This article explores the use of the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) in undergraduate nursing education. The advantages and limitations of this assessment approach are discussed and various applications of the OSCE are described. Attention is given to the complexities of evaluating some psychosocial competency components. The issues are considered in an endeavour to delineate the competency components, or skill sets, that best lend themselves to assessment by the OSCE. We conclude that OSCEs can be used most effectively in nurse undergraduate curricula to assess safe practice in terms of performance of psychomotor skills, as well as the declarative and schematic knowledge associated with their application. OSCEs should be integrated within a curriculum in conjunction with other relevant student evaluation methods.
- Objective assessment
- Real world competence