Experiences of radiography students regarding the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE): a case of the University of Namibia (UNAM)
Keywords:clinical competence, radiography, assessment, OSCE
Background. An objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is a comprehensive assessment tool that is used to quantify the clinical competence of health professionals including student radiographers. Students raised concerns about the objectivity of the OSCE in view of a high failure rate at the University of Namibia (UNAM) over the past three years. In accordance with UNAM guidelines, a reassessment is prescribed when > 50% of students fail an assessment. This prompted the researchers to explore the experiences of student radiographers regarding an OSCE.
Objective. To explore and describe the experiences of UNAM radiography students regarding an OSCE as a clinical assessment tool.
Methods. A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive, retrospective and contextual research design with an ethnographic approach was utilised. A purposively selected sample of second, third and fourth year radiography students (n=20) participated in the study. Four focused group discussions were conducted during data collection.
Findings. Four themes emerged from the data: management and administration of an OSCE, psychological factors, validity and reliability of an OSCE, and teaching and learning. These were considered important elements shaping students’ experiences regarding their OSCE.
Conclusion. Student experienced poor management and administration of an OSCE and psychological factors such as stress and anxiety affected their performance. The findings also indicated low validity and reliability of an OSCE, and positive teaching and learning as student experiences. The recommendations are: effective orientation with clear aims and objectives of an OSCE must be provided to students; OSCE stations should be well aligned to objectives and real life practice with clear instructions and questions; time per each station should be aligned to the content at that particular station rather than having a standard time for all stations and the integration of simulation within an OSCE to enhance and maximise the validity and reliability of the assessment.
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