August 2019 | Issue 43
A blueprint brought to life
Sean Firoz_Byline.jpgBy Sean Firoz, Assistant Manager, Communications & Outreach

Clinical examinations are very much part of a medical student’s life. LKCMedicine ensures that their skillsets are well-tested.

Each group of students pass through the various test stations in a circuit format

Through Years 2 to 5, medical students at LKCMedicine are required to take the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), which is a series of stations that test the students on their clinical skills. Held at the Communication Suite in CSB, the OSCE is a large-scale examination which involves about 100 examiners, real patients, simulated patients, and administrative and support staff. 

Twelve OSCEs (formative and summative) are conducted each year, each taking up between one to three days, depending on the number of students for that examination. However, prior to that, the planning of each OSCE can take at least six to nine months. Senior Assistant Director for Examinations & Assessments Ms Ang Wei Wei leads a team that is dedicated to planning and executing the OSCEs.

“All OSCEs start by planning the blueprint, which defines the competencies and the areas to be tested and that they are mapped to the curriculum,” said Ms Ang.

Using the blueprint, the Assistant Deans plan for the stations which allow students to demonstrate different competencies by fulfilling the tasks required. The complexity of the tasks increases with the year of study.

After the blueprint has been finalised, the examinations and assessments team would recruit the examiners, real patients and simulated patients for the examination and support the Assistant Deans in the training sessions for the examiners and simulated patients.

When asked what was the most demanding aspect of organising the OSCE, Ms Ang said, “The co-ordination with various healthcare institutions on the invitation of examiners — blocking their schedule six months ahead — and recruitment of real patients.”

A typical OSCE day starts as early as 6.30 am for the examinations and assessments team. The respective leads would brief the examiners and simulated patients before a station calibration where examiners agree on the passing criteria for each station and ensure that simulated patients are familiar with their scripts as trained.

The School uses an eOSCE system which allows the examiner to grade and provide feedback to the
students electronically. The system is able to monitor the grade submissions concurrently.

Lead for OSCE Year 2 Assistant Professor Tang Wern Ee said, “The OSCE is a group effort from both faculty and staff.”

Assistant Dean for Year 4 and Family Medicine Associate Professor Wong Teck Yee said, “A good OSCE takes
a year to plan from the blueprint to the exam. It is always gratifying to see the stations fulfill their purpose
and especially rewarding when the students do well.”