Remember way back when I wrote about what the OSCE experience is like? The nerve-wracking, sweat-inducing experience? All that adrenaline pumping through your system while you wait to encounter that one station that will haunt you for the rest of your life?
It’s not that fun. (Trust me, a large number of the class tanked the auto-fail pediatrics station. Not fun.)
But I’ll tell you what is fun. The post OSCE experience.
Let me break it down for you:
1. The Fist Pump/Air Punch
This occurs in the immediate wake of the last OSCE station. Everyone pours out of their respective rooms and a record-breaking number of high-fives, hugs, and fist pounding takes place. You feel a little light-headed – is it actually over? You feel pretty good, surprisingly – does that mean you aced it?
It’s a very exciting few minutes. You’re full of confidence, beaming with pride, and shining with a righteous sense of purpose.
2. (Optional) The Debrief – AKA The Deflation
Our pediatrics OSCE is nice enough (or cruel enough?) to include a debrief the second you’re finished. Each examiner walks through the common errors and strong points of the group as a whole, so that you get immediate feedback about what to think about next time. So all those stations you thought you aced? Nice try, missed that key history point. That procedure station you had to rush through to complete in 6 minutes? You forgot to wash your hands.
Also, they have a tendency to point out the most ridiculous mistakes for the sake of a joke. FOR GOD’S SAKE. That person who made that mistake is STANDING RIGHT THERE, you mook. Glad we all had a giggle at their expense, are we? (I’m not even referring to myself here, I was just so mortified for those poor bastards.)
3. The Jitters
So it’s now an hour or two after you’re done, but you just – can’t – sit – still. You can hardly focus on what you’re doing, you bounce up and down the hallways, trying to burn off that pent-up energy while the nurses give you weird looks. It’s not that you’re really happy (how could you, going back to work after an exhausting morning like that?), it’s just that you feel a little… crazy. You get these annoying flashbacks to mistakes you made, and somehow you still feel pretty anxious about the whole thing, even though you know you passed. It’s like PTSD for med students.
4. The Rapture
You’re done clinic/hospital work for the day. The entire weekend, study-free, stretches before you in a glorious, golden path to happiness. You walk/drive home, pumping your favourite tunes into your ears. You sing like nobody’s listening and dance like nobody’s watching. On arrival, you unceremoniously dump your bag by the door and proceed to complete your unique happy dance. This may involve any or all of the following:
- Head bobbing
- Single Ladies-ing
- Twisting and shouting
- Walking like an Egyptian
- Getting jiggy with it
- Doing the locomotion
- Shaking all limbs rhythmically while a deep voice says “DROP THE BASS”
You strut around your place like you rule the universe. And just for a few minutes, everything is awesome.
5. The Denouement
The all-guns-firing energy starts to fade closer to dinner time, replaced by a sense of satisfaction and contentment. This in turn subsides, leaving you with a quiet nothing. A buzzing noise fills your brain as your brain cells one-by-one throw their hands up and turn in for the night. Sentences may or may not make sense at this point – do not confuse this with dysarthria. You are not having a stroke. You sat an OSCE.
You may be able to stay awake a few more hours to enjoy the company of family/friends, or just to watch your favourite show. You may not. Either way, sleep beckons with gentle touch and soft whispers. Today, your fighting and struggling is done. You’ve earned your rest.
Congrats to everybody on finishing the peds OSCE!
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