Effects and Consequences of Being an OSCE Examiner in Surgery-A Qualitative Study

J Surg Educ. 2019 Mar-Apr;76(2):433-439. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2018.08.003. Epub 2018 Sep 10.


Objective: Even though objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is a well-investigated format for competency-based practical examination, only a few studies have explored the motivations of OSCE examiners and their opinions, both positive and negative, toward being an examiner. The aim of this study was to gain insights into the views of OSCE examiners using semi-structured interviews.

Design: Surgical OSCE examiners were queried at two medical faculties in Germany via semi-structured interviews. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using the techniques of structured qualitative content analysis.

Setting: This study was conducted at the medical faculties of the Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany and of the Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany.

Participants: All of the study participants were surgeons working at the university hospital of one of the faculties.

Results: A total of 29 examiners were queried until a saturation of content was achieved. A critical reflection of one's own teaching was described as a major benefit by most participants. Furthermore, they noted that the standards and competences examined during the OSCE boosted the detail of their teaching sessions in the wards. However, the examiners criticized missed operations due the examination and were not appreciated by superiors for being an examiner. Most of the examiners (22/29) preferred to be an examiner themselves rather than appointing student peer examiners. If they had appointed someone else, that would mean they would miss valuable experiences useful for their own teaching.

Conclusions: Being an OSCE examiner confers several advantages, notably the reflection of one's own teaching, which was described as highly valuable by the examiners.

Keywords: Medical Knowledge; OSCE; Patient Care; examiner; qualitative analysis; surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Female
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Report