The "Culture OSCE"--introducing a formative assessment into a postgraduate program.
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BACKGROUND: There is a growing need for appropriate training models in the area of cultural competence. An Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) format is ideal for this endeavor, since it allows for skills practice and feedback. As a result, we designed the first formative Culture OSCE at Maimonides Medical Center and have been implementing it since 1999. PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT: An interdisciplinary committee developed the OSCE as a formative assessment. Stations were designed based on a review of the literature and real situations experienced in the hospital. A two-hour workshop introducing the concept of cultural competence precedes the OSCE. The emphasis is on skills that are generalizable to encounters with any culture. Standardized patients are recruited from the relevant cultural groups or are trained to understand specific cultural issues. Costumes and props are utilized to enhance the authenticity of the encounter. Faculty, recruited and trained to observe encounters, gives constructive feedback, thus enhancing faculty development in this area as well. A rating scale was developed which incorporates communication and cultural skills as two separate dimensions of the encounter. PROGRAM EVALUATION: Written feedback is obtained from residents, the trained faculty observers and the standardized patients. Resident feedback has demonstrated good face validity. A post-OSCE debriefing session allows residents an opportunity to consolidate learning and give oral feedback. CONCLUSION: The Maimonides Medical Center Pediatrics Department designed the first Culture OSCE. This is deemed to be a valuable training tool, and serves to highlight the importance of cultural competence within the Department.
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