘best practice’ in assessment.

  • Provide an overview of the ‘lifecycle’ of developing an OSCE station.

  • Buzz group activity regarding difficult SP OSCE stations to write.

  • ‘Think, pair and share’ activity regarding simulation based techniques and technologies to assist in delivering authentic SP OSCE stations. Some examples with be demonstrated for an immersive experience.

  • Conclusion, wrap up and take forward messages.

Educational methods to be used

A range of educational techniques will be used in this session including:

  • Buzz groups

  • ‘Sandpit’ activities

  • Small group work

  • Immersive role play (performance)

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