Tips for Life Support OSCEs in the MCEM & FCEM

I give my trainees sitting the MCEM Part C (OSCE) exam the following tips for the life support OSCE stations:

  1. Keep every member of the team busy.
  2. Treat the manikin like a real person.
  3. Look at the monitor or examine the patient yourself.
  4. Do to the manikin what you say you would do.

Download this PDF for an illustration of each of these 4 points.

(This advice is equally applicable for the FCEM OSCE stations.)

OSCE Day of Central FCEM Course of Autumn 2012

Central FCEM Couse OSCE Day - 22 September 2012

The OSCE Day of the Central FCEM Course took place at Rotherham Hospital on Saturday 22nd September 2012.

The day involved 20 ST6+ senior trainees in Emergency Medicine, 17 actors & helpers, 15 faculty members and 1 corporate sponsor. We covered 37 FCEM OSCE stations spread over 4 OSCE circuits. The OSCE Day is designed to give candidates for the FCEM OSCE exam a day of intense exam practice and preparation. A big thanks to all the actors, helpers, faculty and candidates who participated!

The Viva Day of the Course will be held on Saturday 3rd November in Rotherham Hospital.

Final place remaining on OSCE Day of FCEM Course – 22 September 2012

We have ONE LAST PLACE remaining on the OSCE Day of the Central FCEM Course, on Saturday 22 September 2012 in Rotherham Hospital.

If you know anyone sitting the FCEM exam this autumn, please ask them to call/text me on 07595 391 468 immediately or direct them to, thanks.

Behind the Scenes of the FCEM Course

It was a great pleasure to deliver another successful Leicester FCEM Course on 14th & 15th April 2012. All the photos are here:

Thanks to my co-organisers Dr Steven How, Dr Chris Yap and Dr Roger Dalton for making it happen. As ever, it has been a tremendous buzz working with such a dedicated and passionate team of Emergency Medicine consultants and educators.

Also, thanks to all the faculty and actors who gave up their weekend to make the course a reality. We absolutely could not run the course without the terrific support from the faculty and actors.

Each course requires 6 months of meticulous planning, preparation, teamwork and choreography. Few people realise just how much effort and attention to detail goes into each course.

It starts with the selection and preparation of the venue, faculty, equipment and catering. We have a pretty specific, unique and unusual set of requirements for the venue. We need a venue large enough to comfortably hold upto 100 people, that can provide not only ALS/APLS/ATLS manikins, defibrillators & moulage kit, but also manikins for fundoscopy, otoscopy and male & female intimate examinations. From 2013 we will need a venue that can provide an ultrasound machine.

To the careful and considered pairings of candidates and OSCE circuits. Contrary to popular belief, the OSCE pairings and allocations are NOT random! We have designed a number of rules which must be followed when making the OSCE allocations.

For example, candidates from the same region must be split up and must never be paired together. For the Viva day, candidates must not be examined by faculty members from their own region.

All the way down to making sure we have a stock of painkillers for when brains start overheating (typically, after the 3rd OSCE circuit of the day) 🙂

Each course has approximately 60-100 people (faculty, actors, candidates, sponsors & assistants), each doing something slightly different from everyone else at every minute of the day. Each person moves around the venue in their own unique and carefully choreographed way. No two people are doing the same thing at any time on the day of the course.

Late into the night, 6 hours before a course launches, the course organisers perform a final dry run of the OSCE circuits. One person in the wrong place at the wrong time can throw a big spanner into the whole circuit. Everything must be checked and double-checked.

This is the engine at the heart of the FCEM Course – 36 OSCE packs, the instructions, and the bell.

Meeting & greeting participants at the start of the OSCE Day.

As Course Director, the climax of the whole course is the moment which occurs at approximately 08.45am on the morning of the OSCE Day. The moment when all the faculty, actors and candidates have turned up, and are present & accounted for! All the pieces of the jigsaw have suddenly fallen into place. The months of preparation suddenly come into sharp focus at that point, and for the first time I can relax and start enjoying the day.

And the show can then begin…

Sheffield MCEM Course – Spring 2012

Sheffield MCEM Course - 9 February 2012Roger Dalton, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, led another successful Sheffield MCEM Course today.

Candidates from across the UK and from abroad descended upon the Clinical Skills Centre at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital to be taught essential elements of OSCE examination technique required for success at the MCEM Part C exam.

Over the course of the day, candidates practised 24 OSCE stations in 4 circuits. They were given detailed critique on their performance by a faculty of 8 experienced registrars and consultants in Emergency Medicine. All the faculty members have passed the MCEM, FCEM or both, and have extensive experience in teaching on such courses.

Feedback from the candidates has been excellent, and we wish them the best of luck in the next MCEM exam in March 2012!