Communicating with your Echocardiography trainee and colleagues

Last Updated: 28th May 2021

Good communication with your trainee and colleagues will help make your trainee’s time on the programme a success.

Arrange an early meeting with the trainee before they start

Invite new trainees in as early as possible to meet colleagues and see the department. This provides an opportunity to discuss expectations and establish rapport. It is a chance to find out a little more about their interests, experience and skills, which will help your planning process. It is also a good time to explain the likely arrangements that will be made for any other time at external sites.

Make contacts with others involved in Echocardiography training

The most useful contacts will be within the Echocardiography community. You will probably know of others through your professional network or the BSE who are engaged in training healthcare scientists in Echocardiography. This will be an opportunity to discuss best practice.

Prepare staff including other trainees

Staff in the department or trainees on other schemes will need to understand some elements of the training programme. It may be worth considering hosting an ‘ETP familiarisation’ meeting open to all staff in the department.

Some topics to cover would be:

  • It is a national level competitive scheme leading eventually to BSE Accreditation.
  • It shares part of the curriculum with the Scientist Training Programme and is part of a suite of training programmes at all levels, which form a common education and training framework for healthcare scientists.
  • Trainees are supernumerary and will be studying concurrently for their Post Graduate Certificate.
  • The academic study may be undertaken in the workplace, and the trainee will be engaged in study for at least one day per week (as well as studying in their own time).
  • The scheme is designed to rapidly develop Accredited Echocardiographers and encourages working in conjunction with other professional disciplines to improve patient care.
  • The scheme will involve block study at the higher education provider.

This is also an opportunity to explain the work of the School, it’s Themed Boards and Training Programme Directors.

Trainees can also bring a valuable new perspective to your department. Their questions and reactions can be useful to existing staff. Make them feel that they have a role in improving the department. Ideally trainees should be in the same offices as other department members. Trainees have reported that they learn most about how to do the job from overhearing and engaging in everyday conversations between staff. This informal learning is invaluable and ensures the trainee integrates into the team. Make sure trainees are invited to and participate in departmental meetings to understand the wider implications of their work.

Prepare to be active in imparting knowledge and skills

The academic part of the programme is at master’s level and the trainees will all have a good level of scientific understanding. However, no programme can teach everything that is needed for professional practice, and innovation happens very quickly in science. Training officers should prime staff in the department to be generous in passing on their own knowledge. In addition to scientific knowledge, Echocardiography training relies on hands-on training and there is a wealth of other knowledge and skills in, for example, professional practice, health service management, and other patient facing competencies.

Establish contact with the HEI

Ideally, establish a working relationship with the programme lead as soon as possible. This is an integrated training programme and works best if the academic and work-based elements are working co-operatively together.

Build networks within your organisation and region

Other departments within your region may have ETP trainees, and trainees are encouraged to create networks – peer support is very helpful. There will likely be a regional echo training lead, who will contact you to discuss what training support is available. Your local HEE healthcare science lead should also be able to help. Details of existing regional healthcare science trainee networks are also available.

Inform your learning and development manager and lead healthcare scientist

The person responsible for learning and development in your organisation, and your lead healthcare scientist, should be informed in advance that you have a trainee joining as they should have an overall view of all trainees in the science area. They may have useful resources and planned events which can contribute to training. They will also know what support is available.

Send background reading to the trainee in advance

Documents that are required reading such as organisation wide policies, departmental guidelines, practice advice, rules and regulations could, if it is within your organisation’s normal practice, be emailed to the trainee in advance.