10. Clinical Programs OSCE

10.1 OSCE

10.2 Assessment and Feedback

10.3 Timelines

10.1 The Objective Structured Clinical Examinations - OSCE

Traditional methods of learning and assessment have primarily focused on retention of knowledge, however, current trends in clinical training have emphasised the utility and importance of moving to formative and summative assessments of clinical competencies. The OSCEs are an important learning and assessment tool in clinical training and are a reliable and valid form of competency assessment recommended by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC). The OSCEs are hurdle assessments attached to the PhD (Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology) placement units.

The OSCEs present students with clinical scenarios which assess core competencies in clinical psychological and neuropsychological practice. Each scenario will typically involve a simulated patient portraying a clinical presentation. Note that it is a compulsory requirement that students in their 3rd and 4th year of candidature act as simulated patients for the OSCEs at least once per year (either end of semester 1 or 2). Depending on the scenario, students may be required to perform a range of clinical activities within a specified time frame and will be evaluated based on their demonstration of the expected competencies. While students will be provided with information regarding the OSCE scenarios prior to the day of the OSCE, some potential scenarios include client history taking and assessment, clinical intervention, managing ethical issues and developing a clinical formulation to present to an examiner.

Typically OSCE stations will run between one or two hours and may consist of multiple phases.

10.2 Assessment and Feedback

Students will be provided with their OSCE scores and feedback sheets once results have been finalised after the OSCE. All students are welcome to arrange a time with their OSCE coordinator to discuss their experience. The OSCEs are assessment hurdles in which students must satisfactorily demonstrate the core competencies being assessed.

Formative OSCEs are learning experiences for the students. Students who do not meet the expected level of competency regarding the OSCE station will be contacted and a meeting arranged to discuss their strengths and areas of improvement. To ensure students reach the necessary level of competency, students will be set additional tasks such as the development and setting of specific goals with your placement supervisor, engagement with additional training resources and/or submission of additional assessment demonstrating the competency.

Summative OSCEs are an assessment of a student’s clinical competencies and serve as an indication of a student’s suitability to practice professionally as a graduate. Students who do not demonstrate satisfactory competency will be discussed at the relevant Board of Studies meeting in which appropriate remediation will be decided. In considering the student’s competency, the panel will look holistically at the student’s performance in the OSCE and other indicators/measures of clinical competency – such as feedback from placement supervisors and student performance review documentation. Students will be given an appropriate period of time to address the concerns identified, after which they will be required to demonstrate the competencies through an additional assessment. Students who are unable to demonstrate the expected level of competency at this point will have been considered to have not met the hurdle requirement of the summative OSCE, resulting in a fail mark for their placement unit.

10.3 Timelines

10.3.1 Clinical Psychology

  • Year 1 – Semester 1 Exam periodThis is a formative OSCE. Students will be expected to demonstrate clinical competency relating to course material. Competency assessment will be based on expected level of performance for a 1st year student with no placement experience.
  • Year 2 – Semester 1 Exam periodThis is a formative OSCE. Students will be expected to demonstrate clinical competency relating to course material and placement experience. Competency assessment will be based on expected level of performance for a 2nd year student with placement experience (Introductory placement)
  • Year 2 – Semester 2 Exam periodThis is a summative OSCE. Students will be required to demonstrate a level of clinical competency expected of student who has completed their 2nd year of coursework and is engaged in their Advanced placement.

10.3.2 Clinical Neuropsychology

  • Year 1 – Semester 1 Exam period
    This is a formative OSCE. Students will be expected to demonstrate clinical competency relating to course material. Competency assessment will be based on expected level of performance for a 1st year student with no placement experience.
  • Year 2 – Semester 1 Exam period
    This is a formative OSCE. Students will be expected to demonstrate clinical competency relating to course material and placement experience. Competency assessment will be based on expected level of performance for a 2nd year student with placement experience (Introductory placement).
  • Year 3 – Semester 1 Exam period
    This is a summative OSCE. Students will be required to demonstrate a level of clinical competency expected of student who has completed all coursework and their first three placements.

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