Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Paper 3Di: OSCEs 1 (10 minute stations)

OSCE Day 1: 10 minute stations

I don't exactly look forward to OSCEs, but i always end up enjoying them each year; I suppose they're a pretty fun exam to sit ^^... even though at times, I wish the floor would open up and take me away from a cringey moment.

Station 1: Lower limb motor and sensory exam
I've practised this examination quite a bit, so i was pretty chuffed when the buzzer sounded and i turned around and saw the station instructions. I went behind the curtains and went into auto-pilot, finishing the exam with 3 minutes to spare to present my examination, and answer the examiner's questions on diabetic neuropathy.

Station 2: Non-compliant patient
This was my first ever communication skills station, and I was terrible. I asked the patient at the start to score how confident he was feeling about making a change, and he goes 8/10.... I was a bit taken back, as he already seemed quite determined to make a change, and there didn't seem to be much scope for me to "motivate" him with. ...... not sure if i passed this station.. (thankfully i think we're aloud to fail a few stations).

Station 3: Resus/ IV drip / 02 therapy
I turned behind the curtain and was faced with a plastic dummy. I was sort of confused on what I had to do for this station, but the really nice examiner sort of guided me through. So it was basically ABCDE.. with the examiner firing questions as i went along. Airway was patent, Resp rate was raised, Sats low... i had to administer oxygen... this was when i had to decide on the oxygen mask to use and the litres of oxygen to set it to. The patient was hypotensive, so I set up a drip for a fluid challenge. It's pretty hard to do a GCS or AVPU on a dummy, so we just spoke about that, and wrapped up the station discussing SBAR.

Station 4: Rest!

Station 5: Respiratory Exam and peak flow 
This was another station i've practised quite a few times, so i went into my routine, finishing off the exam with approximately 2 minutes left to quickly teach the patient how to use the peak flow machine, take 3 readings and assess on the chart whether his peak flow was normal or not. This was probably the best station of the day, as the examiner and patient were both very smiley and encouraging, and actually seemed happy to be there.

Station 6: Fainting patient
Arghhhhhhhhhhh this was another communication skills station i messed up!! I honestly struggle at making differential diagnoses on the spot under pressure; and i really had no idea what the underlying cause was >.<

Station 7: Abdominal examination/ RIF pain / Management
So.. I struggled with what to do with the patient in pain. I've always been taught to not cause the patient any pain, and the actor (very convincingly) had a right inguinal fossa pain and i just didn't know if i was meant to do deep palpation in the area or not...and when it came to management.. all surgery just went out of my head. I muttered what I could make up, and had to move onto my next station.

Station 8: Discharging a patient
This was the only communication skill station that went relatively well. The patient was to be discharged with 4 new medications, and i had to explain the drugs, their side effects, and how to take them to the patient. The  actress was really nice, and as the one minute left buzzer went, the actress guided me into telling her about lifestyle changes she could make, and before the final buzzer went, i slid the Ideas, Concerns and Expectations (ICE) in .

Day 1 of OSCES over... day 2 tomorrow!


Anonymous said...


Your blog is very useful Tofu..!

My OSCEs this year didnt go that well :/

Do you know how many stations you can fail in the OSCEs? We had 15 stations this year..

Tofu said...

Im sorry to hear you felt that it didn't go so well, but i think everyone thinks that after the exams. I wouldn't stress too much until the results are out. A few of my friends were worried they would have to resit and were driving themselves crazy.. and when exam results day, they all had aced it.

Im pretty sure you can fail quite a few before it's a total fail. I'm not sure what the actual figure is though, but im sure if you go to student blackboard the information will be there :)

Good luck with results, and if in the worse case scenario it does go bad, i'll be happy to give you some pointers of where to go to get help.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot Tofu! Appreciate it :)

Fingers crossed that it goes well for me!

Best of luck to you with ur exams this week and next week! I'm sure u'll be fine :)

Anonymous said...

Hey tofu!

I failed the OSCE's :( ..! That by only one station aswell.. So got retakes over the summer!

Have you got any pointers as to what I should be doing/preparing ?

How did ur exams go?

Best of luck for them :) x

Tofu said...


Hey Anon, i'm sorry to hear it didn't quite go to plan :( it's quite unlucky to miss it by just one station.

To be honest, i'm not sure how an OSCE resit differs from the original osces, but i think either way, the best advise i can give, is to chat to people and get hold of past topics/scenarios/stations.

There's a few things going around your year group i'm sure. I remember last year, some group of people having practised the exact same scenario that came up in our real OSCEs, because they had known about that scenario from upper years. It is slightly unfair that not everyone gets hold of this sort of material or info, but i think if you ask around, some people are bound to have a stash of this material/info... but whether they share is a different matter.

On a positive note, people have been passing OSCEs without help for years, and you can easily go without the "extra help". There's a lot of OSCE mark sheets online. I recommend this website:


it's pretty basic, but i've used it in 3rd year, and for 4th year OSCEs too, and it's pretty good!

if you're looking to buy a book, everyone loves the thick yellow MASTERPASS OSCE book.

Personally, i think if you know your material from the year, and been on the wards a few times you'll be able to deal with most of the history, explanation, and prescribing drug stations.

As for the examinations, i find youtube pretty useful! There's always those textbooks, but they go into a lot of depth.

Good luck annon, keep me posted on how it goes!

im sorry i can't be more helpful on here, but if you need any help, just let me know.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Tofu for the help!

Will need to buy that masterpass book - everyone seems to be using it!

Thanks for the link too - will check it out :)