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Faculty Development

To sum up

Assessment of clinical competence is a crucial part of the basis on which decisions are made about the ability of clinicians and doctors in training. Any method of assessing clinical skills should be considered in the context of a wider programme of assessment, which should include the assessment of knowledge, clinical examination skills, practical procedure skills, doctor-patient communication, problem-solving ability, management skills, relationships with colleagues as well as professional attitudes and behaviour. 

One of the most important aspects of assessing clinical skills is the range of sampling across a candidate’s skill base; this has to be taken into account when designing any assessment. OSCEs can assess clinical, communication and practical skills but are still situated in the context of an examination setting. To assess doctors in the context of their professional practice requires the use of different formats in the work place.

  • Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) are widespread in the assessment of clinical competence
  • OSCEs are a fair and reliable method of assessing clinical skills
  • OSCEs should be blueprinted to learning outcomes
  • Developing high quality OSCE stations takes time and effort
  • Training of simulated patients and examiners is essential
  • Authenticity is important for test validity
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