Keeping it real! Enhancing realism in standardised patient OSCE stations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) are a
commonly used method of assessing clinical competency in healthcare education. They can providean opportunity to observe candidates interacting with patients.
There are many challenges in using real patients in OSCEs, and increasingly standardised patients are being used as a preference. However, by using standardised patients there is a risk of making the encounter arti?cial and removed from actual clinical practice.
Context: Efforts made in terms of cognitive, auditory, visual, tactile, psychological and emotional cues can minimise the differences between a simulated
and real clinical scenario. However, a number of factors, including feasibility, cost and usability, need to be considered if such techniques are to be practicable
within an OSCE framework.
Innovation: This article describes a series of techniques that have been used in our institution to enhance the realism of a standardised patient encounter in an
OSCE. Efforts in preparing standardised patient roles, and how they portray these roles, will be considered. A wide variety of equipment can also be used in
combination with a patient and the surrounding environment, which can further enhance the authenticity of the simulated scenario.
Implications: By enhancing the realism in simulated patient OSCE encounters, there is potential to trigger more authentic conscious responses from candidates and implicit reactions that the candidates themselves may be less
aware of. Furthermore, using such techniques may allow faculty members to select scenarios that were previously not thought possible in an OSCE
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Pages (from-to)382-386
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Teacher
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

© Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2012.


  • OSCE
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • Review and Exam Preparation


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