Preparing for the OSCE as a Pre-reg Optometrist

The big test is fast approaching so chances are you’re prepping like mad for it. You’re almost there, this is the last hurdle to jump before becoming a qualified Optometrist, and won’t it feel great once it’s all done and dusted? But before you take on the OSCE and there are a few things you need to do…

Preparing for the OSCE what it is and what Optometrist need to do first

So what is the OSCE?

OSCE stands for Objective Structured Clinical Examination and involves 16 task stations. Each practical task will last around five minutes and will test you on some of the 75 GOC elements. You’ll also be given a five minute break during the exam to give you a bit of a breather.

Each task station is organised into one of four categories which aim to assess different skills. The four categories are:

  • Clinical Examination and practical skills
  • Data interpretation
  • Communication
  • History taking

There is lots of useful information and helpful videos on the College of Optometrists website, so be sure soak up everything you can.

What do you need to do before the exam?

Whilst I’m sure you’ll be revising like it’s going out of fashion, that’s not all you need to do before the big day. Get your to do list out, it’s about to get pretty full…

Apply for a DBS check – Generally speaking employers don’t tend to hire serial killers. Reassure them you’ve no skeletons in your closet by applying for an enhanced DBS check. Disclosure and Barring Service checks can sometimes take a little while, so it’s worth applying for these 3 months in advance. We recommend applying for an enhanced check as some employers won’t accept a basic one.

You will also need a DBS check before you can apply to a performers list, which we will get onto shortly.

You can find more information on applying for a
DBS check here , but If you do need any more help please feel free to give us a call.

Complete your Safeguarding training – Pre-registration trainees can access free training from the College of Optometrists here.

The training is compiled of two modules, each of which will take between 1 -2 hours to complete. You don’t have to complete the modules all at once but its recommended that you do, so grab some study snacks and get cracking!

Like the DBS check, you will not be able to apply for a performers list without your safeguarding training, so get it done!

Apply to a performers list –  By being registered on a Performers list you are assuring the public that your training is up to date and that you’ve passed all the necessary checks. If you’re planning on working in England, you will need to apply to the National Performers List. It’s recommended that you apply for this before you qualify as the process can take up to 12 weeks, however it’s worth noting that you won’t be fully registered until you have joined the GOC.

If you’re going to be working in Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales, you will need to apply to your local Health Board instead of the National Performers list.

Register with the GOC – It’s illegal to practise as an Optometrist in the UK unless you are registered with the GOC. As a student you should already be registered, however you will eventually need to get your GOC number changed over from a student number.

If you’re not signed up, you should allow 5 working days for the GOC to process your registration unless you are applying during the months of August to October in which case you should allow twice as long. You can register here.

Make sure you’ve paid for the exam – If you’re resitting the OSCE you will likely need to pay for it. Make sure you’ve checked the payment deadline and sent that cash over or your dream of becoming a qualified Optometrist will never happen!

Register with a locum agency – Whether you’ve got a job lined up or you’re still figuring that bit out, it’s a good idea to register with a locum agency. Locum work has numerous benefits, is a great way to gain experience, build your confidence, and it can give you the chance to work in some great places too.

Optometrist Preparation Timeline

Why not register with Team Locum? Is this a shameless plug? You bet! But we’ve been placing healthcare professionals since 2001 and we’re pretty damn good at it! Becoming the UK’s favourite locum agency wasn’t easy, but we managed it!

If you’re thinking of becoming a locum optometrist, or have any questions around joining an agency feel free to give us a call. We’ve got a bucket load of shiny happy locum optometrists on our books but there’s always room for one more.

Now you know what you need to do before becoming the superstar optometrist you were born to be, so get prepping, you’ve got this!

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