'I found the OSCE very stressful': Student midwives' attitudes towards an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).

Nurse education today

PubMedID: 23683814

Muldoon K, Biesty L, Smith V. 'I found the OSCE very stressful': Student midwives' attitudes towards an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). Nurse Educ Today. 2013;.
BACKGROUND: The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) has become widely accepted as a strategy for assessing clinical competence in nursing and midwifery education and training. There is a dearth of information, however, on the OSCE procedure from the perspective of midwifery students. In particular, there is an absence of an objective quantification of midwifery students' attitudes towards the OSCE. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study is to report the conduct and findings of a survey of midwifery students' attitudes towards a Lactation and Infant Feeding OSCE and to consider these attitudes in the context of the international literature and the empirical evidence base. METHODS: A descriptive survey design using an 18-item Likert (1 to 5 point) scale was used to capture the relevant data. Potential participants were 3rd year midwifery students who had undertaken a Lactation and Infant Feeding OSCE (n=35) in one School of Nursing & Midwifery in the Republic of Ireland. Survey responses were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Version 18. RESULTS: Thirty-three students completed the survey providing a 94% response rate. Midwifery students' attitudes towards individual aspects of the OSCE varied. Overall, midwifery students were neutral/unsure of the OSCE as a strategy for assessing clinical competence (mean 3.3). Most agreed that the examiner made them feel at ease (mean 3.94). Contrastingly this does not appear to appease student nerves and stress as the majority agreed that the OSCE evokes nervousness (mean 4.27) and stress (mean 4.30). Midwifery students, overall, disagreed that the OSCE reflected real life clinical situations (mean 2.48). Midwifery students were neutral/unsure that the OSCE provided an opportunity to show their practical skills (mean 3.36). CONCLUSION: The findings of this study identified that midwifery students were neutral/unsure of the OSCE as a strategy for assessing clinical competence. This has relevance for OSCE development at the authors' institution. The results suggest the need to explore further why students responded in this way. This will assist to develop this OSCE further to ensure that it becomes a positive assessment process for midwifery students and for student learning as they progress through their midwifery education and training.