Lay Examiners: Assessing the Next Generation

Lay Examiners: Assessing the Next Generation

This Volunteer's Week (3-9 June), the College celebrates the invaluable support and expertise of our global community of volunteers. Our Lay Examiners play an important role in the smooth running of key exams such as the MRCS Part B examination. Fran Rankin, one of our experienced Lay Examiners, shares some insights into the role.

The College expectation from Lay Examiners is for us to integrate into the professional surgical examination teams as part of the MRCS diets held in both the UK and abroad each year. We work under the broad heading of Communication Skills - and we are very small cogs in the enormous machinery that is the Surgical Examinations in their entirety. When required, we are invited to examine several times a year in venues across Britain and overseas.

It's an enormous privilege to see inside another profession, to meet and work alongside a kaleidoscope of medical disciplines, and to travel to other parts of the country - but most of all, it is so satisfying to be marginally involved in the progression of the next generation of doctors making their way through the intense training in their chosen discipline and onwards into hospital theatres. 

In the course of a typical day of an MRCS Part B exam, the team each sees 40 candidates who have rotated round a circuit of stations. It is paramount that the first candidate you see in the day and the last one of the day have equally had the same experience. Concentration is the key! 

Being a British exam, when it is taken abroad it is run on exactly the same set of rules as at home. The difference in language and culture can sometimes throw up the odd challenge, but for the most part  things run extremely smoothly due to the huge experience of all those involved in the pre-planning.

Personally, I feel that the enormous experience I gain far outweighs anything that I could  possibly deliver - I consider myself extremely fortunate doing something I really enjoy.

Keep an eye on our Examiner Vacancies page for any Lay Examiner calls for applications.

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