Building rapport with patients in an OSCE
Duncan Harding offers tips on how to have interactions that are meaningful, caring, and efficient under the time pressured conditions of an OSCE
Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) require you to assume the role of a junior doctor in a simulation of a clinical encounter in which you interact with a professional patient or an actor. OSCEs test your competency in performing procedural or examination skills and how you build rapport with patients.
An OSCE is like a performance. You need to demonstrate a set of skills under test conditions. When you are a doctor, you will take on a role where you have to be objective, clinically astute, and psychologically robust, so that you can carry on with your day after seeing a patient. Patients’ interactions with you are not an act, so whatever the circumstances of a consultation you should approach them seriously and with integrity.
The key to success in an OSCE lies in recognising that although it is an artificial simulation, your interaction with the patient should be as