What are the top things that nurses fail on in the OSCE?

What are the top things that nurses fail on in the OSCE?

As a requirement, overseas nurses who wish to work in the UK must register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). It started in October 2014, when a trained nurse from outside the European Economic Area, wanted to work as a nurse in the UK. They had to pass the NMC test of competence to assess their qualification, training, and experience to check whether they were capable of practising safely and effectively in the UK. The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is part of this test of competence. It is interesting to know the top things that nurses fail on in the OSCE.

The OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) test evaluates whether an applicant has the requisite qualifying practice and experience in each appropriate area of nursing or midwifery. The OSCE simulates a clinical environment and patient scenarios that registered nurses and midwives are likely to encounter when assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating care.

Most nurses who have taken the OSCE test would say it is the hardest, easy test they have taken in their entire lives. 

How hard it is then?

What kind of preparation does a nurse or midwife need to do to pass their OSCE test?

Let’s take a closer look at the top things that nurses fail on in their OSCE tests…

Lack or failure of Communication

Error in communication includes verbal, non-verbal, and not listening to the patient. Candidates are required to listen and figure out the keywords given by the examiner, listen to what the patient is complaining about, and be ready to verbalise the things that are set to do next.

Failure to read the scenarios and instructions accurately and properly

Not reading the scenarios and instructions accurately and properly might lead the candidate to do something that is not asked during the examination.

Unable to complete the documentation on time

The given time to complete the paperwork or assessment is 15 mins. Candidates must not forget the allocated time during the OSCE, so they need to be time conscious. Hence, there is always a designated clock in the room.

Failure to perform the hand hygiene

Touching the patient before conducting the hand hygiene technique is a big *NO*. The candidate should ensure to wash hands before any patient contact.

Failure to identify patient’s allergy

Determining whether the patient has an allergy is a must. To ensure this, the candidate can either check the allergy band on the patient’s wrist or their chart.

Identifying the patient properly

Due to nervousness, not checking the patient’s identity can be a common mistake. The identity of the patient can either be known by directly asking your patient. Other ways include checking the wrist band, or checking the identity label on their chart.

Failure to obtain consent from the patient

Obtaining consent from the patient is as crucial as identifying the patient. The candidate can obtain consent by either asking the ‘live’ actor or ask the examiner who plays as the patient. No matter what the procedure, always ask for consent.

Failure to ensure safe environment

Safety of the environment is the first thing you should observe and make the examiner know. Be verbal and explain what you are checking for. You need to ensure that the scene or the environment is free from any obstacles or dangers.

Failure to complete skills on time

Unable to complete any station within the given timeframe is a failure. Practice makes perfect, it is best for the candidate to practice with the set time before the examination to get familiar with the length of time you are given.


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