Education: DVD Review - CSA revision DVD

A useful resource that can trigger discussion if watched in a revision group tutorial, writes Dr Anna Cumisky.

The DVD to the clinical skills assessment (CSA) contains nine clinical scenarios, each designed to reflect cases that might be encountered as part of the CSA examination.

In each clinical scenario a faculty member plays the doctor, with actors as patients.

Reading the introductory text in the accompanying booklet is recommended prior to watching each scenario. Similarly, in the exam there is written information regarding each patient.

Although a proportion of the information provided seems to have little importance in relation to the presenting complaint, in some cases the paperwork contains vital information, so it is prudent to read it carefully prior to each consultation.

The DVD aims to cover a range of issues, from routine consultations regarding simple medical problems, to more challenging scenarios, such as the angry patient. Some consultations show a textbook-like approach whereas others highlight potential pitfalls.

It is not revealed at the start of each case whether the approach taken is that which is recommended to pass the exam.

As a result, the DVD is particularly useful when watched as part of a revision group. It is a valuable resource to trigger discussion as group members seek to identify good and bad points and decide whether the consultation is a success overall.

A clock is clearly visible throughout each case. This simple prompt is very useful, because one of the challenges in the CSA is the pressure to complete each case within the time allowed. The clock helps to demonstrate a suitable pace for each part of the consultation.

The discussion for each case is contained in the booklet and is broken down into comments for each of the three marking domains. This helps a candidate to understand the type of skills that need to be demonstrated.

The main drawback of the DVD is the small number of cases. There is a wealth of potentially suitable scenarios that could be included. Nine cases offer limited revision potential and unfortunately it appears that the deanery exhausted its resources, as the ninth case contains only the opening minutes.

Excellent concept
Overall, the concept of the DVD was excellent and my revision group found it helpful when revising for the CSA exam. I also feel, having successfully completed the CSA, that the scenarios and marking points are in line with those from the exam.

That said, the idea of a revision DVD has not been maximised. The production feels basic and the breadth of cases covered is extremely limited.

  • Dr Cumisky, a locum GP in Bath. DVD giveaway

GP and the RCGP are giving away five copies of A Guide to the Clinical Skills Assessment, worth £25 each.

For a chance to win a copy, email by 19 December 2008.

If you are unlucky in the DVD draw then you can order a copy directly from the RCGP website at the price of £25,

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