This in not an official U.S. Department of State (DOS) blog and the views and information presented are my own and do not represent the Fulbright Program or the DOS.
My time in Uganda is quickly coming to an end. Today and tomorrow are the big OCSE Assessment Days I have been planning since the beginning of this visit to Makerere University School of Pharmacy. OSCE stands for Objective Standardized Clinical Examination and it is a practical exam where the students will interact with a pretend patient and use their pharmaceutical care skills to address the issues presented. It could be a patient who needs a prescription filled and some patient education or one who is asking a question and needs advice about how to treat an illness.
For these scenarios, the rooms will have a table with some drug products and other props so it is a little more real than the usual classroom role-play during the Pharmaceutical Care Skills Lab (PCSL) course I’ve been teaching this semester. There could also be hospital scenarios where the student might be presented with the medical chart of a patient, which they will review to find and solve any drug therapy problems. Then the students will have to interact with a pretend Physician to communicate their recommendations. The students will have only 7 minutes to complete the tasks at each of the 5 OSCE Stations they will go through tomorrow.
I knew that developing an OSCE Assessment for the PSCL would be a big undertaking but I really thought that it would be the best way to gauge both the success of the course and the abilities of the Ugandan Pharmacy Students. Although I have worked primarily on developing the scenarios, the faculty have reviewed them and made comments and suggestions for improvement. They also have helped with the standard setting, which means they helped me decide how to score each OSCE station. Finally, they have helped me gather together the many people needed to help with this event. We are running the OSCEs two days in a row. We will have all 42 4th Year students go through it today, which will take from 9:30am – 4:30pm and then on Friday, 32 3rd Year students will have a go at it. To accomplish this, we needed 5 faculty to agree to spend their entire day(s) assessing all those students in each of 5 stations. We also require 10 first year pharmacy students to role-play the patients- 5 for each day. I will be the coordinator for both days, unless I need to be pulled to be an assessor if one of the faculty doesn’t show up. Finally we need an additional helper to coordinate student movement between stations and to proctor the sequestration room where all of the students will need to stay until it is their turn. This is to secure the integrity of the exam. So, I’m excited to see how it all works out. Hopefully everyone will show up, both helpers and students, but one of the other faculty and I came up with some contingency plans, in case something doesn’t work out quite as we had hoped. If I’ve learned nothing else from all of my trips to Uganda, it has been to “be flexible” and expect the unexpected. Actually I’ve learned a whole lot of other things but to integrate successfully into this culture, and I’m not saying I’m there yet, you do need to be able to “go with the flow”. I’m really confident things will work out somehow- but I’m just not sure what surprises will pop up. I’ll let you know on Friday or Saturday how it all went…