My first station in the clinical examination was communication. I was feeling fairly confident as this was an area that i had done well in during practice sessions. The scenario was to explain to a medical student who had just completed an attachment on the NICU, the complications of extreme prematurity.
The station started well, i managed to introduce myself and set the scene. Unfortunately i quickly realised that this was not an area that i had specifically revised for and did not feel confident with discussing the complications of extreme prematurity in detail. I then started to feel stressed and lost the structure to my communication station and forgot to check the medical students understanding of what i had said. In addition, rather than admitting that i would need to check up on some facts and get back to him I tried to extrapolate using the little knowledge that i had.
On reflection there were three key learning points for. Firstly, most people will have at least one station that does not go well on the day, even if it is an area that you have previously felt confident in. It is important to acknowledge this and try and move on and not let your performance in subsequent stations be affected by a bad experience. Secondly, if you are presented with an area that you are less confident in to discuss, do not be tempted to make it up. If there are questions that you can’t answer then say that you will have to go away and check and come back to them. Lastly, if a particular station is not going well, pause for a moment, recollect your thoughts, think back to the structure that you use for that particular station and start again.