The new compulsory module ‘Individual Professional Development’ focuses on the trainee

This new compulsory module is for the 2022 curriculum and beyond.

Published on
19th June 2023
Filed under
Healthcare science, NSHCS

This module provides an opportunity for you to develop your own practice. While the curriculum sets out the baseline skills and knowledge you’ll need to work as a Clinical Scientist, everyone and every workplace is different. This means there might be something that you need to support your training that’s not included in the curriculum or your training plan. This module gives you an opportunity to work on an area of your practice that is just about you. Click this link for a short animation introducing the module.

This module is very different to the others in the curriculum. The focus is on you and as there are so many options it can be difficult to know where to start. Everyone’s experience of the module will also be different so it’s tricky to compare what you’re doing to others. There’s no one right way to complete this module but there is one thing that will be the same for everyone: you’re working on your ability to reflect on your own skills and knowledge, identify where there are gaps and work on addressing those gaps. This is an important professional skill which is why we’ve introduced this module. Your learning won’t finish when you complete the STP. You’ll need to engage in continuing professional development (CPD) throughout your career to keep your skills and knowledge up to date and make sure patient care continues to be safe and effective. It’s particularly important, as once you are registered as a Clinical Scientist, you’ll need to engage in CPD to maintain your registration with the HCPC. In most organisations there’s a process you’ll need to follow to access training or CPD experiences, particularly if funding is needed. The competencies in this module should be quite similar to that process, so in keeping with the rest of the curriculum, this module aims to get your ready to work as a Clinical Scientist.

An important point to remember when thinking about how you might approach this module is that while this is an opportunity to develop you, it’s about developing you to be a better Clinical Scientist and ultimately, improving how you contribute to patient care. What you do needs to be discussed and agreed with your Training Officer, so you need to be able to make a reasoned case to demonstrate that what you’re suggesting will support your development. You may need to be flexible and compromise and it’s particularly important to make sure this doesn’t impact the rest of your training. If what you want to do has a cost associated with it, you’ll need to find the funds to cover the costs. In that case, it’s even more important that you can justify why that organisation should give you the money and how it will benefit not just you, but your wider organisation and, most importantly, patients. Your employer and any organisations you’re working with may have processes and policies in place to access funds and training and to allow you to work with them you’ll need to follow these.  As the School, we can share information on courses and learning that’s available to you, but we can’t support you to make the case for what you want to do, nor help with organisation or provide funding. Your training allowance cannot be used to cover costs associated with the Independent Professional Development module. Your training allowance is primarily to support you with costs associated with attending University and allowing this to be spent on development opportunities would disproportionally benefit trainees who lived near to or had lower costs associated with attending university. Equity was an important consideration when developing this module and we wanted to make sure there were no barriers to access such as a requirement to travel or be away from home, which would prevent anyone from completing the module.

The competencies in the module will walk you through what you need to do to complete this module:

1. Develop discuss and agree with your training officer:

  • The area of your practice for development- what do you need to work on?
    • Have you had any feedback while completing your competencies, work-based assessments or multi-source feedbacks that might that highlight an area of practice which would benefit from more focus?
    • Are there areas of practice you could explore that would complement your training?
    • Is there anything coming up in your training that you’re a bit worried about and might be helpful to get a head start on?
    • Do your Training Officer, supervisor or colleagues have suggestions about skills to work on
  • Your development aims- what skills or knowledge do will you be working on and why?
  • A plan to meet these aims- what are you going to do to meet your development aim(s)? How will this help you become a better Clinical Scientist? How might this help your department and ultimately how will this improve your contribution to patient care?
    • Is there a structured opportunity like a course, a conference, webinars or a training programme? What’s available in your own organisation, e-Learning for Health, online, or via your professional body?
    • Can you take advantage of something already happening, get involved in an event, committee or project or step up to additional or new responsibilities?
    • Can you make your own arrangements, a visit, shadowing, talking to someone, reading or research?
    • Bear in mind that while talking to other trainees might be helpful, their development needs and the requirements of their curriculum might be different to yours so what they’ve done may not apply to you too.
    • The timelines for this module have been left very open, both how long you need to spend on your development and when you do it. You might identify an area for development early in your training or maybe later. It might be one thing you do for a block of time, it might be lots of shorter opportunities over a long period of time.  Everyone’s experience will be different. This isn’t about a set amount of time to tick a box as it’s very unlikely you’ll have set time for CPD once you are registered. It is about spending the time you need when you need it to meet your development aim(s) and support your training.

2. Record and reflect on your experience – it’s important to get into good habits to record what you’ve done as you’ll need to keep a log to fulfil the requirements of your registration with the HCPC. (This can be audited once you’re registered). It’s good practice to reflect on the experience as well, to integrate what you’ve learned into your practice.

3. Present your learning from your development experience – Not everyone will be able to access the same development opportunities so it’s important to share what you’ve learned so that everyone can benefit.  How can what you’ve learned help others?

So what are you going to work on? This is about you and your practice. To give you some ideas, here are some examples curated by the National School staff.

Chris Fisher, Head of Curriculum at NSHCS

  • Courses on management and leadership.
  • Attending conferences online and in person.
  • EDI training sessions and workshops.
  • Practice specific training courses.
  • Webinars from various organisations including NHSE, NHS Elect, HCPC, CSO Office.
  • Volunteering for task and finish groups and to chair meetings.
  • Visits to training departments to get a better understanding of specialties (I found this really valuable for my role, even though it included a very early start to see Radiopharmacy in action!).

Dr Jo Horne, STP Training Programme Director

  • Organisational courses on management, leadership, mentoring, coaching, difficult conversations.
  • Organisational Quality Improvement Projects – ways to highlight the presence and value of Healthcare Science services.
  • Lots of courses on Future Learn around scientific area, but also diversity, communication, programming, etc.
  • Outreach, working with the Lead Healthcare Scientist to promote the profession.
  • Developing scientific posters and giving presentations at relevant conferences.
  • Attendance at broader conferences, e.g., London Women’s Leadership Network – I found a lot of value in getting outside of the scientific specialty and meeting other professions.
  • NHS Leadership Academy programmes, e.g., Edward Jenner.
  • NHSE webinars about broader subjects, e.g., compassionate leadership.
  • Supporting STP recruitment days by sharing experience of training.
  • Joining an STP trainee network.

Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology (ARTP) Professional Body

eLearning for Health

Last updated on 19th June 2023

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