Burn, baby burn

My pre-OSCE hand wash

I get very nervous before exams, and I always have. I’ve been told it’s a normal response. Usually by the time the exam has started I’m alright, but the nerves before hand get very stressful. One thing that happens before OSCEs is my hands get really cold and clammy. Not only do I notice this, realise that it means I’m nervous, and get even more stressed out, but when I then go to shake a patient’s hand, it’s unpleasant for them and shows them that I’m nervous as well, and probably impacts on my global score. So I started a routine of finding a sink five or ten minutes beforehand and running my hands and wrists under the hottest water I can bear for about two minutes. It makes them go bright red, but forces them to vasodilate as well as warming them up directly. It might not make much of a difference come station #12, but it chills me out knowing my hands aren’t freezing cold.


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