Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) are a series of controlled, timed stations in which students demonstrate clinical skills. OSCEs are commonly used within health professions education to demonstrate competence, prepare for clinical education, and conduct program evaluation. The body of literature addressing the use of OSCEs in occupational therapy (OT) is growing; however, there are no available guidelines for developing an OSCE specific to the profession. The purpose of this paper is to describe the design of an OSCE for OT students prior to fieldwork placement. Twelve OT practitioners participated in a modified-Delphi method to generate possible OSCE scenarios. The authors developed a blueprint, designed items, implemented an OSCE, and collected data. Quantitative analysis suggests OSCEs to be valid assessment of clinical skills. Qualitative analysis suggests students perceive OSCEs to be stressful but valuable learning experiences. The authors are conducting additional analysis of outcome data, exploring the utility of OSCEs as a strategy to assess clinical competence in OT. Stakeholders concurred with the need to investigate the experience of learning through doing. The authors believe OSCEs could address universal professional rather than program specific clinical competencies.


Nancy Krusen, PhD, OTR/L is a professor in the School of Occupational Therapy at Pacific University. Her research interests include scholarship of teaching and learning, qualitative methods of research, and the constructs of the Occupational Adaptation theoretical frame of reference.

Deb Rollins, OTD, OTR/L is an OTR practitioner and adjunct instructor at Pacific University. Her research interests include trauma informed care, and professional transitions through fieldwork and doctoral experiential internship.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.