FAQs for supervisors

Here you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the HSST.

How much time is required to be a HSST workplace supervisor?

The time required to supervise a HSST trainee is similar to that given for Register supervision. This does depend on the experience of the trainee and if they are completing the full DClinSci or using a prior PhD as an exemption.

What does the HSST programme entail?

The programme requires that each trainee follow a bespoke training programme agreed in advance with their local supervisor and recorded in an e-portfolio. It will require evidence of workplace learning outcomes appropriate to the Standards of Proficiency of a Higher Specialist Scientist as published by the Academy of Healthcare Science. It will include the opportunity to undertake a professional doctorate (DClinSci) commissioned by NHS England through the Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education.

Following an agreement reached with the Royal College of Pathologists for trainees in Life Sciences specialties, successful completion of FRCPath part 1 can be used to demonstrate the scientific specialist knowledge required for the Doctorate. Similarly the research project undertaken as part of the Professional Doctorate, can be used to demonstrate the required research competencies for FRCPath part 2.

What does the HSST curriculum deliver?

For all specialties the HSST curriculum delivers a mastery of higher scientific knowledge and clinical and scientific competence and has a requirement during the 5-year programme for the individual to contribute to innovation or improvement through service delivery, patient safety, care, public communication/outreach and quality management. It delivers both personal and professional development including high-level skills in leadership, management, teaching, and the values, attitudes and behaviours appropriate for higher professional practice in the NHS.

The HSST curricula have been developed through joint working with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and individual medical royal colleges, senior scientists and scientific professional bodies, employers and patients and its underpinning academic doctoral programme has been established through joint working with the Council for Healthcare Science in Higher Education and workforce commissioners.

What are the responsibilities of employers with HSST Trainees?

The responsibilities of the employer in supporting a HSST trainee aligns closely with that published by the GMC in its standards for medical education and training of postgraduate doctors in specialty training. The employer must ensure the HSST trainee has a balance between providing services and providing access to educational and training opportunities. Service work undertaken should support learning opportunities, education and training opportunities, and should not be compromised by the demands of regularly carrying out routine tasks or out-of-hours cover that do not support learning and have little educational or training value.

HSST trainees are mentored or supervised by someone of consultant or equivalent standing within the employing department and with the support of others across the department and within the wider organisation. It is helpful if the supervisor or mentor has experience of trainee supervision either of medical or clinical scientist postgraduate trainees and is conversant with guidance such as that from the GMC on the roles and responsibilities of supervisors and their obligations to support training excellence. We provide HSST Train the Trainer events for those undertaking HSST supervision.

What is the purpose of the Annual Review of Progression?

The purpose of the ARP is to:

  • provide a formal opportunity for trainees and their workplace supervisors to evaluate, and indicate to the School, a trainee’s progress on the programme appropriate to their stage of training
  • identify any concerns/issues/barriers that need to be addressed to help with a trainee’s progression
  • ensure that each trainee receives an independent evaluation of their progression
  • give confidence to trainees, workplace supervisors and commissioners that training is being monitored and support and advice is being offered as appropriate

The ARP is a mandatory requirement for all HSST trainees and workplace supervisors. It is intended to be a supportive and helpful process.

What does the HSST final assessment entail?

The assessment consists of a scientific paper for review and an interview, undertaken by three consultant level examiners. It also requires submission of a showcase of work, on which to base the interview. This must be submitted 3 months before the assessment.

Last updated on 28th February 2024