Introducing a performance-based objective clinical examination into the pharmacy curriculum for students of Northern Cyprus
Purpose: To describe how a formative Objective Structured Clinical Examination was applied to fourth year pharmacy students at a university in Northern Cyprus.
Methods: A blueprint-guided performance-based objective clinical examination was implemented. Group-prepared case scenarios based on course objectives were used to develop 12 exam stations. Scenarios were discussed in common training sessions for both assessors (faculty members) and senior students (standardized patients). Pilot testing of all stations was carried out on the day of the examination. Competencies tested included medical history taking, pharmacotherapeutic knowledge application, systemic client assessment, evidence-based drug information (DI) manipulation, drug related problems (DRP) management, patient counseling and communication skills.
Results: The exam revealed that students were better in performing patient counseling (4.4 ± 0.23) and identification/resolution of DRPs (3.68 ± 0.18) than in DI tasks (2.00 ± 0.21) (p < 0.05). The students’ perceptions were positive with no significant differences in their average general performance compared to a written exam that had been previously carried out (p = 1.0).
Conclusion: The evaluation revealed that undergraduate pharmacy students in a Turkish school of pharmacy were better in performing patient counseling and identification/ resolution of DRPs than in drug information manipulation tasks. Student satisfaction with OSCEs was higher compared to the written examination. The design and implementation of the formative assessment was successful with minimum cost, using only the existing available space and personnel.
Keywords: Objective structured clinical examination, Formative assessment, Pharmacy students assessment, Competency, Examination