• 23 October 2020
  • 8 min read

How To Pass Your OSCEs

  • Zara Zaman
    Adult Nurse
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Richard Gill
    • Matt Farrah
  • 0
  • 967
Play video: "Remember, these are essential examinations that are going to get you that bit closer to your Nursing dream."

Worried about your OCSEs? Surgical Nurse, Zara, offers her advice on how to plan for and pass your OCSEs, as well as how to calm your nerves and leave your exam feeling confident.

Topics covered in this article

0.00 Introduction

1.20 Know What Kind Of OSCE You Will Be Expected To Perform

2.09 Structure Your Introduction

3.53 Understand The Rationale Behind Every Task That You Perform In Your OSCE

4.35 It’s OK To Be Nervous

6.18 Make Sure Your Uniform Is Presentable.

0.00 Introduction

Today's video is going to be a very informative one for you all.

I am going to be speaking about OSCEs.

Now, you're probably thinking, what on earth is an OSCE?

And trust me, when I first heard of it, I had no idea as well what it meant.

The official term for an OSCE is, an Objective Structured Clinical Examination.

OSCE is a lot more straightforward to say.

These are practical examinations that all healthcare professionals, at some point in their degree, will need to undertake.

And these were probably one of the most nerve wracking exams I had to do as a Student Nurse.

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Why?

Because you're undertaking a skill and then you have this examiner just there watching your every move.

And that can be very nerve wracking.

However, it's one of the assessments that we have to do in order to pass nursing school and get our pin.

So for that reason, we got to pass these exams.

And that's what today's video is all about.

In this video, I'm going to be speaking about my top pointers on how you can ace those OSCE exams.

So let's get to it.

1.20 Know What Kind Of OSCE You Will Be Expected To Perform

When preparing for your OSCE, probably the most important thing, before you even think about revising or anything else is, understand what kind of OSCE you will be expected to perform.

And the reason why I say that is because OSCEs can come in many different forms.

For instance, you could have a clinical OSCE, you could have a communication OSCE, or you can even have a teaching OSCE.

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What do YOU think?

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Whatever it is, make sure you know what type of OSCE you will be expected to perform.

And that is something that your university will inform you on.

To elaborate on that point as well, all universities will have different ways of how they want to assess students.

Through the OSCE examinations, you will not ever have an OSCE on something that is not specific or relevant to your field of practice.

2.09 Structure Your Introduction

Moving swiftly on.

Once you've identified what type of OSCE it is, then you can start revising and start practicing.

When you go into your OSCE exam, you are not going to know what skill you will have to perform.

That's like with any exam, really, right?

You don't know the questions that are going to come up on the paper.

You are going to have to revise a whole number of skills.

When you are revising your skills, the number one tip that I could possibly give is to build a structure, almost a little bit like a script.

All of my OSCE notes began with this structure.

Number one, introduce yourself to the patient.

Hello, my name is Zara and I am the student nurse looking after you today.

Number two, explain why you are here and what skill you're going to perform.

It is 8:00 AM in the morning, and I need to give you your morning insulin injection.

This injection is going into your arm, or it can even go into your tummy.

Number three, gain consent.

Are you happy for me to administer your injection?

Once the patient has agreed and they've given their consent, before you even think of moving, before you even think of doing anything else, wash your hands.

Introduction, explain what you're going to do, gain consent, wash your hands.

I can't really think of any skill that doesn't have those important principles.

So start your OSCEs with that structure.

And once you built that kind of script in your head, it will become second nature.

And then when you go to practice, you are going to follow those steps exactly in that routine.

And that is the correct way to do things.

So yeah, make sure you've got a clear introduction structure that you follow and practice that so that when you come to your OSCE, you know that inside out.

3.53 Understand The Rationale Behind Every Task That You Perform In Your OSCE

Understand the rationale behind every task that you perform in your OSCE and tell the examiner.

OSCEs are not meant to be undertaken in silence.

You need to tell the examiner what you're doing and why you're doing it.

So if you are performing a skill and you do it in complete silence, you will fail.

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What do YOU think?

Let me know your thoughts in the Comments & click Like!

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And you may even find that the examiner starts to ask you questions whilst you're doing your OSCE, and then that can make you a bit nervous because you think you're doing something wrong, when it's not the case.

The examiner wants to know what you're doing and why you're doing it.

So understand the rationale behind every task in your OSCE that you're doing.

4.35 It’s OK To Be Nervous

In fact, it's very natural to be nervous.

You have someone literally watching everything that you do and is then scribbling and assessing you.

And that's very nerve wracking.

However, there is a reality to that.

You are going to be performing these skills, not just in a controlled examination environment, you're actually going to be performing these skills to real life patients.

So you need to perform these skills under pressure.

I'm going to share with you guys a tip that helped me with my nerves for my OSCEs.

I just pictured it as if I'm in placement right now, this is my mentor, and they're watching me perform this skill safely.

I have to explain to them what I'm doing and I also need to explain to the patient what skill I'm performing.

By doing that, it took away the pressure of it being an exam.

Because the minute you hear the word examination, that can straight away put a lot of pressure onto you.

And you could perform a skill hundreds of times, but the minute you're being formally assessed on it, that's it, it's as if you don't remember anything.

So change your thinking.

Picture the examiner as your mentor or a family relative in the same room as you.

Practice, practice, practice.

Remember, these are practical examinations and you need to physically practice these skills.

Get your course mate or your colleague to watch you and be the pretend examiner.

That is the best way to really gain confidence in the skills you're performing.

If you can't find someone to work with you, do what I did.

I actually recorded myself doing the skill, watched the skill back over again and go over the points that either I missed or I could improve on.

6.18 Make Sure Your Uniform Is Presentable

Please don't go into your OSCE examinations where you've got spillages on your uniform, it's all creased and you look like a mess.

No. Remember, this is a formal assessment and you should be presenting yourself to the examiner as if you were presenting yourself in front of a patient.

Your uniform needs to be clean, it needs to be ironed, you need to have your name badge on you.

If you've got your lanyard with your identification badge as well, please wear that and look your absolute best.

And this shows the examiner, this is how you would present yourself to a patient.

So very important.

That is it from me.

Best of luck to all of you guys who are going to be taking your OSCE exams.

I'm sure you will do amazing.

Remember, these are essential examinations that are going to get you that bit closer to your nursing dream and becoming a registered nurse.

And I'm sure you will do absolutely fine.

Remember to like this video, leave some comments below and any additional tip that you may have for others to learn from.

And be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can stay updated on all the videos that I post.

And remember to check out the link below for nurses.co.uk, and you can see all the amazing resources that they post for nursing students and for current RN.

That's it from me and I'll see you in my next video.

Take care and be safe.

Let me know in the comments how your OSCEs go and if my tips helped you - let's chat there!

Oh, and please Like this article to let me know you enjoyed it - thank you!

About the author

  • Zara Zaman
    Adult Nurse

My name is Zara and I am a NHS registered nurse. I am a surgical nurse by background and was recently redeployed to Intensive Care Unit to care for Covid-19 patients. I am now a trained mentor and actually supervising student nurses going into practice.

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  • Zara Zaman
    Adult Nurse

About the author

  • Zara Zaman
    Adult Nurse

My name is Zara and I am a NHS registered nurse. I am a surgical nurse by background and was recently redeployed to Intensive Care Unit to care for Covid-19 patients. I am now a trained mentor and actually supervising student nurses going into practice.

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