Implementing objective structured clinical skills evaluation (OSCE) in nurse registration programmes in a centre in Ireland: a utilisation focused evaluation

Nurse Educ Today. 2006 Feb;26(2):115-22. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2005.08.003. Epub 2005 Oct 10.


This paper presents findings from a research study of two objective structured clinical skills evaluation (OSCE) processes that were used in the new BSc. in General and Psychiatric Nursing Registration programmes offered in an Institute of Technology in the south west of Ireland. OSCEs, which have gained widespread acceptance throughout the western world as valid academic measures of nursing competence has yet to be established in this country. This research aimed to evaluate the process and outcomes of OSCE from the perspective of the major stakeholder groups: first and second year nursing students, lecturers, clinical placement coordinators and assessors. A utilisation focussed evaluation approach was adopted which values the opinions and experiences of stakeholders. It is intended to use the findings to develop the validity and quality of the OSCE assessment. The OSCE process was found to have a positive impact on all stakeholders. OSCEs were perceived to be a meaningful and fair form of assessment. Students identified that they felt more prepared for and more confident about forthcoming placements. The OSCE process was, however, perceived to be a stressful experience and requires considerable preparation effort by students and academic staff. Mature students claimed that more practice effort was required but also felt more prepared for placements and achieved higher OSCE scores.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Competency-Based Education* / standards
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate* / standards
  • Educational Measurement* / methods
  • Educational Measurement* / standards
  • Faculty, Nursing
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychiatric Nursing / education
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Qualitative Research
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires