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Let them assess themselves
The benefits of a peer-assisted mock-OSCE
. Young I et al. Clinical Teacher 2014; 11(3): 214-8.
Reviewed by Patricia McBurney


What was the study question?
Is it feasible and acceptable for medical students to provide mock-OSCEs for their peers?  What are the benefits of this?

How was the study done?
Fourth-year medical students at the University of Edinburgh (in 5 year British undergraduate system; n = 103) served as tutors to third year medical students (n=285, 85% of the third year class).   There were 3 identical evening sessions (each approximately 3 hours) to accommodate all of the students.  The sessions consisted of a lecture on OSCE performance, resuscitation training, and 2 mock eight-station OSCEs.  The tutors were trained in structured feedback.  The tutees were provided with a booklet detailing the key learning points from each station and written feedback from the tutors. Surveys of the tutees and tutors were completed at the end of each evening session.  Quantitative and qualitative data was collected.

What were the results?
241 of 285 tutees (85%) completed the survey in full. 100% of the responding students reported the mock OSCE, the resuscitation scenario and booklet were fantastic or good.  Three main themes were identified: improved confidence, valued feedback and desire for further sessions. 61 of 103 tutors (59%) completed surveys in full.  Of the respondents, 100% felt that the quality of the sessions were fantastic or good.  The main 3 themes identified were consolidated knowledge, improved teaching skills and motivation to participate due to previous experience as tutee.

What are the implications of these findings?
Senior students are a much underutilized resource in medical education.  Additionally, they can further their own education by teaching.  Offering peer-assisted mock OSCEs is clearly valued by students.  Does it improve clinical or test-taking skills?  Could it benefit our students preparing the USMLE Clinical Skills Part 2?

*An email communication with author revealed that no professional actors were used.  The tutors filled the role of patients.

 

Editor’s note:  Dr. McBurney contacted one of the authors of this paper!  Wow!!  Will this lead to a new trans-Atlantic medical education collaboration?  Hope so! J  One of the unique things about this exam was a booklet that listed the stations and the personalized feedback from the tutors at each station - I'm sure this was a powerful aid for reflection and future learning (SLB).

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