Research Article| Volume 20, ISSUE 2, P95-100, June 2013

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Nurse academics perceptions of the efficacy of the OSCA tool


      The use of Objective Structured Clinical Examination/Objective Structured Clinical Assessment (OSCE/OSCA) has been well documented. How assessors currently view the process, and if the OSCA tool still fulfils the assessment requirements, is unclear. In this study, the beliefs and expectations of assessors towards the assessment tool used in an undergraduate nursing degree to assess clinical skills was investigated. A cross-sectional study used semi-structured interviews and focus groups with 16 lecturers in nursing from a rural Australian university. This represents 65% of the total nurse academic staff employed there. The key issues that the academic staff raised reflect those from previous studies, such as the use of OSCA as formative assessment or a quality check process before the clinical practice. The OSCAs were seen as a good assessment tool, which gave students the opportunity to receive feedback on their performance in relation to clinical skills. The drawbacks identified in relation to the use of OSCAs were that the OSCA was seen as stressful to students. This drawback was thought to be further compounded if there was a lack of congruence regarding essential criteria between assessors. If not adequately addressed these drawbacks will erode the potential the OSCA tool has to foster uniformity, which was one of the main reasons for its implementation.


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