OSCEs- What to do while you wait

OSCEs Practice

This is for anyone in OSCEs limbo…. no where near as fun as the Crimbo-Limbo. 

I can only imagine how you all feel. It must be frustrating to have come so close and put so much prep in. I know some people even travelled to their venues…. hours before lockdown was announced!

Fear not there are things you can be doing to prep yourselves!

💚 Mindset 💚

Ask my old students and you’ll realise I’m a big believer in mindset. You see I love exams! I enjoy the thrill of them, the challenge and the adrenaline. Give me exams over drawn out course work any day of the week. I’m sure this plays a huge part in how successful you are during exams. I’ve watched one of my brightest students answer multiple choice questions incorrectly because they were so stressed.

So, if you are someone who struggles with a positive approach to exams now is the time to get some help. Depending on your levels of anxiety with them you may want to speak to someone professional or simply look into a mindfulness and relaxation app. Maybe a coach would help your mindset? Katie Ford is huge believer in a positive mindset and has lots of helpful resources.

Use this time wisely.

💚 Habits for life 💚

A nurse I used to work with was always told ‘OSCEs are for life not just for OSCE time’  

I cannot emphasise how true and useful that is! If you are doing the tasks in practice to OSCE standard all the time then you’re 90% of the way there! Make them good habits. Print of the steps and have them in key areas so you can check and follow them. If you’re not in practice can you walk through the steps? Gather some out of date material and makes some models? Wear gloves when doing things like blood smears, make these part of the daily task and you’ll have more confidence. 

💚 Brush up on your theory 💚

Don’t know those boney landmarks? Get the A&P notes back out and start revising! Can’t identify parasites? Yup, start learning them all over again. I totally ploughed my Lab OSCE as I had not a single clue about parasites, they didn’t interest me then and they still don’t, but don’t throw away marks for the sake of digging out your old notes.

Similarly I also could not remember ischium or ilium to save my life….I only know now thanks to a rude rhyme from an ex student 🤣

Equally surgical instruments…get a catalogue out, make yourself some match up games. Have a zoom meeting with a fellow SVN or VN and quiz each other. 

💚 Nail those sums 💚

Practice, practice and practice again. Calculate everything, absolutely everything. Work out your FGFR, your fluid rate, the amount of propofol you need to draw up. Only use pre-made charts to check your answers, get a fellow VN to check them. Remember to work does out in mgs/kg and not mls/kg.

Create yourself scenarios or jump on of my lives and really nail those calculations. Again don’t be throwing away marks if you can help it. Maths isn’t everyone’s strong point but by doing it so much it becomes second nature your confidence will grow. 

I hope this post has been helpful for anyone in the OSCEs Limbo and if anyone would like me to schedule a calculation refresher session please let me know 🐾

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