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Nurse Educ Today. 2012 Aug;32(6):690-4. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2011.09.007. Epub 2011 Oct 13.

An exploration of student midwives' experiences of the Objective Structured Clinical Examination assessment process.

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Department of Nursing & Midwifery Health Science Building, Northbank Campus, University of Limerick, Ireland.


This paper reports on a qualitative descriptive study that explored student midwives' experiences of the Objective Structured Clinical Examination assessment process for obstetric emergencies within a university setting. The development of fundamental clinical skills is an important component in preparing students to meet the responsibilities of a midwife. There is an international concern that the transfer of midwifery education into universities may impact on the development of midwifery clinical skills. Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) have the potential to promote integration and consolidation of skills prior to clinical placement. Twenty six students (n=36) from two midwifery programmes (BSc and Higher Diploma) participated in four focus groups and Burnard's (2006) framework was used for data analysis. Three main themes emerged following analysis: preparation for the OSCE assessment, the OSCE process and learning through simulating practice. Preparation for the OSCE's which included lectures, demonstrations, and practice of OSCE's facilitated by lecturers and by the students themselves, was considered central to the process. Learning via OSCEs was perceived to be more effective in comparison to other forms of assessment and prepared students for clinical practice. Positive aspects of the process and areas for improvement were identified. Using OSCE's increased the depth of learning for the students with the steps taken in preparation for the OSCE's proving to be a valuable learning tool. This study adds to the evidence on the use of OSCE's in midwifery education.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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