Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) has launched a new programme for medical professionals to develop innovative practical examinations for assessing the skills of resident physicians.

The course, delivered by WCMC-Q’s Division of Continuing Professional Development and other WCMC-Q faculty and staff, provides participants with the skills to design a programme of simulated clinical examinations with standardised patients – trained actors who play the role of patients.

Entitled ‘Certificate Program in the Development of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) With Standardized Patients’, the first installment of the new course consisted of five half-days of training held at WCMC-Q throughout April, May and June. Twelve faculty members from Hamad Medical Corporation’s Internal Medicine Department and WCMC-Q participated.

Course participant Dr Hassan Mobayad, Allergy and Pulmonary Consultant at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), said:

The Objective Structured Clinical Examination is the most up-to-date and effective method of clinical assessment there is and I am delighted that HMC and WCMC-Q are collaborating to introduce the format here in Qatar. The OSCE method is fairer, more thorough and more rigorous than the traditional method of assessment, which will help us ensure that the very highest standards of patient care are achieved.’

WCMCQ structural clincal examinations teamDr Dora Stadler, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Continuing Professional Development at WCMC-Q, and Deema Al Sheikhly, Director of Continuing Professional Development, directed the course. Al Sheikhly said:

Objective Structured Clinical Examinations that utilise standardised patients are extremely effective both as learning and assessment tools because they replicate real-life consultations between doctors and patients extremely accurately. This helps trainees learn to treat their patients with professionalism and compassion, while their supervisors can observe to ensure that they are able to communicate effectively with the patient and can conduct a thorough and complete medical examination.’

Participants learned key skills to develop OSCE programmes, such as how to set clear program objectives, write cases, devise appropriate checklists and scoring systems, give effective feedback to learners after assessments and train standardised patients.

The final learning session was held in WCMC-Q’s Clinical Skills Center, which has six examination rooms equipped with audiovisual monitoring systems that allow faculty to discreetly assess learners as they perform simulated consultations with standardised patients.

The final session challenged the participants to put the theories they had learned into practice by running their own Objective Structured Clinical Examination using the cases they had developed during the course. The course concluded with a group discussion and reflection led by Dr Stadler and Al Sheikhly. Dr Stadler said:

We have been very pleased to work collaboratively with our colleagues at Hamad Medical Corporation to deliver this training, which can be of great benefit to medical residents and the patients they treat. Thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of the participants, the pilot course has been successful and we hope to continue offering it not only to faculty at HMC but other health professional educators in Qatar and the region.’

WCMC-Q is a partnership between Cornell University and Qatar Foundation. It offers pre-medical and medical courses leading to the Cornell University M.D. degree with teaching by Cornell and Weill Cornell faculty and by physicians at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Aspetar Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Hospital who hold Weill Cornell appointments. Through its biomedical research program, WCMC-Q is building a sustainable research community in Qatar while advancing basic science and clinical research. Through its medical college, WCMC-Q seeks to provide the finest education possible for medical students, to improve health care both now and for future generations, and to provide high quality health care to the Qatari population.