Virtual Evaluation of Clinical Competence in Nurse Practitioner Students

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


All in-person nurse practitioner (NP) student clinical activities were suspended in the spring of 2020 due to COVID-19. This posed a unique summer semester challenge, as students needed to complete an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). The traditional face-to-face OSCE was revised into a virtual format using a teleconferencing platform and included the following learning objectives: obtain the medical history, describe a focused physical examination, formulate differential diagnoses, and develop an appropriate plan of care. Together with the Health Education Center, students met with a standardized patient (SP) virtually. All elements of the virtual OSCE were the same as the traditional OSCE, except students were required to demonstrate their clinical assessment skills by verbalizing to faculty what they would examine if the visit were in-person. When finished, all participants were invited to complete a survey about their experience. Survey findings revealed that most faculty and students considered the interactive virtual OSCE an extremely effective tool for assessing communication and history taking skills, differential diagnosis, and management of patients. All SPs felt comfortable communicating with the students and felt that the virtual OSCE was a very effective way to assess their interpersonal skills of students. The virtual OSCE also served as an opportunity to incorporate telehealth competencies into a simulation experience for students. This innovative distance learning activity facilitated effective virtual evaluation of clinical competence in NP students and all stakeholders expressed satisfaction with the experience. Most faculty and students strongly agreed that they wanted to continue using the virtual OSCE platform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1267-1271
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Distance learning
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Standardized patients
  • Telehealth simulation
  • Virtual OSCE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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