COVID-19: Guidance for STP trainees completing in 2020, on resubmission of the IACC

This guidance is to support STP trainees resubmitting to their Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC).

Before you resubmit

Before starting to write your critical reflective narrative for resubmission, we recommend that you review and ensure that you understand the following documents:

  • IACC Regulations
  • IACC Assessment Criteria
  • Guidance for trainees and training officers

You must ensure that you recognise and address the central aspects, including the key clinical knowledge and skills expected of a Clinical Scientist in their speciality, in their critical reflection.

Critical reflection

Critical reflection is an essential component of the IACC assessment. Please ensure that you reread the guidance on how to prepare and present your critical reflective narrative and the guidance on writing for the IACC assessment.  We also recommend that you carefully consider the assessment criteria related to critical reflection.

Suggestions for how you might use your IACC independent clinical assessor feedback

Assessor feedback has been provided as written (no edits).  The assessor will have arrived at the trainee’s outcome guided by the published assessment criteria.  The assessment criteria include indicators on the significant aspects of this assessment: readiness to practise as a safe and competent Clinical Scientist; critical reflection rather than descriptive narrative; how their practice meets the values and principles of Good Scientific Practice and that the narrative is written at the level of the programme, L7.  The comments will not necessarily detail all of the areas on which the narrative satisfied the requirements but will highlight the aspects on which to focus in order to meet the assessment criteria for your resubmission.

You may find it useful to review the feedback to identify your strengths as well as skills and underpinning knowledge or appreciation of the scope of your speciality that may require attention. We encourage you to see if there are any aspects that it may be helpful for you to focus on, including readiness to practice, patient safety or the way in which you will manage any limitations on your safe practice if registered as a Clinical Scientist until fully confident.

You should include development achieved since the first submission as these may address some of the feedback comments.

Receiving support for your IACC resubmission

In the first instance, you are advised to discuss your feedback and preparation for your second attempt at the IACC with your training officer, who has received a copy of your IACC Candidate Report.

If you were not successful in the IACC in July 2020, you may also email the School at nshcs.assessment@hee.nhs.uk to request a support call. You should spend some time to understand the IACC feedback, in discussion with your training officer prior to calling the School.

You and your training officer may also find it helpful to approach specialist departments and training officers in other locations for support.  Please contact the School to discuss this option.

You are advised to seek support early to allow any advice or guidance to be considered and incorporated into the IACC critical reflective narrative.

The word count

Critical reflections must not exceed the word limit of 3500 words. You must accurately state the number of words used in the IACC critical reflection, citations to evidence in OneFile or OLAT do not count towards the word count.

You should not submit an IACC critical reflection that has less than 2500 words.

Number of citations

The assessment criteria states that a substantial number of citations must be used to support the IACC. It is not possible to specify a minimum number of citations that must be used, as this is dependent on the trainee’s approach to writing their personal critical reflections.

You are advised that, as for other work at level 7, stronger submissions tend to be better supported with evidence. Citing evidence within the critical reflection will help to demonstrate to the assessor awareness of the scope of specialist competencies associated with the speciality and that the trainee has made the effort to organise and understand them. Citations also help to support statements made within the critical reflection itself. The assessor marking the IACC critical reflection will form a view on whether sufficient citations have been made as part of their deliberations on the overall outcome of the IACC.

You are advised to carefully consider using citations to support statements that address the key elements of the IACC:

  • readiness to practice as a clinical scientist
  • patient safety
  • any limitation on the scope of essential practice, together with how the trainee plans to address these to ensure on-going development of safe and competent practice

Citing signed off evidence relating to STP instruments of assessment

The School recognises that you may have difficulty providing evidence for complete sign-off of specialist competencies. You may cite evidence of completed and signed off STP instruments of assessment (e.g. DOPS), even where the specialist competency itself has not been signed off. If you cite evidence in this way please make this clear in the citation, words used within the citation will not count towards the word count.

Where you are making a claim to a competency, that competency must have been signed off within OneFile at the time of the IACC submission.

You may cite competencies that have not been signed off, if for example discussing future plans for developing that competence, or noting a lack of opportunity to address a competence; however the sentence in which the competence is cited must provide a clear context that the competence has not yet been achieved.

The global statement

The IACC has a strict word limit of 3500 words (excluding words used for citations). You should avoid restating information in the global statement that has already been provided for a GSP Domain.

You are advised that stronger global statements often made positive statements that addressed the key elements of the IACC:

  • readiness to practice as a clinical scientist
  • patient safety
  • any limitation on the scope of essential practice, together with how the trainee plans to address these to ensure on-going development of safe and competent practice

The global statement may also explain how you intend to approach any limitations in your training, particularly for fundamental aspects related to their speciality role as a Clinical Scientist, and to practice safely. This type of statement can potentially be supported either by reference to previously successful strategies discussed within the critical reflection, or informed refinements to those strategies. You may discuss your training plan with target dates for completion of specific elements. If either approach is followed the global statement can also usefully comment on what the trainee feels will be the impact of these measures on the readiness to practice, patient safety and the limits of safe practice as a Clinical Scientist.