How Do OSCE Cases Activate Learners About Transgender Health?

Acad Med. 2020 Dec;95(12S Addressing Harmful Bias and Eliminating Discrimination in Health Professions Learning Environments):S156-S162. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003704.


Purpose: To describe the effect of transgender health-related objective structured clinical examination (THOSCE) case exposure on learner activation regarding gender-affirming care.

Method: A modified grounded theory approach was applied to identify the educational value of THOSCE cases. Focus groups with current and former primary care internal medicine residents who participated in THOSCE cases were conducted in 2018-2019. Transcripts were analyzed and coded until saturation to identify themes.

Results: Eighteen (72%) eligible learners participated in the focus groups. Themes were identified relating to gender-affirming care, and modified grounded theory analysis was used as a framework to organize the themes into 4 stages of learner activation: (1) believing the learner role is important, (2) having the confidence and knowledge necessary to take action, (3) taking action to maintain and improve one's skills, and (4) staying the course even under stress.

Conclusions: Residents were grateful for the opportunity to practice the skills involved in transgender health in a simulation. Many felt unprepared and were concerned about how they were perceived by the standardized patient and faculty. Residents identified feeling more comfortable with gender-affirming language in the inpatient setting, which may provide an opportunity for learning in the future. Residents identified the psychosocial skills of gender-affirming care as more directly relevant while biomedical aspects of gender-affirming care seemed less accessible to residents, given the lack of outpatient experience. The authors propose a staged approach to teaching the skills of gender-affirming care using simulation to address learners of all levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Focus Groups / methods
  • Grounded Theory
  • Humans
  • Problem-Based Learning / methods*
  • Problem-Based Learning / standards
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Transgender Persons / education*
  • Transgender Persons / psychology
  • Transgender Persons / statistics & numerical data