OSCE Fears

The inevitable OSCEs that form a major part of the assessment of the competency of the medical student. Oh, how they scare us all.

I know it’s meant to be an objective assessment but it still feels quite subjective. Every doctor’s view of adequacy is not the same. In some cases, it’s a his-way-or-no-way sort of view. And when you don’t know who the examiner is going to be for each station, you can’t help the diaphoresis as you imagine the worst. Then your mind goes haywire.

What if I don’t finish the expected task in the allotted time?

What if what I think are the findings, aren’t the ones they’re looking for? Or what if I don’t find them at all?

What if I can’t make a diagnosis?

What if I can’t answer the questions that follow? What if it’s that one thing that I just didn’t get a chance to read again?

What if I panic and mess up?

Loads of what ifs tend to pop up in my mind and drive me up a wall with palpitations and the sudden flight-of-ideas. My comfort is this: no matter how nervous I get, once I enter the examination room, it’s just me and the patient and I forget about the examiner (most of the time) so the nerves dissipate as time goes by. Plus, so far I found that under examination circumstances/pressure, I handle myself quite well…no panicking…I may stumble on words, but that’s about it. Try to put me under pressure on any normal day and I’ll just become unresponsive. It’s weird…I guess when it counts most is when my mind will choose to handle it.

I had my General Medicine OSCE on Monday. Taking into account the recent pass rates in the field, I couldn’t help but be quite nervous about how it would go. Nobody wants to fail…but I refuse to repeat the exam. Refuse. I can’t wait to see what the official results are.

Until then, it’s time to prep for the written exam on Friday!


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