A methodology known as objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is used. OSCE is acknowledged internationally as an assessment methodology that enables the applicant to demonstrate competence in a simulated practice setting, known as a station.
Assessment of competence for practice through a range of OSCEs includes a number of different simulated stations. A station is set up as a clinical setting and has all the necessary equipment.
You are required to complete 14 stations – each station assesses different competencies.
Each station has a descriptor sheet and this is displayed both outside and inside the station and is available for you to refer to as you need. You spend 10 minutes at each station carrying out the care as per the station descriptor. There are a number of aims and competencies that you are expected to achieve at each station. When the time is up then the assessment ends, regardless of whether or not you have finished. For some stations, further details on the scenario will be available inside at the station. The station descriptors/scenarios may change from one test to the next.
There are trained assessors at each station. The OSCE assessors are experienced nurses who hold a postgraduate qualification and have been trained by RCSI as OSCE assessors. Some stations may have a mannequin. Stations may have one of the assessors acting as a patient or a relative or a staff member. Assessors consider the applicant's performance and mark as competent (pass) or incompetent (fail). In order to pass the practical part, the applicant must be deemed competent in each competency at each station