Passing the clinical examination stations requires a systematic approach that appears almost involuntary. Examiners are unlikely to interrupt or prompt a candidate to any great degree, so it is vital to display a professional savvy examination performance from the off set
The best method for a candidate to ensure that they perform successfully during the intermediate case is to practice, practice and practice beforehand. This will ensure that a candidate develops a structured and systematic approach that is easily identifiable to the examiners.
It is important to have rehearsed a standard strategy for the introduction and finish of a clinical examination station. It needs to appear natural (not forced over rehearsed or insincere) and be easily recallable despite the intense nerves that can plague you at various times during the exam. It is important not to forget hand washing before and after each case. There shouldn’t be too many painful cases in the exam, but a patient may be sore after the 10th examination of their hip by a candidate so it is important to reassure the patient (and examiners) you will stop straight away if it becomes too painful
“Hello, my name is Mr. Smith I am one of the candidates for the examination today. Do you mind if I examine your hip? Please let me know if I hurt you and I will stop immediately.”
“I am going to be talking to the examiners as we go along. Are you ok with this”?
At the end don’t forget to thank the patient for letting you examine them and wash your hands. If appropriate help the patient sit up off the couch or dress even if you feel you are losing a certain amount of examining time and therefore scoring opportunities.The opposite is generally true that candidates will lose marks if they appear too rushed and unsympathetic to a patient.Candidates will make it very easy for the examiners to find a reason to mark them down that requires very little justification
“Thank you for taking part in the examination today. Do you need any help sitting up”?
Patients are most very happy to volunteer with helping with the clinical examinations. It is vital candidates are as courteous and kind as possible to these patients. Failure to introduce yourself and to respect these patients will be unacceptable to the examiners, particularly if any patient has a painful lesion.
Many patients will be nervous and anxious about taking part in a clinical examination.Patients may also be unsure of exactly what is expected of them.Some may be worried about saying something that may fail a candidate.Examiners will often ask patients what they thought about the performance of the various candidates examining them.A confident polite courteous approach putting a patient at ease will go a long way towards making a good impression with a patient.
Some of the candidate/patient interaction may seem a little forced cheesy or contrived and yet it is something that just has to be done.Try to come across as sincere in your patient interactions as paying lip service to something you only doing because you have to for the exam is more obvious to the examiners than it appears.