COVID-19: STP Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence

Information about the alternative to the OSFA exit assessment for STP trainees completing their programme this year

The alternative to the OSFA exit assessment for STP trainees completing their programme this year will be an assessment which we are calling the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC).

The NSHCS, on behalf of HEE, is aiming to ensure a fair and defensible independent assessment for final year STP trainees. In the light of experience, the NSHCS reserves the right to revise aspects of these Regulations to ensure they meet the stated aims and objectives. Trainees will be alerted to any substantial changes affecting their independent assessment in a timely fashion.

Below we provide some further brief details about the timeline and the format for the IACC.

Requirements for the IACC submission

Your submission is a written critical reflection narrative of your readiness to practise as a safe and competent newly qualified Clinical Scientist, The following information outlines the parameters for your submission.

You must use the structured IACC trainee submission template to submit the narrative of your critical reflection to the School. The structured submission template includes sections to capture your critical reflection on meeting the 5 Good Scientific Practice domains plus a section to capture your global statement on your readiness to practise as a safe and competent Clinical Scientist. Please refer to the IACC Guidance for Trainee and Training Officer guidance for further guidance.

Word count

Expectation of around 2500 and not exceeding- 3500. The range has been provided as the narrative must be a substantial account but is personal and individual to your stage of development. Anything over 3500 will not be accepted and you will forfeit your IACC attempt.

Words used to cite portfolio evidence are not included in the 2500- 3500 words available for your critical reflection narrative.

While you must reference your narrative to your signed-off portfolio evidence, the actual evidence has already been assessed and will not be reviewed for assessment as part of the IACC. Only your critical reflection on your readiness to practise is being assessed. This ensures that all trainees receive a fair assessment based on their personal and individual account only.

Portfolio citations

Portfolio citations must follow the format: ModuleID:CompNumber

Please refer to the IACC Guidance for Trainee and Training Officer guidance for further guidance.

Additional artefacts (e.g. SoPs, National/Trust policies, audio, video) and appendices are not required to be submitted. Additions of any sort will result in your submission being rejected and forfeit of one submission attempt.

Submission

You will see that the IACC submission template contains a structure to allow you to write to each of the AHCS Good Scientific Practice principle domains plus provide a global statement. You must maintain this structure for your submission. There is no requirement regarding specific number of words for each part, you may use the available words as you wish. This is important as you will be critically reflecting on your own stage of development and ongoing practice as a safe and competent Clinical Scientist; it will be a personal and individual narrative.

Your critical reflections must only reference evidence that has been signed off as this will show accepted development to the expected standard. The Academy of Healthcare Science will be verifying submission content as part of its quality monitoring role.

You will be required to declare that the critical reflection you are submitting for the IACC is your own work, citing your own signed-off portfolio evidence. This means, in particular, that you have not colluded or plagiarised. Evidence of these and any other unprofessional behaviours will be subject to the IACC misconduct policy.

You will be required to submit your work during the submission window: 9am Monday 29 June – noon Monday 13 July. Trainees who do not submit within the deadline will have forfeited this IACC attempt.

You will be required to submit your work electronically as a MS Word document, no other format will be accepted.

Please familiarise yourself with the IACC Regulations and operating policies.

How to submit your IACC Critical Reflection

This short video provides trainees with instructions on how to correctly upload their IACC Critical Reflection.

The assessment

Trainees must critically reflect and write a narrative focusing on their clinical competence and readiness to practice as a safe and competent Clinical Scientist. This must be grounded in the AHCS Good Scientific Practice (GSP) Standards, which underpin the STP and must be referenced to signed-off evidence from their portfolio.

The AHCS GSP standards have been closely mapped to the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Clinical Scientists and describe the expectations of practice under five principal domains:

  • Domain 1: Professional Practice
    All patients and service users are entitled to good standards of professional practice and probity from Healthcare Science workforce including the observance of professional code of conduct and ethics.
  • Domain 2: Scientific Practice
    Healthcare Scientists are expected to keep their scientific and technical knowledge and skills up to date effectively.
  • Domain 3: Clinical Practice
    Healthcare Scientists are expected to keep their clinical skills up to date and undertake clinical duties appropriate to their role in order to be effective.
  • Domain 4: Research, Development and Innovation
    Undertaking research, development and innovation is a key part of the role of Healthcare Scientists; to support the NHS to address the challenge of meeting the needs of an ageing population, chronic disease, health inequalities and rising public expectations of the NHS.
  • Domain 5: Clinical Leadership
    Patients and service users have a right to expect that Healthcare Science services are delivered efficiently and effectively managed to meet service needs.

Trainees should give equal weighting and emphasis to each principle GSP domain.

As a conclusion to their narrative, the trainee must also critically reflect and write a global statement on their on-going practise as a safe and competent clinical scientist, bringing together the threads of their critical reflections on meeting the GSP domains.

The IACC trainee submission template, provided by the School to receive the trainee’s submission, will be structured to ensure that trainees cover all expected aspects in their narrative.

The word limits for the submission are an expectation of 2500 words and must not exceed 3500 words. No artefacts and appendices should be added.

Assessment regulations

  • Trainees are required to submit a narrative of their critical reflection to inform their future role as a safe and competent Clinical Scientist.
  • Trainees will be required to declare that the narrative submitted is entirely their own work.
  • Trainees are required to achieve a pass in the IACC.

Each trainee will receive an IACC Candidate Report with the result from their IACC; the report will include developmental comments.

As a conclusion to their narrative, the trainee must also critically reflect and write a global statement on their on-going practise as a safe and competent clinical scientist, bringing together the threads of their critical reflections on meeting the GSP domains.

The IACC trainee submission template, provided by the School to receive the trainee’s submission, will be structured to ensure that trainees cover all expected aspects in their narrative.

The critical reflection narrative must adhere to the rules set out in the ‘Requirements for the submission’.

Assessment outcome

The trainee’s pseudonymised submission will be marked by one trained assessor from the trainee’s specialty and who is independent of the trainee.

The AHCS will sample trainee submissions across all specialties to verify that cited portfolio evidence is accurate and appropriate. The initial sample will be 5% but further sampling may be conducted if required for assurance.

The independent assessor’s judgement will be based on clear marking criteria developed by the School in conjunction with OSFA Lead Station Writers (LSW).

The assessor will make a pass or fail judgement. They may, in instances where they would benefit from a discussion with an independent moderator to arrive at a judgement, request the School to identify this facilitation.

The School will undertake standardisation to ensure consistency in the application of the marking criteria by the independent assessors to arrive at the outcome.

An Examination Board will be convened for each of the Healthcare Science divisions comprising, as a minimum, two senior members of the NSHCS, all relevant specialties Lead Station Writers or their nominated deputy and a lay representative. Additional members will be co-opted as deemed appropriate.

All relevant data including final judgements within each division will be reviewed and agreed by the relevant Examination Board in order to recommend the outcome from the IACC for each trainee to the Head of School for ratification.

The ratification board will comprise the Head of School, Head of Assessment, STP Training Programme Directors and an external examiner.

Trainees not achieving a pass in the IACC will be eligible for two further attempts to demonstrate their readiness to practise, subject to meeting the other programme completion criteria by the published or approved extension date. The resubmission windows will be mid-October 2020, mid-January and mid-April 2021.

IACC re-submission dates for STP 2020 leavers

The following dates are for STP 2020 leavers only, to retake their IACC if required.

Date Submission window
Autumn 2020 Monday 12 October to Monday 26 October 2020
Winter 2021 Monday 18 January to Monday 1 February 2021
Spring 2021 Monday 12 April to Monday 26 April 2021

IACC re-submission results

Results for trainees who re-submitted their IACC in October 2020, will be released week commencing 30th November 2020.

Appeals

Trainees may appeal within 20 calendar days of receiving the outcome from their IACC based on any irregularity in the decision-making process of the Examination Board when arriving at the outcome.

Appeals against academic judgements will not be accepted. Any submissions will only be considered if substantiated with relevant and suitable evidence.

For more information, download and read the below document.

IACC policies

Given the nature of the current circumstances and to allow the release of IACC related information to trainees, the ethos of the established policies operating for the OSFA will also operate for the IACC.  In addition, the NSHCS Plagiarism Policy will be invoked in relation to the IACC submission.  Detailed policy documents will be developed as appropriate and will be released as soon as they are finalised.