Last week the Examinations team successfully delivered the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral Examination in Wolverhampton. With hospital eye services under increasing pressure, the College has started to look outside of the hospital clinical setting to deliver our examinations. Following a lot of logistical and organisational planning we held the oral component of our flagship Part 2 FRCOphth examination outside of a clinical setting for the first time ever. Delivering the exam offsite involved the purchase of brand new ophthalmological equipment, the creation of clinical booths inside a hotel ballroom, the transportation of 300 patients, and working closely with several nursing staff provided by Wolverhampton Eye Infirmary.
The College is delighted to report that the examination ran with great success and received overwhelmingly positive feedback not only from the examiners involved, but also from the candidates as well as the patients themselves.
The general feedback from all involved was that the examination was a lot calmer and less frenetic when held outside of a hospital environment. The spacious nature of the hotel ballroom venue meant that there were no issues with crowding, patients were easily accessible to examiners and candidates were able to be guided to the stations with ease. Candidates remarked positively that they preferred the exam being held in this way and called the set-up ‘brilliant’.
Examiners’ enthusiasm for the new set-up translated into a desire to spread the word to their colleagues that this new style of examining was a very positive and enjoyable experience.
The nursing staff from Wolverhampton Eye Infirmary also stated that they loved the whole experience and noted that by holding the exam outside of their hospital it had, as intended, had a minimal impact on their eye clinics.
The nicest feedback of all was from the patients themselves. The majority of our patients are elderly people, at times living quite isolated lives. By having a day out to a local hotel and meeting other patients, they formed new friendships and even went for afternoon teas together after being seen! We hope future sittings are received equally as well by the local community.
This new offsite version of the Part 2 FRCOphth Oral examination will be a permanent fixture from 2020 onwards. We plan to build on our success in Wolverhampton to continue to deliver an important and robust examination.
Dylan Costello, Head of Examinations