The landscape of Ophthalmology interviews is ever-changing, and 2024 is no exception. With the introduction of new formats and a heightened focus on the interviews, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve. This guide aims to provide you with the most up-to-date information, particularly focusing on the newly introduced ‘Online Assessment’ section.
If you haven’t already, be sure to familiarise yourself with the Severn Deanery’s Applicant guide: https://www.severndeanery.nhs.uk/recruitment/vacancies/show/oph-st1-24/applicant-guide-lib
Which outlines in detail what the process will be like, including the timeline for application.
What’s New in 2024?
The most significant change in the 2024 Ophthalmology interviews is the introduction of two stations as part of the ‘Online Assessment’ that will take place on the 15th of March 2024.
This assessment will be virtual, as it has been since COVID.
It consists of two components, each lasting up to 10 minutes:
Interview 1: Clinical Knowledge
This part will focus on your clinical acumen. You’ll engage in a medical consultation with an actor playing the role of a patient or a patient’s carer. Two assessors will observe and score your performance based on set criteria.
Interview 2: Communication Skills
Previously, there was only one ‘communications’ focused station. Now, there are two. This second part will focus on difficult communication or ethical scenarios. Similar to the first, you’ll converse with an actor, and two assessors will evaluate your performance.
Here is what the Severn Deanery say about these two stations:
Interview 1 – Assessment will be in the form of a medical consultation focusing on clinical knowledge and will involve conversing with an actor playing the role of a patient or carer of a patient. Two assessors will observe the interaction and score each candidate according to set criteria. The assessors will not be seen or heard by the candidate. At times there will be third quality assurance assessor or lay representative observing the interaction.
Interview 2 – Assessment will be in the form of a medical consultation focusing on a difficult communication or ethical scenario and will involve conversing with an actor playing the role of a patient or carer of a patient. Two assessors will observe the interaction and score each candidate according to set criteria. The assessors will not be seen or heard by the candidate. At times there will be third quality assurance assessor or lay representative observing the interaction.
Although the assessments are labelled interview 1 and 2 candidates may start in either one. The process for each candidate including the initial identity checks, assessment and the debrief will take approximately 45 minutes.
Why This Matters
The shift towards a more balanced evaluation—incorporating both clinical and communication skills—indicates a holistic approach to assessing candidates. It’s not just about what you know; it’s also about how effectively you can communicate it in the format of a patient consultation.
How to Prepare
- Understand the Criteria: Familiarize yourself with the set criteria for both clinical and communication skills.
- Mock Interviews: Practice makes perfect. Engage in mock interviews that mimic the new format.
- Stay Updated: Keep an eye on the official Severn Deanery website for any updates or changes – usually the college also release a podcast with useful information about this – don’t worry, we’ll keep an eye out for this.
How stinterview Can Help
At STInterview, we’ve optimized our stations to address this new 2024 format. Our program includes:
- Clinical and Communication Skills Focused Stations: Our stations are designed to prepare you for both components of the new online assessment.
- Knowledge Tutor: We offer a dedicated knowledge tutor to help you focus on high-yield conditions, saving you precious time.
With Stinterview you get
- 12 patient interview 2024 style stations to start (with an additional 14 released over our 9 free practice workshops!)
- A comprehensive knowledge tutor (see below for an example of the all-you-need resource!)
- 40 self-study clinical mock exams based off the old interview format (of a picture + a viva) – this knowledge is going to be super useful for the new interview format
- 7 additional communication-style workshops
Not to mention
- Join a whatsapp group of 100+ practicing ophthalmologists, with a group of successful ST1’s, and senior registrars on hand to help out with all things portfolio, MSRA, and interviews
- 8-10 workshops between now and the real thing – all with recently successful ST1’s to help you get your reps in
Last year, a number of candidates who practiced with us excelled in a never-before-seen station on Myasthenia Gravis. Thanks to our knowledge tutor, candidates were as well-prepared as they could be with high-yield key facts that made all the difference.
In reality although the stations are ‘clinical’ – knowing just 2-3 key facts can make the difference between scoring well enough for a post, or having to try again the next year, so it’s really important to cover your bases, and make sure you know the high-level points about everything!
The 2024 Ophthalmology interviews are evolving, and so should your preparation strategy. With a new focus on online assessments and a balanced evaluation approach, it’s crucial to adapt and prepare effectively. And remember, STInterview is here to guide you every step of the way.