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Clinical examination in the OSCE era: are we maintaining the balance between OS and CE?
  1. Alexandre Lafleur1,
  2. Jimmie Leppink2,
  3. Luc Côté3
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Laval University Faculty of Medicine, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
  2. 2School of Health Professions Education, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Limburg, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Laval University Faculty of Medicine, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alexandre Lafleur, Faculté de médecine, Pavillon Ferdinand-Vandry, bureau 2207C, Université Laval, 1050, avenue de la Médecine, Québec city, Québec, Canada G1V 0A6; alexandre.lafleur{at}

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After more than three decades of assessment of clinical competence through Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), are medical trainees viewing clinical examination through the lens of an assessment method? Has the structure (the OS) become more important than the skill itself (the CE)? For many students, the standards required by OSCEs are the skills expected for clinical competence. Most recent textbooks on clinical examination are based on the structure needed to succeed in an OSCE, but OSCEs were not designed to teach an ideal framework for performing a clinical examination and most medical encounters require a more flexible patient-centred approach. How can we ascertain that medical students are focusing less on the OS and more on learning ‘the art’ of CE?

The OSCE remains a very important method for assessing students in many medical training programmes and in national examinations. The task demands of OSCEs and the importance of …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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