• Candidate Instructions
  • Actor Instructions
  • Mark Sheet
  • Score

Location: FY1 doctor on the Surgical Assessment Unit (SAU)

Patient: 25 year old female patient has an acute history of lower abdominal pain


  • Take a focused history from the patient
  • After 6 minuets you will be asked a series of questions by the examiner.
  • Answer any questions that the patient may have

Note to actor: Try to restrain yourself from volunteering to much information – you may do so when prompted (that is, by a specific question, not a general one). If a student is on the wrong line of clinical reasoning do not fuel this line of thinking, state no to the question as being ambiguous may prompt further questioning and does not allow the student to be appropriately tested. The aim of the exercise is to take a focused history; short answers are required.

You are a 25 year old male. You went out for dinner last night and just didn’t feel quite right and had some general low level abdominal pain. You woke up at 2am with intense abdominal pain and vomited once only. You had severe abdominal pain much worse over the right hand side. You called 111 who sent out an ambulance and they have rushed you into hospital and you don’t know what is going on. You have lost your appetite, have not had anything to eat and drink since yesterday evening.

PMH = asthma

DH = salbutmaol when you need it. You have no drug allergies

SH = drink socially on the weekends, non-smoker

ICE = you are worried about the pain as it does not seem to be getting any better.

If the candidate appears to have finished early remind them how long is left at the station and enquire if there is anything else they would like to ask, or whether they have finished. If they have finished, please remain silent and allow the candidate that time for reflection.

Category Question
Introduction Candidate appropriately introduced themselves with:
Full name
Clarifies who they are talking to
Asks patient for preferred name

Exacerbating and relieving factors

Extra Extra history
Low grade fever
Loss of appetite

GI review Gastrointestinal system review
Weight loss
Reflux / heartburn
Nausea or vomiting
Change in bowel habit?

UI review Urinary system review
Increased frequency
Foul smelling urine
Incomplete emptying

PMH Past Medical History
No previous operations

DH Drug history
Asks about drug allergies

SH + FH Social & family history
Social history asked about (alcohol, smoking, residence)
Family history appropriately asked

Explores ideas, concerns, expectations, feelings
Asks patient if they have any questions

Question What are your differentials for this patient given the history?
Ureteric colic
Ectopic pregnancy
Strangulated inguinal hernia
Other appropriate answer

Question Given the history, what investigations would you like to do?
Bloods = FBC, U&E, LFTs, CRP, Group and save (3+ for mark)
Erect chest x-ray
Urine dip

Please review the following investigations. Based on the history and this, what is your most likely diagnosis?


Question What clinical examination findings are associated with appendicitis?
McBurney’s sign
Localised rebound tenderness
Rovsing’s sign – compressing the left lower quadrant elicitis pain in the right lower quadrant
Psoas sign – pain is elicited with the patient lying on their left side and slowly extending the right thigh to cause a stretch in the iliopsoas muscle
Obturator sign – pain caused by internal rotation of the flexed right thigh