Developing effective communication and symptom assessment skills is an important component of palliative care training for advance practice nurses (APNs) and other health care providers. The purpose of this project was to develop and pilot test a three-station palliative care Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) for APN students and physician fellows. Three stations included discussing goals of care, breaking bad news, and assessing delirium. Measures included the Interpersonal Skills Tool, Station Checklists, the OSCE Evaluation Tool, and a focus group to solicit learners' perspectives about the experience. Findings showed that learners evaluated the exercise as appropriate for their level of training and that standardized patients were convincing and provided helpful feedback. Learner self-evaluation means were significantly lower than those of standardized patient or faculty, and faculty raters demonstrated low interrater reliability. Initial evaluation suggests a three-station palliative care OSCE exercise is effective for multidisciplinary learners, although additional refinement is necessary.
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