COVID-19: STP trainee information

Information for STP trainees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Latest statements


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

  1. Training officers should NOT sign any competencies if the developmental evidence is not appropriate.
  2. 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.

Further guidance

  • 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.

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