COVID-19 VACCINATIONS: If, in addition to indemnity for your main employment, you would like cover for delivering COVID-19 Vaccinations please apply for our standalone extension Apply Today

Home  »   PDA Students   »   Useful tips and helpful learning techniques for the OSCEs

Useful tips and helpful learning techniques for the OSCEs

As future pharmacists, it is important that we develop our communication skills. This includes verbal and non-verbal communication. During our pharmacy degree, we have classes and exams to practise and see where we can improve. Whether working in a hospital, community, GP, or practising in class, how we communicate helps us to properly consult. It also affects the trust that patients and other healthcare providers have in us. 

Wed 21st April 2021 The PDA

Below are some mnemonics to ensure all the necessary information is collected.

WWHAM is the foundation of our consultation skills and will often be the first mnemonic you learn and use for the rest of your career. Each mnemonic is useful in different situations and increases our clinical knowledge.

Always start by introducing yourself with your name and role. It is important to put a name to your face for familiarity. After asking for the patient’s name, age or date of birth, and address, ask the patient what their presenting complaint is, then ask for the patient’s consent to continue.

For privacy and patient confidentiality, in a community pharmacy setting, ask the patient if they would like to go into the consultation room. In a hospital setting, you would close the dividing curtains. Ask the patient if they would like a chaperone with them during the consultation.

Asking a patient if they would like a chaperone is important to remember during your OSCEs. When you’re at work, you can also ask for a chaperone or colleague if you feel uncomfortable being alone with a patient. A chaperone protects a patient and a pharmacist. 

Talk in plain English where possible so that the patient understands what you are saying. Patients are not necessarily used to having consultations and may not understand healthcare terminology. During a consultation allow the patient to speak and show them that you are actively listening during the session. Be empathetic and reassuring to your patient to ensure they are comfortable with you.

Active listening:

Active listening is an integral way of building trust and conveying respect for a patient. Remember, active listening online, via phone, or whilst wearing a mask might be different and you’ll need to take this into account.

  • Engage with the patient non-verbally by nodding or using facial expressions. Maintain eye contact to show you’re focused on them
  • Engage with the patient with occasional verbal responses to show you’re listening. It’s important to never interrupt a patient
  • Try reusing a patient’s words exactly to show you’ve been paying attention. This is called reflective listening.

By Sarah-Ann Famakinwa, third-year MPharm student, Wolverhampton University






The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

Cookie Use

This website uses cookies to help us provide the best user experience. If you continue browsing you are giving your consent to our use of cookies.

General Guidance Resources Surveys PDA Campaigns Regulations Locums Indemnity Arrangements Pre-Regs & Students FAQs Coronavirus (COVID-19)