Here are some ways of keeping the training standards high.
Review the quality of training in the department
You could use trainee feedback, peer review, and training outcomes. Take stock of all training schemes operating in the department, and any quality enhancements that can be made which benefit all. Perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. Best practice would be for an external peer to help you in the review. Your professional body may advise – several professional bodies have a regional tutor system. A good opportunity for conducting this review is when you are asked to complete annual monitoring by the School in order to maintain your approved accreditation status, if you have this. You may well also prepare periodic quality assurance returns for other agencies such as your local HEE (or country equivalent) office.
Maintain the quality of training skills among your staff
Try to ensure relevant staff in the department complete the School’s train the trainer session and cascade the training to others. It is also good for a training department to ensure that any staff who may be involved in coaching, mentoring or training have an opportunity to complete some generic training in this area themselves, through CPPD in the organisation. Consider establishing a teaching observation scheme among trainers (e.g. for case-based discussions). Critical reflection is key to professional practice. Be honest with a trainee when you are uncertain about a professional situation and articulate your thought process (what are you weighing up when you consider a difficult situation with a patient or colleague?). If they see that you have to do this, they will be more comfortable about asking and discussing approaches to professional practice. Rather than seeing professional practice competencies as separate from technical competencies, highlight how they are integrated e.g. you must communicate well with your colleagues in order to find the best technical solution to a problem.
Follow ‘Good Scientific Practice’
The Academy for Healthcare Science document ‘Good Scientific Practice’ sets out the principles, values and the standards of behaviour and practice for the healthcare science workforce. These standards and values must be achieved and maintained in the delivery of work activities, the provision of care and personal conduct.
Follow good practice advice from professional and regulatory bodies
Although this page provides some generic good principles, it is not designed to offer advice in specialist areas. The Society for Cardiological Science and Technology (SCST) is a source of good practice advice for all areas of Cardiac Science. The British Society of Echocardiography (BSE) also has a long history of training and assessment, produces useful mechanisms for quality assurance and is a repository of best practice in Echocardiography. Trainees should be encouraged to become BSE members as soon as possible to prepare for their Accreditation process – the training fund which accompanies each training post may be used for this.