No “seven-year itch” for the Objective Structured Clinical Evaluations (OSCEs), only smooth sailing. Since it was first designed and implemented at Iowa in 2017, the goals of the OSCE have been the same. Two sets of half-day assessments of incoming interns allow residency program leadership the opportunity to establish a baseline of their skill levels at specific tasks before they begin working on the wards and clinics of University of Iowa Health Care. This information guides both group and individualized instruction for the interns’ first couple months. The OSCE also allows each intern to demonstrate their skills, but it also gives them confidence that they are prepared to take on this new challenge as brand-new physicians and that their program’s leadership is there to support them.
After weathering years of pandemic restrictions and then making some of those adaptations, like the incorporation of Zoom, permanent parts of the day’s structure, the program’s designers, Education Development Director Jane Rowat, MS, and Vice Chair for Education Manish Suneja, MD, spent more time this year on expanding an already successful formula to additional departments within the Carver College of Medicine. Residents in the Department of Family Medicine have been a part of the OSCE day for years, but now a second day of OSCEs has also been added, with interns from a number of other departments also being evaluated.
The recognition of the OSCE’s value to education is not limited to the college but is nationally known. Recently, the ACGME cited a paper published by Rowat, Suneja, and former Chief Resident Sheena CarlLee, MD, when the governing organization recommend that US residency programs adopt this evaluation tool.
Like every other year, the day began with instruction from Suneja and Rowat, while faculty and Chief Resident observers logged in and were assigned to their Zoom channels. Suneja reassured the interns that the OSCE is no exam, just a formative evaluation offering both learner and instructor an opportunity to shape the educational experience everyone wants.
Learners reviewed their assignments and then the groups divided up and took their positions outside each station. Over the course of a couple hours they worked through a variety of skills demonstrations, from taking a history to having difficult conversations.
As always, the OSCE was deepened by the talents of the simulated and standardized patients (SPs), many of whom have spent careers as medical educators and take their roles seriously. The 18 SPs and the four clinical simulation suites room proctors are managed by Amy Graham, the college’s Instruction Services Specialist.
Once through the stations and the observers recorded their assessments, further assessment was performed by the learners and the SPs. The feedback they provided was also reviewed by Suneja and Rowat as they begin to think about next year.
We asked a few of the participants this year if they would say a few words about their experience on camera. We are grateful to these and all the interns for tolerating our photographers and videographers documenting the day.
Thank you, especially, to all who participated as observers and organizers to make this critical first step in our interns’ experience at Iowa a success.
Taylor Becker, CR
Alex Garza, CR
Reed Johnson, CR
Kathie Zhang, CR