HTML version of Feedback about the IACC from STP final year trainees and their training officers (2020)

Feedback about the IACC from STP final year trainees and their training officers (2020)

Last Updated: 10th December 2020

Introduction

The National School of Healthcare Science sent out a survey to all HCS STP trainees who had submitted an IACC in July 2020. Responses from 116 trainees (40% of those who had submitted an IACC) were received sharing their views and experiences of this independent final assessment.

The National School of Healthcare Science also sent out a related survey to all of the training officers who supported trainees to submit an IACC in July 2020. Responses from 90 training officers (31%) were received sharing their views and experiences of this independent final assessment.

The survey findings gave insight into the trainees’ and training officers’ perspectives of the following areas:

  1. Preparing for the first IACC submission
  2. Self-development gained from the IACC preparation process
  3. Assessor feedback
  4. Preparing for resubmission of the IACC
  5. Preparing for entering the workforce
  6. Additional considerations regarding the IACC

What we found out from the survey

Below are the descriptive analyses findings from the sets of feedback about the IACC.

Preparing for the first IACC submission

1. Understanding the IACC aim to guide their critical reflection (trainees’ perspectives)

The majority of the trainees who responded to the evaluation survey indicated they had a ‘good’ understanding of the IACC aim to enable them use this in underpinning their critical reflection. Some respondents who indicated experiencing some confusion in understanding the aim, highlighted that they were unsure of how to achieve the aim in the format of their IACC submission.

Very good 16
Good 50
Fair 30
Poor 13
Very poor 7

2. Understanding the IACC aim to guide their critical reflection (training officers’ perspectives)

The majority of the training officers who responded to the evaluation survey indicated they had a ‘good’ understanding of the IACC aim to enable them use this when helping their trainee to write their critical reflection. Many training officers indicated that they felt the IACC aim was appropriate for an assessment in light of COVID-19, but did not feel it would be a sufficient aim in normal times.

Very good 16
Good 47
Fair 19
Poor 6
Very poor 2

3. Awareness and use of published regulations and guidance (trainees’ perspectives)

The majority of respondents were aware of the published regulations and guidance published by the NSHCS. Suggestions for improving these supportive guides included: condensing the information into a single document and, providing more worked examples for trainees to refer to as they prepare their submissions.

I was not aware of this document I was aware but did not refer to this document I was aware of and did refer to this document but did not find it useful I was aware of and found referring to this document useful for my submission
Guidance on how to submit the IACC narrative (inc video) in EPA Pro 4 16 19 76
Responses to FAQs 4 7 55 49
Guidance on critical reflection 1 0 38 76
IACC Guidance for trainees and training officers 0 2 42 71
Requirements for the IACC submission 0 0 26 88
IACC Regulations 3 3 36 73

4. Awareness and use of published regulations and guidance (training officers’ perspectives)

The majority of respondents were aware of the published regulations and guidance published by the NSHCS and found these resources useful. The range of resources available was often praised. However, some respondents felt they were vague. Time restrictions were frequently mentioned as inhibited access and use of resources.

I was not aware of this document I was aware but did not refer to this document I was aware of and did refer to this document but did not find it useful I was aware of and found referring to this document useful for my submission
Guidance on how to submit the IACC narrative (inc video) in EPA Pro 21 11 14 44
Responses to FAQs 13 27 17 35
Guidance on critical reflection 15 14 12 48
IACC Guidance for trainees and training officers 2 4 21 62
Requirements for the IACC submission 0 9 15 66
IACC Regulations 12 14 16 42

5. Helpfulness of the assessment criteria (trainees’ perspective)

The assessment criteria for the IACC were considered useful by most respondents. However, some trainees felt this criteria could be improved to be more specific and at a lesser risk of incorrect interpretation.

Not helpful A little helpful Moderately helpful Substantially helpful
Self-assessing your final draft before submitting 30 27 33 24
Discussing your thoughts and initial draft with your training officer 29 32 31 22
Guiding your critical reflections 24 26 43 22

6. Helpfulness of the assessment criteria (training officers’ perspectives)

The assessment criteria for the IACC were considered ‘moderately helpful’ by most respondents. However, some training officers stated they were not aware of this resource.

Not helpful A little helpful Moderately helpful Substantially helpful
Guiding the trainee in self-assessing their final draft before submitting 11 17 40 17
As a basis of your support discussions and comment on initial drafts 9 21 40 16
Guiding your support of their critical reflections 10 16 45 17

7. Helpfulness of the tools/ techniques used in preparation for the IACC submission (trainees’ perspectives)

Discussions with peers and training officers were considered the most useful additional tool to assist in preparing for the IACC submission. Some trainees highlighted other tools (including online critical reflection guidance) which were useful to help them prepare.

I was not aware of this I was aware of this but did not use it I was aware of and used this, but did not find it helpful I was aware of and used this. I found it very helpful.
Other (if other please state which tools you used) 36 7 2 10
Speaking with other colleagues from your training journey 6 35 23 52
Discussion with peers 0 18 19 79
Discussion with your training officer 1 20 17 78
Gap analysis tool in your portfolio 23 42 19 32
Your learning about reflective practice on the MSc 19 22 23 52

8. Helpfulness of the tools/ techniques used in preparation for the IACC submission (training officers’ perspectives)

Discussions with peers and training officers were considered the most useful additional tools to assist in preparing for the IACC submission Speaking with other colleagues was also considered ‘moderately helpful’.

I was not aware of this I was aware of this but did not use it I was aware of and used this, but did not find it helpful I was aware of and used this. I found it very helpful.
Other (if other please specify below) 6 3 5 2
Speaking with other colleagues from their training journey 6 14 38 23
Discussion(s) with their peers 0 13 44 28
Discussion(s) with yourself as their training officer 0 9 29 48
Gap analysis tool in their portfolio 20 32 23 8
Their learning about reflective practice on the MSc 4 15 42 23

Self-development gained from the IACC preparation process

1. Extent of learning gained during preparation for the IACC (trainees’ perspectives)

Critical reflections and understanding of the GSP domains were the key learning points highlighted by trainees from their IACC experience.

None Low Moderate High
Practice of critical reflection (a highly valuable skill for a reflective practitioner) 2 15 52 43
The requirements of the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Clinical Scientists 3 14 51 45
The values and principles incorporated into the Good Scientific Practice domains 1 8 38 66
Foresight in identifying your continuing training needs 2 16 32 64
Insight into your own scope of expertise relative to that expected of a newly registered Clinical Scientist in … 5 20 45 43
Learning about your engagement with your training 6 27 50 31
Understanding about your own expectations from the programme 7 25 53 28

2. Extent of learning gained during preparation for the IACC (training officers’ perspectives)

Foresight in identifying their training needs was reported as the highest learning point highlighted by training officers from their IACC experience.

None Low Moderate High
Practice of critical reflection (a highly valuable skill for a reflective practitioner) 1 7 43 37
The requirements of the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Clinical Scientists 1 17 46 24
The values and principles incorporated into the Good Scientific Practice domains 1 10 42 35
Foresight in identifying their continuing training needs 1 14 30 43
Insight into their own scope of expertise relative to that expected of a newly registered Clinical Scientist in … 2 16 36 32
Learning about their engagement with their training 1 17 45 26
Understanding about their own expectations from the programme 3 17 50 18

3. New/ unexpected experiences gained during preparation for the IACC (trainees’ perspective)

Notably, some trainees benefitted from discussions with other regarding their performance and readiness to practice as registered Clinical Scientist. Additionally, some trainees felt the skills practiced during the IACC were not new learning experiences and already been developed during their training.

  • None
  • In-depth conversations with a colleague
  • Aided job interview preparation
  • Learning to write a non-scientific essay
  • Practising critical reflection/reflective writing

4. Value of this new/ unexpected experience to future life (trainees’ perspective)

Most trainees felt their learning was of some value to their future life.

Very valuable 11
Valuable 24
Moderately valuable 16
Slightly valuable 35
Not valuable 22

Assessor feedback

1. Rating the quality of feedback received from assessors (trainees’ perspectives)

Most trainees who responded to this survey felt the sufficiency and value of the assessors’ feedback was ‘good’. ​The comments shared by trainees indicated variability in the quality and usefulness of the feedback given by IACC assessors.

Sufficiency Valuable for your next steps
Very good 27 21
Good 42 37
Fair 26 29
Poor 5 13
Very poor 12 13

2. Rating the quality of feedback received from assessors (training officers’ perspectives)

Most training officers who responded to this survey felt the sufficiency and value of the assessors’ feedback was ‘good’. ​The comments shared by training officers also indicated variability in the quality and usefulness of the feedback given by IACC assessors. Suggestions for a more quantitative method of marking were proposed.

Sufficiency Valuable for the next stage
Very good 27 17
Good 40 46
Fair 21 24
Poor 6 14
Very poor 6 6

Preparing for re-submission of the IACC

1. Usefulness of re-submission guidance from the National School of Healthcare Science (trainees’ perspectives)

A small number of respondents (n=18) indicated they were unsuccessful in their first IACC submission and were required to resubmit. There was a varied view of whether the NSHCS guidance to support resubmissions was sufficient and useful. Where trainees indicated more detail was needed, they suggested offering examples of IACC submissions and to advise on the available support. Others felt the guidance was sufficient.

Guidance is comprehensive and useful 2 (11%)
Guidance is sufficient 8 (44%)
Guidance needs more detail to be useful 8 (44%)
  • Would be useful to have a good IACC example to guide
  • Re-submission guidance appears very similar to initial guidance
  • Still unclear on how to address some aspects of the submission
  • Should have stated that assessors would not be able to see competencies
  • Absence of advice on what support is available

2. Confidence to be able to address the assessor’s feedback and succeed in re-submission (trainees’ perspectives)

Nearly 40% of the 18 re-submitting respondents did not feel confident to be able to address the assessor’s feedback and succeed in their resubmission. Twelve of the 18 respondents had requested a support call from the NSHCS to help them to address their feedback and aid their resubmission progress. The usefulness of the support calls seemed to vary between respondents: some felt the call to be informative and helpful, whereas others felt they did not learn anything new.

Very confident 3 (17%)
Confident 8 (44%)
Not confident 7 (39%)

Preparing for entering the workforce

1. Confidence in ability to carry out routine work (trainees’ perspectives)

Most respondents who indicated they had passed the IACC assessment felt that they were ‘mostly’ or ‘very confident’ to be able to carry out the routine work of their practice. Trainees highlighted that they had received a lot of practical skills although this was not also enough to have a competency signed off or to meet the original target goals. Suggestions of extension of training time (which was indeed available as an option) or training provision in new job roles have been proposed by some trainees in light of the missed time in work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Very confident 33
Mostly confident 52
Moderately confident 12
Slightly confident 1
Not confident 0

2. Confidence on entering practice as a newly qualified Clinical Scientist (trainee’s perspectives)

The majority of respondents felt ‘mostly confident’ about entering their practice as a newly qualified Healthcare Scientist. Clarity of training plans and awareness of strengths/weaknesses boosted trainees’ confidence. Many trainees highlighted that more clinical experience would have helped them to feel more confident about entering the workforce.

Very confident 21
Mostly confident 59
Moderately confident 16
Slightly confident 1
Not confident 1

3. Confidence in being able to discuss immediate CPD needs with new employer (trainee’s perspectives)

Most trainees felt ‘very’ or ‘mostly confident’ that they would be able to discuss their immediate CPD needs with their new employers. Processes such as annual appraisal, new starter appraisals and CPD were attributed to this confidence more commonly than the IACC was.

Very confident 45
Mostly confident 38
Moderately confident 12
Slightly confident 2
Not confident 1

4. Entering the workforce (training officers’ perspectives)

Impact of COVID includes reduced budgets for jobs, home working so reduced contact with patients, and reduced study/CPD time due to increased workload from waiting lists.

  • Training officers identified that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was likely to be the biggest challenge for newly qualified members of departments post STP.
  • A ranging level of support was promised by training officers to accommodate newly qualified HCSs entering the workforce. Some stated that there was no capacity for support and new starters would be expected to work independently, whereas others would offer as much support as needed. Many stated new starters would receive the normal level of support with local training and sign offs as appropriate.

 

Additional considerations

1. Considerations highlighted by trainees

  • The timing of results being released should be considered so as not to impede trainee’s progress with other elements of the programme if they fail the assessment.
  • The value of the IACC should be considered in light of the existing methods of assessment (e.g. professional practice competencies). ​
  • Increasing the upper boundary of the word limit may allow for improved reflective writing covering all relevant aspects of the GSP domains. ​
  • Inclusion of input from training officers (e.g. concluding statement of support or a statement regarding trainee’s fitness to practice). ​
  • Improved resources and provision of more/ better example submissions would be helpful to future IACC submissions. ​
  • Impact of pushback from STP alumni who sat an OSFA and did not view the IACC positively should be considered. ​
  • Review of assessors’ feedback to ensure they are constructive and in-line with NSHCS may be beneficial. ​
  • Offering a more detailed and specific marking criteria may help trainees to structure and approach writing their IACC submissions. ​
  • Future IACC assessments might benefit from being supplemented by an additional specialism-focused assessment. ​
  • More clarity provided regarding the appropriate evidence to support IACC submissions. ​
  • A practice attempt may have been beneficial. ​
  • Clearer guidance and instructions were requested by many trainees to help them during the IACC preparation process. ​

2. Considerations highlighted by training officers

  • Further, more detailed guidance, on the requirements of the IACC was suggested by many training officers. E.g. virtual ‘train the trainer’ events to give better instruction and guidance to training officers supporting trainee submissions.
  • Details of readiness to practice indicators were considered to be a helpful improvement to the current format. ​
  • An increased word count was proposed by some training officers to allow for better reflections to be presented. ​
  • It was highlighted that it was trainees’ choice to seek advice and guidance from their training officer. Thus, training officers were not also in a position to support IACC submission preparation. However, making inclusion of the training officer for preparation mandatory may benefit the quality of submissions and level of support for trainees. ​
  • Ensuring an action plan is made in addition to a critical reflection was felt by some training officers to strengthen the existing format of assessment using the IACC. ​
  • It was also suggested that the NSHCS incorporate the impact of COVID-19 on the ability of training officers to support trainees as part of their assessment evaluation. ​