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(QU-CPH) conducts its Final Year OSCE Exam online during COVID-19 | Qatar University

(QU-CPH) conducts its Final Year OSCE Exam online during COVID-19

2020-04-15 00:00:00.0
Students during OSCE

Qatar University’s College of Pharmacy (QU-CPH) successfully executed its first online Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) utilizing one of the online distance education platform due to suspension of classes for students and precautionary measures to prevent novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The College of Pharmacy implemented the “Telehealth” concept, with the participation of 22 final year BSc pharmacy students and 11 faculty members.

The exam assesses the clinical skills of prospective pharmacists and is currently the ‘exit from degree’ assessment used in pharmacy programs in many countries around the world like and the United States, and which all students take simultaneously. Usually, simulated patients (SPs) play the role of real-life patients in the OSCE.
However, due to the pandemic we are facing, the structure and the regular flow of the OSCE were changed where faculty members played the SP role while having a video conference with each student who in turn role-played the pharmacist. The exam consisted of four different case-scenarios over two days that simulate the real work of a pharmacist in community, hospital and primary care settings. Students were graded based on their ability to demonstrate professional pharmacy practice skills as part of their final cumulative assessment prior to graduation.
In addition, students’ grades were cross-assessed by two faculty members to ensure fair evaluation of students and inter-rater reliability. Some of the important skills assessed as part of this exam included: Promotion of public health awareness , demonstration of managerial leadership skills, maintaining the code of ethics while dealing with difficult patients, communication and collaboration with other healthcare team members to provide optimal care to hospitalized patients, and counseling patients about their medications with trusted information taking into account their specific characteristics while dispensing the medication safely.

Dr. Maguy El Hajj, CPH Associate Professor and Head of Clinical Pharmacy and Practice Department said: “Due to COVID-19 pandemic, health consultations in Qatar and in the world started to be delivered through telehealth. It was amazing to have OSCE conducted virtually with our final year pharmacy students. I would like to congratulate Dr. Ziad and the CPP team for their efforts in successfully implementing it.”

Dr Ziad Nasr, CPH clinical assistant professor and course coordinator said: “It was quite challenging to change the whole format of the OSCE and execute it online in such a short period of time given the uncertain circumstances we are facing. But when there is a will, there is a way; and with the support of faculty members along with the dedication and perseverance of our final year students, we made it happen successfully.”
Bassant Amr, CPH fourth year pharmacy student and QU-CPH public relation officer, said: “Having the OSCE exam online was one of a kind, exciting and definitely unforgettable experience, a challenge we faced and decided to rise to. The idea of having it online was stressful for both students and the faculty, but with the collaboration and preparation, we made it happen successfully. Glad to be part of the first batch of CPH students to graduate with an online OSCE!”
Sara Thiab, CPH fourth year pharmacy student said: “This specific OSCE did not treat us as dispensing pharmacists. It highlighted advanced pharmacist role in the provision of pharmaceutical care. In addition to allowing us to showcase how a community pharmacist or a clinical pharmacist would act, more importantly, we were able to play leadership and public health educator roles. I truly enjoyed the diversity of the given scenarios; not easy nor impossible to get through, but were certainly challenging in their own special way. I would like to thank our dear faculty for their accumulated efforts to carry out the OSCE in its new online format.”