Evaluation of a collaborator objective structured clinical examination (COSCE) in postgraduate medical education


  • Vernon Curran Faculty of Medicine Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Adam Reid Memorial University
  • Heidi Coombs Memorial University
  • Pam Pike Memorial University
  • James Farrell Memorial University
  • Ian McPherson Memorial University
  • Jennifer O'Dea Memorial University
  • Bryan Curtis Memorial University
  • Julia Trahey Memorial University




interprofessional education, collaborator, formative assessment


Background: Effective intra- and interprofessional collaboration abilities are necessary for safe and effective medical care, however such roles are often informally taught in postgraduate medical education with lack of opportunity for practice and feedback. The Objective Structured Clinical Encounter (OSCE) is a common approach in medical education. Adaptations of the OSCE have been found useful in the assessment of collaborator competencies amongst interprofessional student groups and assessment of intrinsic roles, like collaboration.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a Collaborator Objective Structured Clinical Encounter (COSCE) as a method of formative assessment on collaborator competencies for postgraduate trainees. 

Methods: This study involved a one group, pretest-posttest evaluation conducted in 2018. PGY1 residents completed a Team Skills Scale immediately before and after COSCE participation, completed an evaluation survey to report satisfaction, and were assessed by facilitators and peer assessors using a COSCE rubric.

Results: Residents reported significant improvement in their pre (N=35) to post-team skills (N=37) scores and an overall positive level of satisfaction with the COSCE experience (N=37/39, 94.9% response rate). Transfer of care skills (e.g., handover) demonstrated the lowest performance scores across all COSCE stations. Peer assessor (N = 204) and facilitator scores (N = 47) also indicated a moderate level of interrelatedness. 

Conclusion: A COSCE is a feasible method of formative assessment, fostering reflection and learning, and providing feedback on collaborator skills early in postgraduate medical education. Peer assessment may also hold promise as a formative assessment method on intra- and interprofessional collaboration.

Author Biography

Vernon Curran, Faculty of Medicine Memorial University of Newfoundland

Associate Dean of Educational Development

Professor of Medical Education


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How to Cite

Curran, V., Reid, A., Coombs, H., Pike, P., Farrell, J., McPherson, I., O’Dea, J., Curtis, B., & Trahey, J. (2021). Evaluation of a collaborator objective structured clinical examination (COSCE) in postgraduate medical education. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 22(1), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.11157/fohpe.v22i1.456