Day 80 - Merry Xmas (mOSCEs Are Over) (13/12/2017)

Here they are, the mOSCEs (mock OSCEs) themselves. I got virtually no sleep last night, partly due to nerves and partly because of an ill-timed nap earlier on in the evening. Thankfully my session was not until the afternoon so I was able to sleep in a bit. Had some breakfast, did some final mental runthroughs and headed into uni.

My colleague kindly representing the standard emotions raging inside everybody

My colleague kindly representing the standard emotions raging inside everybody

So for those interested, an OSCE (objective structured clinical examination) is a means of assessing clinical skill performance, usually seen in health sciences. In our case, we could be asked to perform a selection of tasks, taken from the examinations we've been learning in clinical skills sessions over the last two blocks. You stand outside a room with some instructions on the door, enter it, complete the task in a set time limit, then receive feedback from your examiners. They will have a checklist of everything you should be able to do, for which you will receive marks, and they will then place you into a category: fail, borderline, satisfactory, good or excellent.

First things first, I made plenty of mistakes over the 5 stations - in only a couple of them did I actively feel like I'd done well. The task list was a mixture of physical examinations and history taking exercises. In a bizarre way I actually enjoyed it - while it was stressful and your mind races while you're in the room, it was a fantastic learning experience and a chance to try what we'd learned on a new (simulated) patient. The examiners were all extremely supportive but direct with their feedback, which felt highly optimal. In my case, consistent feedback was that I had good patient rapport and empathy and had a very structured approach - when practicing I rewrote the exam instructions into an order that made more sense to me, which I think helped with that.

All done!

All done!

In terms of things to do better next time, it essentially came down to missing out a question or two in one section of the history, or forgetting a tiny section of the physical examinations. Equally, in my first history I finished with time to spare, but failed to complete the second in time. It was a mixed bag, but the key thing is that I didn't feel incompetent at any stage - when I messed up it was due to nerves rather than academic knowledge, which is totally fine by me. This was echoed by virtually all of my coursemates too, which is a really nice sign. We've worked hard to cover so much material so quickly, and haven't been ground down completely.

Busy evening - Coffee Architects first, for cake and a drink (second time in two days), followed by a trip to a Coventry house party or two. Everybody was clearly extremely happy to have finished for the holidays for some well-deserved downtime. The big event of the night however was the midnight launch of Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi - despite feeling a little meandering at times, I loved it. JJ Abrams really understands how to make a Star Wars film for Star Wars fans, and Mark Hamill came to the fore as well as ever. Go see it - VIII/VIII would Jedi again.