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A Formulation and Critical Evaluation of an Inter-Personal Communication Skills Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) in Pre-Registration Occupational Therapy EducationRowe, Pauline; University of Derby (2015-05-28)Abstract Occupational Therapy is a client centred, holistic allied health profession in which the quality of a supportive, empowering therapist-client relationship is seen as having a key and central role in effective therapy. A minimum of a 1000 hours of practice placement education (PPE) must be successfully completed in pre-registration programmes, which are charged with ensuring graduates are fit for practice and purpose. This Work Based Project focussed on how pre-registration education can best equip students for a first PPE in terms of sufficient inter-personal communication skills. Primary data collection was conducted between November 2008 and March 2010. The project firstly employed thematic content analysis of data elicited from two rounds of focus group surveys of practice placement educators (PPEds) to identify a baseline of inter-personal communication skills required prior to embarking on a first PPE. This data was used to formulate an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) checklist of inter-personal communication skills, which was then utilised as a formative assessment and in role play scenarios in taught sessions with one first year pre-registration occupational therapy cohort. This cohort was surveyed via a questionnaire and in addition five students were interviewed. Subsequently a group of third year students, who role played clients for the OSCE, participated in a facilitated discussion on their perceptions of the OSCE. The data on students’ perceptions and an analysis and comparison of staff and student ratings of performance in the formative OSCE, were utilised in a critical evaluation of the use of this OSCE as a teaching and assessment tool. The findings indicate a level of agreement on the content of the OSCE checklist, providing content validity to this particular assessment. PPEds, and first and third year students are positive about the use of an OSCE when it is used as a formative experience. Students recommend that if used as a summative assessment the OSCE is combined with a reflective piece. Objective structured clinical examinations have long been established in other health care professions such as medicine and nursing. This project has provided evidence indicating that an OSCE of inter-personal communication skills is a valid assessment tool for occupational therapy pre-registration students, and that it can also facilitate student reflection, self-awareness and learning. It has also identified profession specific inter-personal communication skills required for embarking on a first PPE.