Utilization of objective structured clinical examination as an assessment strategy for undergraduate nursing students

  • Maureen Nokuthula Sibiya Durban University of Technology
  • Masamo Lekhuleni University of Limpopo
Keywords: Assessment, competence, Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), undergraduate nursing students


The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) has been widely and increasingly used since its inception in 1975. It was specifically focused on assessing the clinical skills of medical students. Since then the OSCE has been adapted for use in other health professional curricula, particularly nursing. At undergraduate level, three factors that indicate that OSCE is best used for the assessment of psychomotor skills are, firstly, that undergraduate nurses operate towards the novice end of the novice-expert continuum. Secondly, nurses must be sufficiently competent to practise their profession safely prior to clinical placement and, finally, the difficulties of replicating a real-world clinical environment in an examination context need to be acknowledged. This article, therefore, provides an overview of the utilisation of OSCE as an assessment tool for undergraduate nursing students. Different approaches to OSCE, preparation and planning for OSCE, scoring rubric, quality assurance strategies, advantage and disadvantages of this assessment approach are discussed.

Author Biographies

Maureen Nokuthula Sibiya, Durban University of Technology
Department of NUrsingHead of Department of Nursing
Masamo Lekhuleni, University of Limpopo
Prof M LekhuleniHead of Department of Nursing Science


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