IACC 2023 Trainee guidance

The IACC 2023 is the final assessment component of your Scientist Training Programme completion. This assessment takes the form of a critical reflective narrative supported by evidence from your e-portfolio (OneFile) and an interview.

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Important: Important amendment to the full IACC interview

The panel interview will now allow 1 hour to cover 2 unseen case-based discussion scenarios, as well as the usual interview questions about the critical reflective narrative. This guidance has been updated to reflect this addition and details are included in the interview section.

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Introduction

This guidance explains the requirements for the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC) for 2023. It also provides detailed guidance for the critical reflective narrative and interview and should be read along with the guidance on the marking criteria. You can also download a copy of the MS Word submission template which you must use to submit your narrative.

Your submission will be assessed by an assessment panel that will take a view on a provisional pass/fail outcome following review of your reflective narrative, supporting evidence and panel interview that includes two, short case-based discussion scenarios.

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Your critical reflective narrative

Your critical reflective narrative should explain how your development as a Clinical Scientist demonstrates your readiness to transition into practice in each of the 5 domains of the Academy of Healthcare Science Good Scientific Practice (GSP) guide (2021). You must use the provided template to write and structure your narrative for submission. Click this link to download the template.

Word limit: The word limit is 3,500 words (+/- 10%) excluding citations to OneFile e-portfolio evidence.

GSP domains: you may choose and emphasise the elements of the domains that you consider to be most relevant to central aspects of your role. Your self-advocacy must acknowledge the current scope of your practice. If you believe any parts of the scope of your practise have been adversely affected by COVID-19, please make it clear in your narrative and provide supporting evidence. It would also be helpful if you can provide a training plan (optional) to demonstrate how you plan to address any gaps.

Global statement: as a Clinical Scientist, you will be more than the sum of your parts. In the last section of your narrative please provide a summary of how you intend to use the insights and new perspectives gained from your critical reflections to transition into practice as a patient-focused and safe, newly-qualified, threshold entry Clinical Scientist on your entry to the workplace as a registered professional.

Reflective writing

As a Clinical Scientist you are expected to be reflective practitioner. “Reflection is a process which helps you gain insight into your professional practise…” (HCPC, 2021).

We suggest that you use Driscoll’s model of reflection (2018), which is a simple 3 stage model that will help you to synthesise your learning on the STP. We also recommend that you view the recording of the presentation on reflective writing for the IACC.

Evidence

Any evidence you cite in your critical narrative must be signed off in OneFile by the IACC submission date. You are expected to have all your completed competencies signed off and available for use in your critical reflective narrative. Click this link for the IACC key dates.

You can also draw on additional evidence you have uploaded into OneFile. Examples include workplace assessments (e.g., DOPS, OCE, MSF and CBD), relevant evidence from your academic programme, and other forms of evidence from supervisors or third parties that recognise a contribution or skill you have made during your training.

Evidence is about you and your achievements, i.e., what you have done, achieved and learned. Please do not upload external documents such as standard operating procedures or processes.

You can upload external evidence that demonstrates additional skills, e.g., evidence of research skills developed on your Master’s programme, We recommend that you select a competency that most closely relates to your evidence and attach the evidence to that competency and ask your training officer to sign it off. This allows the assessors to easily locate this external evidence.

You should select and cite evidence that is relevant, proportionate and persuasive in supporting your narrative. You should be able to explain and justify any significant COVID-19 related gaps in your evidence and how you will practise safely within this current scope of practise.

How to cite evidence

The syntax for citing competencies and workplace assessments (DOPS, OCE and CBD) in your narrative is shown in the examples below.

  • To cite competency 3 in module SCC110 (Introduction to Healthcare Science and Clinical Leadership) use SCC110:3. The assessors can look at all the attached evidence.
  • To cite a specific piece of evidence linked to a competency, e.g., the results of a test or procedure, e.g., SCC110:3 (test A results). The assessors will only look at the specified evidence.
  • To cite a workplace assessment please use the module code and the assessment code e.g., SLS100:OCE1 (Clinical Biochemistry Investigation of Major Organ Function, OCE1).
  • Reference to your training plan, if relevant and you have chosen to include one, should be to the version in the annex in your narrative.

Using unsigned evidence of critical reflection

You may refer to unsigned submissions within your e-portfolio to demonstrate your developing critical reflective practice. Assessors will not consider references to unsigned submissions for the purpose of determining your recognition of the scope of your own practise. Examples of citing unsigned evidence:

  • unsigned SCC110:3
  • unsigned SLS100:OCE1

Assessors will focus on the profile of evidence you have cited from your portfolio and the context within which you have cited it, including your optional training plan.

Citations do not count towards the 3500 word limit (+/- 10%) for your narrative.

Training plan annex (optional)

We recommend that you include a training plan as an annex at the end of your critical reflective narrative that outlines how you intend to address any significant COVID-19 related gaps in your portfolio. You can use your current training plan which would allow the assessment panel to view your training plan at the time of your submission while still allowing you to continue to use and update your plan during the assessment period. Click this link for guidance on what is expected in your training plan.

A training plan is optional and will not count towards the 3500 word limit (+/- 10%) for your narrative.

Marking criteria

The marking criteria describe the qualitative aspects the assessors will look for in your critical reflective narrative in assessing your readiness to practise. Please familiarise yourself with these. Click this link to view the marking criteria.

Submission template

You must use the most recent version of the MS Word submission template for your critical reflective narrative. Click this link to download the template. You must use the current edition of the AHCS Good Scientific Practice Guide (2021) when referring to the GSP domains.

Submitting your narrative

You will be sent a link (and username and password details) 2 weeks before the submission deadline to the online system where you must upload your critical reflective narrative. In addition to these login credentials, you will also receive a simple step-by-step guide showing you how to upload and submit your MS Word document.

The submission system will be open for the 2 week period immediately prior to the submission deadline and will close on the deadline. You can upload newer versions of your critical reflective narrative up until the deadline – i.e., your latest submission before the deadline will be the one which is assessed.

Essential information and documents

You can download all the information you need about this assessment from the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence page under the ‘Essential information and documents’ section.

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Your interview

You will be invited to attend a 1 hour interview to discuss your critical reflective narrative and 2 unseen case-based discussion scenarios. The notification will be sent to your preferred email address held on record by the School. Please make sure your contact details are up to date. If you have not received notification of the date and time of the panel interview, please email england.nshcs.assessment@nhs.net.

Due to the complexity of organising the interview panels and ensuring there are no conflicts of interest it is not possible to alter your interview date or allow you to change dates with another candidate. If you are unable to attend your interview you will need to wait until the next opportunity to take the IACC 2023. Click this link to view the dates. You must notify the School in advance and submit an Extenuating Circumstances application. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee in advance that your application will be accepted.

The assessor panel

The assessor panel will comprise of up to 3 specialist assessors one of whom will be appointed lead assessor. The lead assessor will lead the panel interview which will last 1 hour and consist of:

  • 45 minutes discussing your reflective narrative
  • 15 minutes discussing 2 case-based discussion scenarios

You must follow any direction given by the Lead Assessor regarding the conduct of the panel.

After the interview, the panel meet to form a judgement on your readiness to practise after considering your written narrative, the supporting evidence, and your interview.

Self-reflective narrative

The assessors will review your narrative and cited evidence and identify and agree aspects of your narrative they wish to discuss with you. In considering your reflective narrative the panel may take a view on the completeness and fullness of the evidence you have cited. The discussion about your reflective narrative will take a semi-structured interview approach and each assessor will have the opportunity to ask you questions. The questions to determine readiness to practise will cover each of the 5 Good Scientific Practice domains and your global statement. You can ask for clarification where the meaning of any question is not sufficiently clear. You and the assessors may make reference to your training plan, if included, and cited evidence in OneFile. You may suggest to assessors where they can find additional, relevant evidence that supports your answers to any questions within your OneFile portfolio for assessors to consider.

Case-based discussion scenarios

The panel will also discuss 2 short case-base discussion (CBD) scenarios with you. You will not see these in advance. The lead assessor will explain where the CBD scenarios will be discussed in the overall interview and in relation to the discussion of your self-reflective narrative.

The CBD scenarios will be drawn from your specialist modules specified in the STP completion requirements for 2023.

Each CBD scenario discussion will last between 5 to 7 minutes. Case-based discussion examples are available here.

Marking criteria

The assignment will be judged on a pass or fail basis.

The detailed marking criteria are available and you are expected to demonstrate your readiness to practise based on your critical reflective narrative and your interview. Please use these to check that your writing addresses the criteria for critical reflective writing, self-advocacy, patient safety and professional standards and supporting evidence.

You must pass each of the 5 Good Scientific Practice domains and the global statement.

You must also meet the IACC summary criteria that you are able to:

  • demonstrate your ability to recognise the scope of your own competence and self-regulate to practise safely as an autonomous professional
  • demonstrate your ability to maintain professional standards and patient safety at all times

Incident reporting

If an incident occurs within the panel interview an incident report is usually created. You can raise an incident report, or it can be raised by the assessors, the invigilator, any Service User Representative observing the panel interview or a member of the School staff supporting the interview panel. All incident reports are submitted to the Examination Board for consideration.

The incident report will be a brief statement that describes the issue, any remedy or solution offered during the panel interview and any perceived impact on the assessment process.

If you are submitting an incident report, please complete the online incident report form. The form will be available from 6 to 13 November 2023.

After the interview

After you have finished your interview, we will send you a short online evaluation form to complete asking about your experience of the technical and administrative aspects of the interview.

If you have any questions or concerns and want to provide any feedback and comments you may have about the process, you can submit your feedback in writing by emailing england.nshcs.assessment@nhs.net within 2 days of your interview. Please use ‘IACC 2023 feedback’ in the subject line of your email.

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Your results

Confirmation of results

The assessor panel makes a provisional recommendation of pass or fail on your assessment. These recommendations are considered by the Exam Board along with any incident reports and feedback from the members of the Board including observers, lead assessors and subject experts. The Exam Board may adjust some recommendations when taking this feedback into account.

The Ratification Board considers recommendations from the Examination Board. The consideration assists the Head of the National School for Healthcare Science in deciding the ratified outcome for each trainee.

Notification of results

You will be notified of the outcome of your IACC 2023 by email, normally within 7 working days of the Ratification Board. The notification is in the form of a candidate report from the Head of the National School for Healthcare Science and a copy is sent to your training officer. An indicative date for the release of results is available in the key dates for IACC 2023 page.

If you do not receive your result within 5 days of the published date for release of results, please email the assessment team at england.nshcs.assessment@nhs.net.

Resits

You have a maximum of 3 attempts to pass the STP final assessment within a 2 year period. The 2 year period starts with the date you first attempt the IACC 2023 and excludes any breaks from your training recognised by the School.

You will receive supportive, constructive feedback from the assessors that will advise you on the areas you need to address for your resit attempt. The feedback will address your readiness to practise and will be aligned to the marking criteria.

If any issues were not fully explored within the limited time available during the panel interview assessor feedback will aim to make clear which elements relate to the interview and which are relate to your written submission.

Trainee support calls

The School will contact you to offer a support call with a Training Programme Director (TPD). You can also contact the School to request support by emailing england.nshcs.assessment@nhs.net. Where practical the support call will include the Lead Assessor for your panel.

Support calls can be helpful where the meaning of the assessor feedback is unclear, or to discuss your approach to transition into practice or to resit the IACC 2023. We strongly advise you to attend a support call if you have to resit the IACC 2023.

If you are required to resit the IACC, you are normally expected to resit at the next available opportunity published on the School website. If you are taking a break from the STP, approved by the School, you are not allowed to attempt the IACC during this break.

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Applications to defer the IACC 2023

Query your IACC sitting

Trainees seeking a change to their Scientist Training Programme such as seeking additional time and funding must apply via the School’s Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances (EEC) policy. If your circumstances do not fit this process please contact us no later than Wednesday 4 October 2023 with evidence to explain your request so we can determine if it can be supported. Please email england.nshsc.assessment@nhs.net and use ‘IACC 2023 adjustments’ in the subject line.

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Appeals and complaints

If you wish to make a complaint or appeal against your ratified outcome for your assessment then you must use the appropriate policy, within the time limits of those policies.

Issues related to the delivery of assessment or the ratified outcome

It is recognised that trainees will sometimes become dissatisfied with a service we have provided or failed to provide. We know that there may be disagreement regarding assessment decisions There may also be occasions where students have grounds to appeal a decision made by the Board.

The Procedure for Complaints and Appeals gives more detail on how the School considers complaints and appeals, from early consideration through to formal resolution and review, and information on how to make a submission under each stage. Please click on the policy link above to view the relevant procedure.

Priority of complaints and academic appeals procedures

Where you raise both a complaint and an academic appeal, the complaint will take priority.

Time limit for submission of academic appeal or complaint

You must submit your academic appeal and/or complaint within 10 working days of publication of your result (candidate report). Please email your academic appeal or complaint to england.nshcs.assessment@nhs.net with ‘IACC academic appeal’ or ‘IACC complaint’ in the subject line.

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References

All Answers. (November 2018). Driscoll’s Model of Reflection. [online]. Available from: https://nursinganswers.net/reflective-guides/driscoll-model-of-reflection.php?vref=1  [Accessed 3 May 2023].

Last updated on 17th January 2024