Occasionally my voice will get quavery when I’m nervous, and the first thing I do is slow down my speech and enunciate. I take deep breaths between sentences. This helps me focus on my words rather than on my nerves. Try that.
Some of the comfort comes with practice and with exposure to real patients. I mean, this was your very first time. Everyone expects you to be nervous. But to some extent the nerves come from being watched. I was way more nervous when I knew I was being watched and graded than when I was with real patients. So try to forget that there are cameras on you and tell yourself that today is a regular clinic day.
Take three deep breaths in and out before you knock on the door and step into the room. Focus on that alone. That will calm you and help you focus on the task at hand.
If the anxiety is a problem that doesn’t improve with experience, talk to your doctor or counselor about it.
Any advice for OSCE? - anon
Have a system that you follow. Make it your habit to walk in, introduce yourself, wash your hands, drape the patient appropriately, and then sit down. Follow the same steps in your history and physical every time. It doesn’t have to look formulaic, but have a rhythm so you always know what’s next. That way you don’t have to think so hard. You can go on autopilot.
Eye contact. Jot down notes as you need to, but look at your patient!
Smile. Not a cheesy fake smile, but smile appropriately. Nod your head as your patient talks. Lean in to listen or to show compassion. Show that you are paying attention.
Don’t interrupt the patient.
Keep an eye on your watch. Know how much time you can allow for your physical exam. You don’t want to run out of time, and you can always ask some history things you forgot initially while you are doing your exam. Give yourself a minute at the end to wrap up the encounter with the patient.
Use your $2 words. Don’t use big medical terms and don’t assume the patient knows what you’re talking about. Get used to this for real life. Use words your patient can understand.
Practice at home on your family members or roommate. Treat them the same way you would a patient. Go through your whole rhythm with them. Then, when you’re in with a real or standardized patient, be as comfortable with them as you are with your family.