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Medical drama

13 June 2011

Actors might be used to faking injury and illness for TV cameras – but not necessarily to help put the next generation of Welsh doctors through their final paces.

Final year Cardiff University medical students are testing their key medical skills and procedures on actors as well as genuine outpatients and members of the public currently being cared for at the University Hospital of Wales.

Patients play a crucial role in ensuring assessments are authentic. The medical students, as part of their final examinations, will be tested and marked on their ability to perform a series of medical procedures and diagnose patient’s conditions.

"Role-play is an important part of the training for medical students but the use of genuine patients for the student’s final exams will demonstrate their competency as new Doctors," according to Cardiff University’s Vice Dean of Medical Education, Helen Sweetland.

"They are examined on both their clinical knowledge and communication skills such as asking difficult or private questions or overcoming any embarrassment or reluctance.

"It is no good for medical students to know or watch a procedure - they need to demonstrate their ability to do it," she adds.

The practical examinations are assessed by medical staff and will involve practical problem solving where students are given a patient scenario, discuss assessment and management possibilities, and then demonstrate assessment and treatment skills.

Matthew, a patient from Cardiff who has volunteered to take part in the project said: "It's great to come along and help out future doctors."

Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) are designed to test a range of clinical skills and competence in skills such as communication, clinical examination and medical procedure.

The OSCEs consist of a circuit of short work stations, in which each candidate is examined on a one-to-one basis. The examiners are GPs and hospital doctors from all over Wales who are regularly involved with teaching students both in Cardiff and other parts of Wales.



OSCEs are taking place at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, University Hospital of Wales this week: Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th June.

Further information or to arrange filming, please contact:

Gareth Pugh
School of Medicine
Cardiff University
Tel: 029 20 653524
Mobile: 07896 323637

Chris Jones
Public Relations
Cardiff University
Tel: 029 20 874731

Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.