Exam Content/ Syllabus

[The below content was written in 2017 and is subject to variations in the future.] 

The CSA exam is not a very difficult exam to pass. However, it does require some preparation.

Basically, you are required to know everything that a doctor should know when starting FY1…okay, so maybe its not as easy after all.

The CSA currently, however, does not test Obs&Gynae and Pediatrics. I do not know if this will change in the future.

 The contents of the assessment include the following areas:

  •  1. Focused history taking, (including difficult in difficult circumstances). You will be required to come with a provisional diagnosis by the end of the station in most cases and explain the reasons why. The examiner will assess how well you communicate with the patient as well as problem solving skills. Difficult circumstances include patients with hearing impairment, speech and /or language problems or mental health problems.
  • 2. Examination of patients with stable chronic disease. This includes examination of different systems. You will be expected to examine real patients. Don’t forget your professionalism will also be marked.
  • 3. Safe Prescribing.  You will be assessed on being able to prescribe safely, and recognize where prescriptions issued by other doctors could cause harm to the patient. This station will require you to take a brief medical history from the simulator, complete the prescription chart or review one completed by another doctor.  This includes fluid management. A copy of the BNF will be provided.
  • 4. Recognition and Management of acute illness. Here you will be required to identify acute illnesses by taking a history or examining the simulator. This can me a medical , surgical or psychiatry history. You may also have radiologic or laboratory findings which you will need to interpret. You will be expected to explain management to the patient or examiner. Don’t forget , you will also be assessed on communication skills and problem solving skills.
  •  5. Surgical and peri-operative care. This will involve preparing patients for operations and caring for them afterwards. Patients will often have concerns regarding the operation, the anesthesia , pain management and post-operative recovery. These stations will assess both your communication and management skills.
  • 6. Discharge Planning. You will be assessed how safely you discharge the patient back into the community. This station involves patients asking questions regarding social issues which need to be addressed. You will be marked on communication and management skills.
  • 7. Teamwork. This includes handover of care or arranging further investigations. Your communication with team members is being assessed here. Also how accurately you can transfer information you can obtain from a team member.
  • 8. Challenging Communication. You will be assessed on how well you break bad news to patients, handle their complaints or negotiate patient management decisions. Your communication skills are primary assessed here as well as accuracy of information you provide.
  • 9. Ethical and Legal issues. This station will test you understanding of ethical scenarios as well as your communication skills.
  • 10. Health Promotion and patient education. Perhaps the easiest of all stations for most, this involves offering lifestyle advice and address risk factors for disease. This includes smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, etc.

Practical procedures

The following has been copied from the 2018 Handbook for Clinical Assessment, provided by the UKFPO:

“You will be expected to perform practical procedures, usually on an
anatomical model connected to a simulated patient. These stations will assess
both your practical skills and your professional behaviour towards the patient.

Practical procedures may include:

– performing venepuncture and interpreting the results of blood tests
– performing arterial puncture and interpreting the results
– giving intravenous, intramuscular and subcutaneous injections
– inserting a cannula into a peripheral vein
– setting up an intravenous infusion
– performing an electrocardiogram (ECG) and interpreting the results
– basic cardio-pulmonary resuscitation
– demonstrating the safe use of a defibrillator
– performing basic respiratory function tests
– administering a nebuliser
– administering oxygen therapy
– performing suturing
– performing urinary catheterisation
– performing a rectal examination
– examination of the breasts
– examination of the testes”

You are required to know the following body systems:

Cardiovascular

Respiratory

Gastrointestinal

Renal/urological

Neurological

Musculo-skeletal

Psychiatric

Haematological

Metabolic/endocrine

Dermatological

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