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Preparing for your OSCE exam pt.2

In the first of this series, we briefly looked at how to make the most out of revision prior to your OSCE NMC Exam for Overseas and Return to Work Nurses. Today, I will go through what to expect at the test centre.

Given the nature of the OSCE, you can expect to find yourself walk into a purpose-built, mock-up hospital ward. The layout will vary between the three recognised test centres in the UK, however in generic terms you will find "patient at home bays", each is set up for individual station scenarios. The examination area of the centre is overseen by an invigilator.

You may notice a few things about each of the stations, some of the test centres has a camera in the corner. You do not need to worry yourself over this as they are there for moderation and review purposes only.

You may also come across both professional actors and mannequins. The professional actors are there to make the scenario much more realistic but do not worry - they are not there to distract you!

TIP: Make sure you interact with your patient (actor or mannequin) fully, as you will be marked on your professionalism!

Each of the stations will be equipped with all the appropriate equipment for the scenario. Most if not all, are those you find in any UK hospital ward so this should already be familiar to you. If however you find equipment that you are not familiar with, you will have the opportunity to ask the assessor or invigilator questions prior to your assessment.

Before arriving at the OSCE Exam centre, you should ensure you are dressed appropriately for your area of clinical practice and so demonstrate awareness of the importance of infection control in healthcare practice. In short, dress professionally!

  1. Only smooth studded earrings are permitted

  2. No necklaces, bracelets, or wristbands of any kind are allowed

  3. Only smooth wedding rings are permitted

  4. Hair must be above the collar line, and not tied up using any decorative accessories. If necessary, wear a hairnet

  5. No nail varnish, gels or false nails are to be worn during your assessment

  6. No low-cut tops or short skirts

  7. Suitable flat black shoes only

Of course, you can also expect a full set of rules at the test centre too, and some of those will be covered in the next blog where, I will run through what to expect at each station.

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