OSCE stands for Objective Structured Clinical Examination.  This is a clinical skills assessment method that is based on objective testing and direct observation of student performance. Studies have shown that this is a valid method to assess clinical skills and competencies that are fundamental to the practice of medicine.  The University Of South Dakota Sanford School Of Medicine administered its first OSCE on August 10, 1996 to students at the end of the third year of medical school.  The event has occurred yearly since that time. The OSCE expanded in 2002 by using standardized patients to portray medical conditions.  In 2013, the OSCE further expanded by partnering with the Parry Center for Clinical Skills and Simulation as the permanent home.  This allowed the inclusion and use of state of the art clinical testing software, infrastructure, and high fidelity patient simulator manikins. 

What components make up an OSCE?

The end of third year OSCE consists of five to six clinical stations utilizing standardized patients and/or simulators and covers a range of common medical conditions affecting various age groups and genders.  Interpretation of radiographs, EKG’s, and other tests may be included.  Competency skills assessed in detail include patient care, medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, and professionalism.

How is the OSCE graded?

OSCE stations are monitored by trained observers who score the student’s performance on history taking, physical examination, information sharing skills, and interpersonal skills.  The graders use an approved checklist for each station to score the student’s performance.

OSCE stations are followed by a post encounter activity which is typically documentation of a patient progress note.  Interpreting findings or answering quiz questions can also be expected.  The post encounter activities are also graded.

How does the OSCE benefit medical students and SSOM?

All students are required to pass this OSCE in order to graduate. This OSCE is helpful in preparing students for the USMLE Step 2 CS and in reflecting the curriculum at the University Of South Dakota Sanford School Of Medicine.  Students also experience other OSCE type learning activities earlier in their medical training before the high stakes OSCE.

Who oversees and organizes the OSCE?

Sanford School of Medicine faculty and staff with special knowledge and interest in clinical skills assessment form a committee that is charged by the office of medical student education to plan, design, and implement all activities necessary to conduct the OSCE. 

The current membership is:

Dr. Valerie Hearns, Dr. Janet Lindemann, Dr. Ed Simanton, Dr. Val Kozmenko, Dr. Kimberly Woolhiser, Brian Wallenburg, Loraine Hartig, Barbara Hansen, Lari Kooi, Kim Bertsch, Erin Parham and Deb Wilka.