Tuesday, 28 June 2011

OSCE and Freedom!

So today was the dreaded OSCE. I've always suffered horrendously with exam nerves, and although in recent years I've managed to get a hold of myself during written exams, I really struggle to hold things together during OSCEs. For some reason, every examination, history or procedure that I've done numerous times in the preceeding months leaves my memory and I feel like I enter every station completely clueless. This year in particular, things were not helped by the revision day put on for us at uni, where I was not-so-politely told, after one particularly disasterous station, that I was under no circumstances to go anywhere near a sick patient as I was basically completely incompetent... Cue an evening of tears, sickness and panicky phone calls to medical friends. Utter nightmare. However, once that was done I decided to focus on "practise, practise, practise" - the only way to really get through a clinical exam. I spent Friday and Saturday reading MacLeod's Clinical Examination and my Ask Doctor Clarke books cover to cover, then Sunday and Monday both involved practising with friends.

This morning I have to admit I felt rather unwell (ie like I could well vomit on the first patient I saw...), but having seen most of my year group feeling the same way, I realised things could've been much worse. The exam itself was rather hard to judge. I was lucky in that my first 3 stations were all written, as I find the written bits much easier and less panic-inducing, so that meant I started on a reasonably positive note. Aside from forgetting to take the respiratory rate of the patient in the "examine this gentleman's respiratory system" station (schoolboy error!), I can't think of any epic disasters. There were more communication/history stations than I'd imagined, which I think was a good thing, and no limb neurology or musculoskeletal exams - a definite bonus as they're my two weakest areas. All in all, I suppose it went "ok", not amazing, not terrible. I didn't cry when I came out of the exam (unlike quite a few people, and indeed me myself last year) and don't think I had any complete blanks. So I'm just going to try and forget about it until results come out a week on Friday.

This evening I'm going for dinner with some of the people from my ward group, which should be a nice way to mark the end of the year, and then we'll meet up with the rest of our class for some drinking, dancing and general debauchery! We have some lecture thing at uni tomorrow about registering with the GMC, and I suspect I may not be alone in attending with a bit of a headache (or possibly still drunk!); having to be in at 9.30am the day after exams isn't ideal but I'm sure I'll survive.

On Friday I'm going away for a week to volunteer for Over The Wall (http://www.otw.org.uk/), an amazing charity who run holidays for children affected by serious illnesses. It'll be the fourth time I've volunteered with them and I cannot wait! It's usually a completely crazy week involving lots of facepaint, nail varnish, singing, dancing, food challenges and general silliness :) So I may not update until I'm back, by which time I should have my results - eek.

Good luck to anyone still doing exams, and those who are finished enjoy your new-found freedom! xxx

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