ACEM congratulates 2020.2 OSCE Buchanan Prize winners

Since 1986, the Buchanan Prize has been awarded to the highest scoring candidate in a cohort of the Fellowship Examination (Clinical), the ‘OSCE’, on their first attempt at the examination. 157 candidates sat the 2020.2 OSCE in December 2020.

The three 2020.2 Buchanan Prize recipients, Andrew Murphy, Robert Browning and Megan Wilson, credit their success to the immense support of their peers and families.

It was a surprise win for Andrew Murphy, currently at Sydney Adventist Hospital ­- he said that he didn’t even check his results the day they were released.

“It was the day before my wedding so I waited until the day after, before I looked.”

He credited his wife, Meyrelle, also a doctor, and his hardworking “very motivated” and “very helpful” study group. The consultants at Prince Charles were also “extremely helpful” and recent graduates of the OSCE were generous with their support. Working for Life Flight, helped, too. “They would do lot of simulations, encouraging you to think through things that could go wrong while you were in the air. I think a lot of the mental rehearsal I had to do on the job helped with the OSCE.”

His cohort 1 co-winner, Robert Browning, currently at Logan Hospital, was “very shocked” and “very proud”. Robert, who did most of his study at the Princess Alexandra hospital, alongside “inspirational FACEMs”, credits his success to support from his partner, Cat. Cat, also an ED trainee, looked after their baby twins while Dr Browning studied. “She’s the joint prize-winner in my eyes.”

Cohort 2 winner, Megan Wilson said she had “an incredibly dedicated study partner” and they studied together, every day. She also found great support from the FACEMs at Tweed. “Many of the FACEM’s gave up innumerable amounts of hours to listen to me practice and provided me with encouragement and provided me with any information on ways I could improve performance and ways to improve myself generally as a clinician. They were quite inspiring.”

All three winners said they value the team approach to working in emergency medicine.

Andrew said, “Doctors, nurses – everyone working together for the same goal. And “there is lots of opportunity to do good, every day ­– even on the little things.”

Robert agreed: “You can make a real difference in terms of improving [a patient’s] journey by giving them good care from the moment they arrive and getting them access to parts of the health care system they might not be aware of.”

The winners offered advice for future OSCE candidates. A study group is crucial, Andrew said, in person or on Skype or Zoom. Robert added, “Be prepared. Give yourself the time and opportunity to study, get a mentor or a person at work who you can rely on, and get good advice from when you’re preparing.” The exams mirror real ED life, he said, so “even being on the floor is good preparation.”

Megan said, “You just need people who are willing to sacrifice time to just listen to you, over and over again. And people do it selflessly.”

Robert agreed. He had a good FACEM friend who helped him study for his OSCE’s. “I kept saying to him, ‘What can I give you?’, and he said, ‘Just pay it on to the next person. There’s nothing you can do for me but you can help the next person coming through.”

The prize, named after widely respected ACEM Foundation Fellow Dr Peter Buchanan, consists of a bronze medal and a certificate and will be awarded at the annual College Ceremony in November.

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