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Nursing OSCEs: A Complete Guide to Exam Success

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Title: Nursing OSCEs: A Complete Guide to ExamSuccess

Edited By: C Caballero, F Creed, C Gochmanski, J Lovegrove

Publisher: First Published 12 January 2012 by Oxford University Press

Reviewer: Paul Watson, teacher of secondary mathematics and PSHE coordinator

What was it like?

This book claims to be a complete guide on how to prepare for an OSCE, with step-by-step instructions for the ten most common OSCE stations that nursing students can face. It details how specific stations range from asceptic non-touch technique, communication and observations, to more highly pressured skills such as medication administration, resuscitation and assessing a deteriorating patient.


What were the highlights? 

The book is a guide to exam success and covers many skills in a clearly structured and concise way, detailing them from the beginning trough to the main task and on to the conclusion. Each OSCE chapter outlines the recommended key revision material, enabling quick and complete revision, with step-by-step instructions on how to perform the skill in an OSCE; many of these skills are reinforced with presentations downloadable from the internet. I found that each section was clear and well-supported with examples of the  examiners marking sheet, so students know the criteria they will be measured against, typical questions an examiner may ask and suggested answers. There were also examples of common errors to avoid and top tips for success.

Strengths & weaknesses:

With over 70 illustrations and videos of four OSCE stations, it demonstrates how to pass key stations. Bonus online material includes colour photographs and Powerpoints for revision at While this address was easy to find in the text, being repeated many times throughout, it took me some time to find the log on details required to access the data I was after. The Oxford Press site claimed that the log on details were in the books “Preface”; in actual fact the log on details were at the end of the section “How to use this book”. Once able to access the additional material I was impressed with the quality and usability of what was there.

I do feel, however, that the use of a book like this alone will not produce a good quality nurse, but will produce a practitioner who has learned to pass “OSCEs”. My point is that to be a good practitioner the student must be able to complete all of these tasks and more, with real patients, and not just pass OSCEs.

Who should read it?

This book is ideal for nursing students preparing for OSCEs as well as for lecturers, mentors and practising nurses involved in student education, although as I have said, this is not a replacement for good “hands on” nursing practice, but rather a support to this.

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