The mental state examination is basically the psychiatric “physical examination”, for example: a patient with breathing problems needs a respiratory examination, in the same way that a psychiatric patient requires a mental state examination.
The station involves assessing how the patient appears and/or behaves and any abnormal thoughts or beliefs they may hold. It does not involve a cognitive (memory) assessment.
It is a psychiatric history/physical station and in order for the patient to open up and be honest with you, you must gain their trust and establish a good rapport.
Begin by introducing yourself to the patient, clarify their identity and explain that you would like to talk to them about their thoughts.
There are 8 components to this assessment.
To assess appearance, behaviour and speech begin by asking some general open questions.
Now ask more specific questions relating to the other parts of the assessment:
To determine this you should ask a few directed questions:
What do you think is wrong with you?
Do you think you need any treatment?
What do you think the treatment will do for you?
This should be done by the mini mental state examination, although this is generally not part of the OSCE.
Thank the patient for speaking to you.
Summarise your findings for the examiner, offering a differential diagnosis.