As part of our training, every health science student has to complete the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) to assess our clinical competency by performing physical exams, neurological exams, taking histories, and presenting cases.
Earlier this afternoon, I completed the 90 minute exam (fifteen minutes for each of the six stations) and reflected on the feedback the standardized patients (SP) provided. All in all, everything went really well; however, there was an embarrassing slip up during the vital signs portion. After checking the SP’s pulse and respiratory rate, the blood pressure cuff just wouldn’t inflate. I tried several times by adjusting the knob (which I thought was fully closed so air couldn’t escape), but to no avail. Thinking there was a leak in the tubing, I proceeded to finish the other assigned tasks with the intention of coming back to the blood pressure if time permitted. During the fundoscopic exam, it dawned on me that I might have actually had the knob completely open instead of completely closed – this was precisely the case. 😳 Quite an embarrassing slip up (in retrospect, I still can’t believe I did that), but I pulled through just fine. The SP and I had a laugh afterwards. 😀
Overall, with exams two weeks away, the OSCE feedback gave me reassurance that I’m doing at least something right in medical school. More than one of the patients commented on my calm, genuine demeanor and two specifically commented on my warm hands. Yeah, the latter never gets old. 😉 I was confident in my exam skills, thorough with my interview, and organized in my case presentation – probably a 9/10 for a self-assessment. There’s always room to improve.