OSCEs stress the “formative” for learner and faculty alike

Now in its sixth year and its impact on trainees established both locally and nationally, the organizers of our residency program’s Objective Structured Clinical Evaluations (OSCE) have begun to think about how the formative assessments can also aid faculty members. “One of the chief strengths of the OSCE is its immediacy,” said Jane Rowat, MS, Education Development Director. “Whether it was a successful encounter or one that could use some polish, the learner hears the feedback right away.” This immediacy, she said, is one that they want to spread beyond “OSCE Day.”

The structure and purpose of the program’s assessment should be familiar to many. The OSCE is scheduled a day or two before the interns’ first official day, and it can serve as an opportunity for trainees to “dust off” skills they may not have practiced for months before the end of medical school. Dozens of interns from multiple departments are observed by faculty members and Chief Residents as they perform a series of fundamental clinical tasks. After each “station” the trainee hears from the faculty observer about what went well and about any areas for improvement. Once the intern has completed all the stations, they assess the assessment, including the quality of the feedback they received.

“This kind of 360-degree feedback is at the heart of the OSCE,” Manish Suneja, MD, said. “But it is also the heart of training throughout the resident’s time at Iowa.” The Residency Program Director and Vice Chair for Education has overseen a number of initiatives that foster both real-time feedback for the learner and the educator. The Teaching Skills Curriculum has added an OSCE-type model for everyone to participate in simulations using the “One-Minute Preceptor” as a foundation. The program has also been methodically increasing the users of its new mobile-based application qUIkcoach, which affords attending faculty on the wards and in clinics the opportunity to immediately evaluate a resident-patient encounter and for that resident to evaluate the attending’s feedback.

Suneja, Rowat, and the rest of the Education Leadership team see the culture beginning to shift, where education is not an afterthought, but woven into the patient encounter. “And as faculty members get comfortable with these kinds of tools,” Rowat said, “it becomes a form of faculty development. The faculty get better at giving feedback at the same time that the residents get better feedback and are improving their own skills of providing feedback.”

As for those interns receiving feedback during this year’s OSCE, the new hybrid model blending the original format with the virtual/Zoom format adapted to accommodate the pandemic is running smoothly. Forty-four interns from Internal Medicine’s and Family Medicine’s residency programs participated this year along with 21 faculty, the 2021–2022 Chief Residents, and the 2022–2023 Chief Resident observers.

Thank you to all who participated this year, including the 24 Simulated Patients, who bring a high degree of reality and professionalism to the roles they play.

Internal Medicine Faculty Observers

  • Andy Bryant
  • Brian Gehlbach
  • Lee Sanders
  • Justin Smock
  • Matt Soltys
  • Andrea Weber

Family Medicine Faculty Observers

  • Karla Hemesath
  • Sarah Jorgensen
  • Brigit Ray
  • Kelly Skelly
  • Jason Wilbur

2021–2022 Chief Residents Observers

  • Desmond Barber
  • Sydney Bowmaster
  • Derek Hupp
  • Yana Zemkova

2022–2023 Chief Residents Observers

  • Internal Medicine
    • Ahmed Abdelhamid
    • Tyler Bullis
    • MacKenzie Hines
    • Sam Zetumer
  • Family Medicine
    • Kate Jarvis
    • Harris Syed

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