OSCEry: Med Horror Stories

By UPCM Students

“Magandang umaga po, ako po ay isang estudyante dito sa Kolehiyo ng Medisina, nandito po tayo ngayon para sa inyong eksaminasyon…” 

Did those words give you cold sweats? War flashbacks of the time you had to accurately  describe a lesion or listen intently for a murmur? If they did, then you, along with most other medical students, are probably suffering from POSD — Post-OSCE Stress Disorder. 

The Objective Structured Clinical Exam, more commonly known as OSCE, is a rite of passage for all medical students, in which we are tasked to perform a systematic clinical exam (as the name implies), and report our findings within a certain time limit. Some go well, some are alright, but some just seemingly crash and burn. This Halloween, we’re serving up your worst fears: tales of OSCEs gone wrong. Enjoy!

  1. “Nothing is scarier than your preceptor asking you in the middle of the OSCE,  “What are you doing?” “Is that what your checklist told you to do? ” Huhu hello anxiety” – Doggies, Class 2023
  2. “It was my turn at the Pedia Station of the Cardio OSCE. Everything had gone pretty well so far. I’d completed the PE and reported my findings without problems, but I was still really nervous since there was time for more questions. The consultant then asked me to listen to the kid’s pulmonic area again, but there was nothing wrong when I listened to it. I got even more nervous, but I just reported what I heard. So, the consultant asked me to describe the murmur.In my nervousness, my mind went blank. I completely forgot how to describe murmurs. The sound of the kid’s heartbeat just kept replaying itself in my mind over and over- “Woosh-dub, woosh-dub, woosh-dub”. I accidentally said “Woosh-” out loud. At least, the consultant seemed mildly amused. :((“ – Rosewynn Salvan, Class 2023
  3. “While checking for turgor on an elderly patient during my LU III Derma OSCE, the consultant asked me what secondary skin changes take place in aging. He gave me a hint: it starts with the letter “A”. I was so nervous and scared, that while staring at him blankly I started trying to guess the answer and said, “A…a…a….I’m sorry po!” He just laughed. – Anon, Class 2022” 
  4. “My patient for the Cranial Nerves part of the Neuro OSCE was terrifyingly uncooperative. While doing the Visual Field exam on him, I kept saying, “Sa mata ko lang po ang tingin!” but each time I held up my finger to perform the test, his head shot straight to the direction of my finger. He kept doing it even after I placed my hand on his head to limit his movement. We went on like this for almost 2 minutes, and out of the corner of my eye I could see the consultant trying not to laugh. In the end, I just decided to report that I could not perform the examination and moved on to the next set of cranial nerves huhuhu.” – Eyes On Me, Class 2023
Eyes on me

5. “I was asked in my LU IV Derma OSCE for the etiology of verruca vulgaris, and I blanked out. I spent around four out of the allotted ten minutes saying “Uhmmmm”.” – Anon, Class 202x

6. During the BP station of Cardio OSCE, the patient was seated beside a bed and for some reason, I decided to take the blood pressure of the arm farther from the bed so that I was supporting it with my arm. As I was clearly struggling, the preceptor said “you can use the bed”, so I promptly told the patient “higa po kayo” and took their blood pressure while they were lying down. Tawang-tawa yung preceptor ko. –Supportive, Class 2022

7. While taking pulses during Cardio OSCE, I didn’t palpate for the femoral artery, so the preceptor said, “where else should you palpate?” I then turned to my fully-dressed patient and said “ah, hubad po kayo” to which the patient replied “hanggang saan po?” while quickly dropping her pants. My preceptor grabbed her pants and pulled them back up and said “I MEAN THEORETICALLY WHERE”. –Anemia, Class 2022

“Hanggang saan po?”

8. At my cardio OSCE, I heard the murmur of aortic stenosis on the Heartman which I quickly identified. I was asked to give at least 1 differential (that I didn’t prepare for) and went “ummmmm aging po sir!” My preceptor burst out laughing. –Leonine facies, Class 2022

9. During inspection of the chest at my Cardio OSCE, my patient was an IM resident who had volunteered to help out. I described my totally normal findings, but also noticed that there was a horizontal line in between the border of his chest and abdomen. Not knowing that this is a line you get when your stomach gets kind of big, I said “there are no deformities, but I see a line…” to which my preceptor responded by patting the resident on the back and saying “o magdiet ka raw.” SORRY PO SIR HINDI KA NAMAN MATABA. –dietman, Class 2022

10. For my neuro OSCE, I was in the somatosensory station, testing light touch, pain, and temperature on the patient and asking them to compare any potential differences in the sensation. For the light touch part, I told the patient while stroking the right arm with a cotton wisp “kung ito 100%, ano po ito?” as I switched to the left and she replied “73% po”. I repeated the test and she replied with “67%” and then “84%” on the third try. I looked at the preceptor and she said “let’s move on.”

11. During my neuro OSCE, I was testing temperature perception of the patient using my hand as the warm stimulus and my tuning fork as the cold stimulus. I rubbed my hands together to ensure they warm and even told the patient when touching her with the tuning fork, “ito ang malamig” and with my hand “ito ang mainit”. Once I started the test, I put my hand on the patient and asked “malamig o mainit?” to which she responded “malamig, parang yelo!” –Future Dr. Cullen, Class 2022

12. During my derma OSCE, I noticed the patient had a verruca vulgaris lesion on his hand, so I was focused on it while getting his general data and already generating differentials in my head. When I asked for his chief complaint, he took off his shirt and pointed to classic psoriasis lesions all over his back. I WAS SHOOKT. –koia, Class 20xx

13. While examining a derma patient with psoriasis during an OSCE, the preceptor asked me “what do you call the sign in psoriasis that shows pinpoint bleeding with light scratching of the lesions?” referring to the Auspitz sign. Knowing the answer, but not having ever said it out loud, I confidently responded “Auschwitz sign po!” –HAYS, Class 20xx

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