OSCE DOs & OSCE DONTs
For many of you, the dental nursing OSCEs are approaching, and whilst you're preparing yourself for the anticipation of the day, you're also working, juggling daily life perhaps you have children, fur babies and balancing a social life! But what I want to tell you is that YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOOSE, BUT EVERYTHING TO GAIN.. here's why...
You have come this far after all your EROEs and you've passed you theory exam, you have now been promoted to take the next level of dental nursing exams and the final one! (yaay!)
you may have all these images in your mind about what it will look like, be like and preconceptions of the examiners. but I'm here to tell you it's not as bad as what you're thinking.
I've been there not too long ago and know exactly from a first hand perspective what you're feeling.
1. Make sure you turn up looking fresh, clean and well groomed- hair back, neat and clean. Your uniform has to be smart, clean and tidy. Wear you uniform to wear that you wear at work even your crocs (yeap those dreaded shoes that we like to keep in private...)
2. Turn up in enough time! don't be rushing to your exam, getting all hot and bothered. Make sure you know where you're going and what time you are to be there.
3. when you get to your place of exam, you will be walked through to get your badges and then to change. Make sure the badge that has been given to you is yours! you don't want to be doing your exam under someone elses name... you will also be given a number- this number is where you will start on your exam section.
Don't chew gum! you can get disqualified for this 🤦♀️
4. After you have changed and scrubbed up, you will be walked into a room where you will sit in your colours of your bands (your wrist bands will have colours, the same as your examination paper, I was yellow) In this room you will have to be silent, you're not allowed to talk or discuss anything (don't feel intimidated) use this time to just relax! don't start going over things in your mind, it'll only make you forget. You will be given a booklet to read of the questions in the exam! (yes this is a great high point!) my advice would be to start on the number you are so you are prepared for when you walk in- start on a winning streak!
5. when you are walked into the examination hall, it will most likely be a huge conference centre, you will see sections of the room split into box like examination areas which are separated.
6. You will then wait outside your exam section and you will be sent to your number. The exam takes 1 hour so not so long! You will have a 1 minute to read your task before entering you exam section formally. You have 5 mins to do your OSCE and then move onto the next one. At the start and end of each OSCE you will hear a bell. This is just to let you know when to start & stop.
7. If you finish before the bell rings or before the 5 mins is up, you can say you're finished and there will be chair for you to sit on outside the designated area.
8. Don't forget to breath! they understand you are nervous, if you need a moment take one but be aware of your time.
9. Read the task! Make sure you know exactly what is asked of you for your task. If throughout the task you feel you're not doing it correctly, you can ask to start over. Be aware of time though. For example- I had to mix a temporary cement into a sausage like shape and consistency ( I can't remember which cement it was now!)- I noticed i had mixed it to a double cream consistency and then corrected myself and gave them information as to why i would do a double cream. This allows the examiner to recognise you know what you have done wrong and how to correct it but also that you have knowledge of that particular item.
10. Dont look at your colleagues! Focus on yourself and what you are doing until the end of the exam and then you can talk when you leave. I have heard that some candidates have looked at each other and smiled which resulted in them being disqualified so be mindful. You don't need to smile at Sarah for now, she will understand.
11. When you finish after the 1 hour, congratulate yourself and give yourself a massive hug! You've got this far and you've smashed your exam! all that hard work you have put into action for the last 18 months has now finished and you've completed the last stage!
12. Most importantly... THINK POSITIVE!
1, practice, practice, practice! - mix as many cements as possible/ alginate as well! you will most likely get a mixing station.
2. remember at least 3 advantages & 3 disadvantages of anything
3. practice what you need to say to introduce the task
4. always mention your name, your ppe at the beginning of the task and the end (in how you put it on and off) as if you're in surgery
5. practice your knowledge on medical emergencies, most likely you will get a medical emergency
6. know good and bad dietary advice
Of course no one knows what will be in the exam, but they were pointers on what I focused on the most for my exam. Go through your Levinsons book and post it note the sections you are less confident with and go over that. Write it down! Colour code it also! that always helps to remember, make associations with your topic, chew gum when you study as that helps for concentration and associates topics (brain fact)
I hope this helps for all you lovely people about to take your OSCE exam, don't be nervous, imagine you are in the surgery doing your every day thing, the examiners are a patient and you are confident, positive to pass and you are enjoy it!
Let me know how you got on & if any of my tips have helped!
Good luck xx 💋