Cushing, A., Abbott, S., Lothian, D., Hall, A., and Westwood, O.M.R.
With 360° appraisals integral to professional life, learning how to give constructive feedback is an essential generic skill. This paper explores the use of formative objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) for skills acquisition and development in giving feedback, and facilitating awareness of the importance of communication skills in clinical practice. Medical and nursing students took part in a formative OSCE. Using actors as simulated patients, a three-station OSCE circuit was repeated three times so that students could rotate through the roles as ‘candidate’, ‘examiner’ and ‘observer’. As ‘candidates’, they received immediate feedback on their consultation from the ‘examiner’/‘observer’. The events were evaluated using a questionnaire and focus groups. Peer observation and professional accountability for giving constructive feedback enhanced awareness of their skills education and training needs. It also opened the dialogue for identifying opportunities for peer assessment and feedback to support work-based education and skills development.