A training programme run by Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar is providing medical professionals with the skills to develop sophisticated practical examinations and comprehensively assess the skills of trainee physicians. The course, showed physician-educators from WCM-Q and Hamad Medical Corporation how to design and conduct an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) — one of the key teaching and assessment tools used in training doctors.

The OSCE utilises ‘standardised patients’—trained actors who play the role of patients—to create a lifelike simulated learning environment in which the clinician is tasked with conducting a thorough medical examination. This teaches and allows for the assessment of core practical skills such as how to take a medical history, check vital signs, perform various physical examinations to determine the health of the patient, and communicate effectively with a patient, among other competencies.

The course, entitled ‘Certificate Programme in the Development of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination’, was delivered by WCM-Q’s Division of Continuing Professional Development and other WCM-Q faculty and staff in the college’s state-of-the-art Clinical Skills Centre. In five sessions over six weeks, the course provided fifteen participants with the skills to design and deliver a comprehensive OSCE programme to maximise learning outcomes and ensure effective assessment, such as how to set clear programme objectives, write cases, devise appropriate checklists and scoring systems, give effective feedback to learners after assessment and train standardised patients.

WCM-Q’s Dr Dora Stadler, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, and Deema Al-Sheikhly, Director of Continuing Professional Development, directed the course.

The final learning session made use of the Clinical Skills Centre’s hi-tech examination rooms, which are equipped with audiovisual monitoring systems that allow faculty to discreetly assess learners as they perform simulated consultations with standardised patients. This was the second year the course has been offered, and it will continue to run on an annual basis. Two physicians who completed the course last year as participants—Dr Liam Fernyhough, Assistant Professor of Medicine at WCM-Q, and Dr Hassan Mobayad, Allergy and Pulmonary Consultant at Hamad Medical Corporation—served as instructors this year. WCM-Q’s Dr Stella Major, Associate Professor of Family Medicine in Clinical Medicine, and Lan Sawan, Manager of the Clinical Skills Centre, also facilitated the delivery of the programme.

Course participant Dr Shireen Suliman, Associate Consultant in Internal Medicine at Hamad Medical Corporation, said that the programme helps them understand how to develop cases and how to work with a ‘standard’ patient to create lifelike learning and assessment experiences for participants. She said she was very pleased because the experience is extremely effective as a training and assessment tool.

More information about Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s training programme for physicians are available at qatar-weill.cornell.edu.