A method to enhance student teams in palliative care: piloting the McMaster-Ottawa Team Observed Structured Clinical Encounter

J Palliat Med. 2011 Jun;14(6):744-50. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2010.0295. Epub 2011 Apr 27.


Background: The need for palliative and end-of-life care (PEOLC) education in prelicensure education has been identified. PEOLC requires effective collaborative teamwork. The competencies required for effective collaborative teamwork are only now emerging and methods to evaluate them must be developed.

Objective: The adaptation of the traditional Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) for assessment of a student team addressing palliative care issues was undertaken. The McMaster-Ottawa Team Observed Structured Clinical Encounter (TOSCE) is intended as a formative evaluation tool for both competencies in interprofessional collaboration for patient-centered practice and PEOLC.

Methods: Three stations based on palliative care scenarios were developed. From January 2007 to January 2008, a total of 141 students and 38 observers participated in the evaluation of three stations, with 6-7 students per group and two observers per station. Observers completed checklists for both PEOLC and interprofessional collaborative competencies and, after completing the TOSCEs, students and observers completed questionnaires on their feasibility and acceptability.

Results: Eighty-nine percent of the students and 44% of the observers were from medicine. Students and observers found the TOSCE to be an acceptable and feasible assessment tool for both sets of competencies. Reliability and validity data show that the items in both the clinical and interprofessional checklists fit well together, and interrater reliability is readily achieved.

Conclusions: The new formative evaluation TOSCE tool, adapted from the traditional OSCE, was acceptable and feasible to students and observers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Humans
  • Ontario
  • Palliative Care*
  • Patient Care Team / standards*
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Psychometrics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires