A study to investigate the use of objectively structured practical examination in the assessment of undergraduate physiotherapy students' practical skills at one tertiary institution in South Africa.
Objectively structured practical examination (OSPE) is widely used in Physiotherapy to assess the practical skills of undergraduate students. The rationale for OSPE is to provide a means for evaluation of students' clinical skills, so that students may ultimately apply their skills to patients in the clinical situation. Students should show their ability to think critically and reason, for efficient and effective clinical application. It is therefore important that OSPE is structured such that these objectives may be achieved. This study presents the results of an investigation of OSPE at a Physiotherapy Department at one tertiary institution in South Africa. The present implementation has some merit. However, some adjustments need to be made in order that the OSPE process is more integrative of theory and practice, while simultaneously ensuring the holistic approach. This would facilitate an integrated approach to education and training aimed at integrating theory with the practice, and the academic with the vocational. Thus there would be a holistic and global approach to patient care.