Statement updated 30th September 2020
Guidance on completing rotational assessments and competencies during the pandemic
Rotations are an important element of the STP with many benefits for your development as a Clinical Scientist. These include making contacts with colleagues in other departments, gaining an understanding of the work of other specialties and making yourself and your specialty visible to others. Indeed, the importance of experience gained through rotations has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in allowing Healthcare Scientists to redeploy from their own specialty to support other areas using their transferable skills.
Trainees should aim to complete their rotations and completion remains an important indicator of progression for MRP (Midterm Review of Progression); however, we understand that rotations have been difficult to arrange recently due to the constraints placed upon us of COVID-19 and outcomes from the MRP for the current year 2 cohort will reflect this.
We accept that flexibility in timing and length of rotations is necessary. Training plans will be absolutely key to managing training at this time. We advise that trainees and training officers meet regularly so training goals can be reviewed and flexed according to access to provision that is possible at any time and contingencies can be considered in order that a suitable level of programme progression is maintained. This may entail amending plans for rotation and specialist training and alternative and innovative ways of carrying out assessments.
Alternative resources and ways to complete the rotation module assessments and competencies are suggested below.
The following points are to be noted
- Training officers should NOT sign any competencies if the developmental evidence is not appropriate.
- Training officers should only sign off competencies that are part of their own specialty and scope of practice e.g. a training officer in genomics is not able to sign off histology rotational competencies unless they are qualified in histology.
Resources and alternative ways of completing the requirements of your rotation modules may include
- Verified online courses
- Virtual meetings and/or teaching sessions with colleagues from rotation departments
- Virtual teaching sessions provided by or facilitated by Industry partners
- Virtual conferences organised by Professional Bodies
Trainees should still find opportunities to spend some time in the rotational department to make connections, understand the work of the specialty and complete competencies that cannot be fulfilled by taking the online course.
- The identified online session(s) must first be mapped to a relevant module’s learning outcomes, discussed and agreed with your training officer.
- Training officers should only accept outputs from the online content as evidence if they fulfil the rotation module’s learning outcomes.
- Be mindful that online content cannot fulfil work-based competencies that require the trainee to perform a practical task e.g. ‘Observe’, ‘Fit’, and ‘Perform’ a task.
Statement updated 2nd September 2020
HCPC Temporary Register to remain open to end of November 2020
We have discussed with the HCPC the proposed closure of the temporary register for Clinical Scientists and Biomedical Scientists. We are pleased to inform you that the HCPC have agreed to extend the register to end of November 2020.
The HCPC should also be contacting registrants directly but we wanted to make you aware that this agreement has been reached as soon as possible.
Statement updated 18th August 2020
Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Here at the School we want to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, on the education and training of year 1 and 2 STP trainees and training officers. To help us determine the impact, we would be grateful if you could complete a brief survey. The information you provide will enable us to explore whether any adjustments to training outputs are needed.
Thank you for taking the time to complete this short survey. The deadline for completion of the survey is Monday 31st August 2020.
Statement updated 17th August 2020
Trainees completing in 2021 will not have to complete the elective module
Because of Covid-19, completion of the elective module was not mandatory this year as part of portfolio completion for 2019/20 final year trainees.
Due to the continuing impact of Covid-19 on training provision, this flexibility has been extended to 2020/2020 final year trainees. Completion of the elective module will not be a mandatory portfolio requirement for year 2 trainees progressing to their third year on programme in September 2020.
The full set of programme completion criteria for 2020/21 will be published when final and approved, however, we thought it would be helpful to let trainees know about the status of the elective module as many are considering the planning for this module now.
Statement updated 7th July 2020
Joint statement from the School and Universities about study time for trainees
The National School of Healthcare Science, in collaboration with colleagues at all STP and HSST provider universities, would like to clarify the position for 2020/21 in relation to study time for trainees.
Preparations are under way for the start of the next academic year and there may be changes to the way teaching is delivered by the universities, at least initially. Each university will inform its own students how their programme will be delivered.
Where teaching is delivered online rather than face to face, the amount of time dedicated to study should be the same as for previous cohorts of trainees. Trainees this year will need the same number of hours released for study as they would have had for the face to face teaching.
In addition to this, trainees will still need 20% of their time as protected private study time throughout the programme.
It is a requirement of the programme that all trainees engage with the prescribed learning and that employers respect the trainee’s supernumerary status and ensure study time is provided. At the beginning of the programme, as soon as the teaching arrangements are known, trainees and training officers should agree between them how sufficient time will be allocated for study.
FAO 1st and 2nd year trainees –
Thank you for your continued patience whilst we work through the many issues raised around STP training due to COVID-19. Please be assured that we are very aware that your training has been disrupted, to varying degrees dependent on Specialty and training department, and we appreciate that this is causing anxiety.
We are communicating with training officers and trainees to try and ensure we have as much information about the situation in various departments as possible, with a view to providing more specialty-specific guidance about how to move training forward, and to address any gaps. We are organising and supporting a number of events including a Trainee Representative Group meeting, and a modified Themed Board session, all of which will allow us to collect information from those involved in your training and yourselves. You may have received a communication from your trainee representative already to collect your experiences, or you can email the School directly if you have concerns (or examples of good practice) that you wish to raise.
In the meantime, we are advocating flexibility, particularly of the rotations, with these being shortened or delayed if necessary, and with simulation and virtual training being used where appropriate. We are supportive of departments re-arranging training plans where required and are pleased to see that this is already part of many training officers’ response to the challenges faced.
We will continue to monitor and respond to the situation and are intending to provide advice and guidance regarding 2nd and 1st year training soon.
Statement updated on 3rd June 2020
If you are working from home at the instruction of your employer, your Trust should provide you with the equipment you need to continue your training. This should not continue indefinitely and you should be returning to the workplace as soon as possible subject to risk assessment. Your training should be continuing even if it is different as a result of the changes arising from Covid-19.
Trainees are employed members of staff on an equal footing with other employees. The Learning Development Agreement (LDA) signed by the Trust at the point a training place is assigned, and the accreditation to train awarded by the National School of Healthcare Science, requires the resources required to deliver the workplace based training are provided. This should include any IT equipment normally needed for the role.
Statement updated on 11th May 2020
We know you are worried and dealing with the impact of covid-19 on your education, training and personal lives. The National School working in collaboration with the universities, want to reassure you that our unified aim is to support you to continue your training; to complete your portfolio, clinical and academic work; and enable you to complete your training programme within the planned timeframe, and continue with your professional career. We understand that covid-19 has had an impact across all years of training and the school and the universities are working to ensure that no one is disadvantaged as a result. The arrangements universities are putting in place are with the agreement of the National School. Although in the first instance we have had to focus on the processes to support completing trainees and admission to the programmes in 2020, we are thinking about all of you at an earlier stage in your training, and how best to support you going forward.
The National School is in frequent contact with the HEIs, and the work of accrediting workplace training providers and supporting trainees who come to us with issues or concerns continues.
Please continue to review the usual communications from the universities and the School on our websites, by email and social media, for regular updates and information about joint webinars and Q & A sessions.
These are certainly unprecedented times and everyone is having to adapt at a pace and scale we have not previously seen in clinical and academic services. We want to thank all STP and HSST trainees for your professionalism and resilience, the very characteristics of clinical scientists.
Statement updated on 30th March 2020
Healthcare scientists of all specialties are playing a vital role in the battle against COVID-19. The testing of potential COVID-19 patients is developed, assessed, performed and interpreted by healthcare scientists. Scientists such as clinical engineers are working flat out on the rapid deployment and configuration of additional ventilators and other newly acquired equipment. Physiological Scientists, including Critical Care, Cardiac and Respiratory scientists are playing a vital role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with COVID-19.
In response to the need for significantly more clinical scientists to be available to the NHS over the next few months we are supporting efforts to allow final year trainees to progress into service as soon as possible. We are working with the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) to swiftly establish a method that will enable final year clinical science trainees to be placed on a temporary register in order to progress into positions in service.
We are hearing many stories of how scientists in adjacent specialties, such as medical physicists, who manage imaging and scanning equipment and services, are working long hours to support their clinical engineering colleagues in the setting up of new and redeployed equipment. Healthcare science apprentices have made changes in their roles to work beyond their current contracts in sterile services to support decontamination in laboratories.
We are working closely with the Chief Scientific Officer’s office in NHSE to identify the transferrable skills of healthcare scientists across the many specialties so that healthcare scientists can be upskilled and redeployed against the virus.
Statement updated on 20th March 2020
HEE and the NSHCS understands and values the significant contribution that all HCS STP colleagues, trainees and training officers, make to the delivery of care for patients. In these exceptional circumstances, we all recognise that significant changes may need to be made to planned training, including novel methods for delivery of academic material and disruption to rotational placements. We wish to reassure you all that the unique nature of current circumstances will be taken into account when assessing progress against curricula during this time.
The NSHCS is reviewing processes in training programme management to minimise risk across all aspects, from recruitment to assessment and completion and to mitigate against any negative impact on trainees’ progression. If learning opportunities to gain required competences are frustrated by events e.g. an exam or mandatory course is cancelled. We will be continuously liaising with Employers, HEIs, and other stakeholders and will provide regular updates as the situation changes.
STP trainees are embedded in departments and are Trust employees – we expect that they should continue in their current workplace unless managers and supervisors are unable through staffing absence or risk assessment to support them. If either of these (or another reason) is the case, then consideration should be made by the Trust employing department to re-deploy these staff to support other clinical activity elsewhere or if this is not appropriate then to look at allocating additional study time. Many HEIs are providing learning online and trainees could use this time to access this and to meet learning outcomes through self-directed learning where possible.
Statement updated on 20th March 2020
In these unprecedented times we at the National School want to understand the many different concerns you have about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your education and training, on your future plans and on you personally.
Therefore, we want to reach out to you to find out more about your experience and your concerns. The information you provide will enable us to explore extra support the School can offer at this time.
Advice from Trainees
We asked trainees for advice and tips on how to manage their training, academic study and wellbeing during this pandemic outbreak
Try and stay connected with your team - don't isolate yourself.
Keep to your work routine - get up early, be showered and dressed, finish on time.
Power through with professional practice competencies if you are first or second year, a lot of the learning outcomes can be met through self study.
If you are concerned, contact your Training Officer/ Supervisors/ University Course Organiser sooner rather than later.
If you have been redeployed, consider how the experience you have gained relates to the broad role and transferable skills of a clinical scientist and consider whether you can link your experience in some way with some of your competencies.
Keep yourself busy with whatever you can, get what competencies you can done (even if it's just the theory) and read up on things for next year.
Keep regular contact with your TO and/or mentor to keep them updated on your progress and any issues you're facing.
Looking after mental health is number 1 priority during times like these.
Keep in contact with your cohort of STP trainees, they will most likely be experiencing the same disruption as you.
If your normal work has decreased take this time to work on Professional Practice competencies.
The Headspace app is currently free of charge to all NHS staff. It is very useful for taking care of stress and anxiety during this time.
FAQs for trainees on the STP
Information for STP trainees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Click here for the STP trainee FAQs