Keep the following practical tips as a set of assets for your OSCE preparation:
Considering the concern on how to prepare for OSCE, the point of relevance lies in using the reading time appropriately. Before you enter each station in your OSCE, there is a reading time. Reading time precisely is just for a period of around 2-3 minutes where the upcoming scenario is explained to the candidate. It gives you the time to prepare on how well to approach the given scenario, based on the information about the patient whom you are about to meet. Hence, this time period is very much important. So, use this time to take a deep breath and let all the thoughts and worries about other stations leave your conscience and only prioritize the upcoming station. If the mind gets distracted during this reading time, the upcoming performance gets affected thus, it is important to focus a lot on these reading times.
Most OSCE stations have marks for communication skills and hereby focusing on handling patients with the right way of enquiry is of utmost importance. During the OSCE preparation for nurses, the examiner gives a story regarding the patient and a scenario on which your communication skills are assessed. And here, the focus must be laid on the open questions as that marks your foundation to success. If you start asking closed questions, there is a chance to miss out on the most important information. Practice with your patients by opening with questions like “How can I help you today?” or “Can you tell me some more about that?” Have patience to wait until they have finished speaking, then follow with more related queries and in this way, you may be amazed at what you learn with very few questions.
- Take it One Step at a Time
Throughout the time during your OSCE preparation, it’s easy to lose focus and stress about your performance at the previous stations and this is the most prevalent mistake among the candidates while attempting any exam. But it’s vitally important to focus only on the station at present. Put the previous stations out of your mind and pay attention to the task at hand. At Neethu’s Academy, the practice and preparation are mostly based on the psychology of students while they prepare for any exam and hence, the guidance is laid more on making students confident and stress-free during their practice and learning times so that their focus only lies on creating a good presence of mind.
The OSCE exam preparation is an assessment of how you perform under pressure, and for which you also want to feel confident completing the tasks quickly. Hence, try practising your skills within a set period for example, it is good to practice and test your skills within a 5-minute time frame or less, as some OSCE stations will have a few straightforward questions to answer at the end.
Whilst most of the exam seems to be complex, always do remember to focus on the little things. Count on the basics, those small yet important clinical skills to get you easy marks. As an example, the basics include washing your hands at the beginning and end of each skill, the way you introduce yourself confidently, asking for required consent, dressing professionally, disposal of equipment and above all, being kind to the patients. These might all seem straightforward and at times insignificant, but they play a vital role as the complex skills on which you have laid most of the time to get well marked in each exam station.
- Be confident in your skills
As human beings, it is common to make mistakes, but in front of the examiner, even if you make a mistake, ensure that you manage the situation well as examiners also mark you based on your overall manner and approach. After all, confidence does make a lot of difference.