Rationale for the STP final assessment

Last Updated: 24th March 2021

The STP final assessment is one of several conditions you must satisfy to complete the Scientific Training Programme and entitlement to full HCPC registration. In response to disruption to training caused by the Covid-19 pandemic some changes were made to the STP, including changes to the final assessment.

STP final assessment

A new final assessment – the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC) – was rapidly developed for final year 2019 – 2020 STP trainees, in conjunction with stakeholders, to respond to the emerging Covid-19 pandemic in the Spring of 2020 when it became impossible to reliably plan delivery of face to face assessments. The IACC has been approved by the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) and Health Education England (HEE).

Rationale for the final assessment

Before we provide detailed assessment guidance, it is worth taking some time to understand why the final assessment – The Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC) – has been designed in this way. The Academy of Healthcare Science in Good Scientific Practice (2012) recognises that “healthcare scientists undertake complex scientific and clinical roles, defining and choosing investigative and clinical options, and making key judgements about complex facts and clinical situations. Many work directly with patients.” (AHCS, 2012, p2).

Clinical science is a complex role that requires a range of skills across a several domains including clinical and scientific practice, professional practice, leadership and research, development and innovation (AHCS, 2012). The professional expectations of clinical scientists are such that they should be “enquirers into their own clinical competence, should reflect on their own clinical practice and should audit the quality of their practice.” (adapted from Harden and Laidlaw, 2017). This assignment is designed to help you achieve this.

The IACC is designed to ensure a fair and robust independent assessment that is accessible to all eligible final year STP trainees. It is also flexible and can take into account the variability in training disruption across the specialities. The design of the assessment, based on a critical reflective narrative, reflects the HCPC and other health regulators joint support of reflective practice across healthcare (HCPC, 18 June 2019).

Reflective practice allows an individual to continually improve the quality of care they provide and gives multi-disciplinary teams the opportunity to reflect and discuss openly and honestly….[and] reinforces that reflection is a key element of development and educational requirements… (HCPC, 18 June 2019)

The IACC 2021 provides an opportunity for timely completion of the STP programme for all eligible final year STP trainees. The nature of the IACC critical reflection assessment task provides a strong basis to support you to transition into practice including your own insights into your readiness to practise. The IACC 2021 accommodates the highly variable training experience caused by the pandemic through its assessment strategy involving specialist assessors.

The assessment panel feedback supports your transition into practise by providing you, and your training officers, with independent expert opinion on future development priorities. The IACC 2021 fosters reflective practice supporting you in directing your own training needs. The IACC 2021 also provides an effective learning experience supporting your capacity to self-advocate for your future development needs on entering employment as a newly qualified threshold level Clinical Scientist and provides a basis for your development as a reflective practitioner.

The Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence assessment, or IACC, has been revised for 2021 in response to stakeholder feedback from trainees, assessors and Lead Station Writers, and pedagogic review.

The assessment is informed by the HCPC Standards of proficiency: Clinical Science (2014) and structured around the Academy of Healthcare Science guide to Good Scientific Practice (AHCS, 2019). As part of NSHCS quality enhancement, assessments are regularly reviewed to ensure they are reliable, valid and fit for purpose.