The purpose of the policy
This document outlines the processes by which the National School of Healthcare Science (the School) will assure and manage the review and confirmation of trainee completion, for all required elements of the Scientist Training Programme (STP). It outlines timescales, key activities and identifies stakeholders or other bodies, who have a role or influence on the management of this process.
This document outlines completion requirements for trainees who started in 2019 and will complete their STP in 2022. It also includes any trainees who have deferred/delayed their training but are still intending to complete in 2022. The document also highlights planned strategies for future trainees. These may be subject to review and updated as appropriate within the required timescales for the training.
The completion requirements have been revised to take account of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on training and therefore trainees should take note of the changes made specifically to the e-portfolio requirements. Trainees should also note the requirement for sign off by a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist if either the specialist or rotation modules are not completed. No changes have been made to the requirements for the Masters in Clinical Science or to the final assessment, the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC).
Background information about completion
The School is responsible for issuing a Certificate of Completion for the Scientist Training Programme (CCSTP). The certificate confirms that a trainee has met all the relevant mandatory completion criteria for the programme and that they are fit to practice. The School is the education provider for STP therefore issuing the CCSTP will also mean that trainees are eligible to apply directly to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration as a Clinical Scientist.
Completion criteria for the STP 2022
There are four key completion requirements for the STP. The requirements for each of these are explained in more detail below.
- Completion of the work-based assessments and competences on the e-portfolio.
- Successful completion of the Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC).
- Successful completion of the Masters (MSc) in Clinical Science.
- A declaration by a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist of the trainee’s scientific specialty competence if the specialist or rotation modules are not completed on the e-portfolio.
Completion of work-based assessments and competences on the e-portfolio
The assessment tools used for the STP include:
- Case Based Discussions (CBDs)
- Observed Clinical Events (OCEs)
- Direct Observation of Practical Skills (DOPS)
- Multi Source Feedback (MSF)
For 2022 the requirements for the completion of the e-portfolio have been adjusted to take account of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on training which as a minimum require:
- 100% completion of the competencies in the ‘SCC110: Introduction to Healthcare Science, Professional Practice and Clinical Leadership’ module
- Two MSF exercises, completed on Clarity, uploaded and signed off on OneFile
- 100% completion of the competencies and workplace assessments within the rotation module or modules most closely associated to the specialism, as outlined in the required rotations per specialism information.
To provide an opportunity for trainees to complete as scheduled, completion of the elective module is optional.
In a change to requirements for 2020 and 2021, to achieve completion, trainees will be permitted to complete less than 100% of the rotational modules provided they have as a minimum completed the module or modules most closely associated with their specialism. This decision has been taken to support trainees who were impacted during their first year by the pandemic and have had difficulties accessing or completing all of the rotations. By permitting less than 100% completion of the rotations the intention is to ensure that trainees and their training departments have sufficient time to focus on the specialist training. This option however is seen as a minimum requirement and all trainees are encouraged to complete as much of their specialist and rotation competencies and assessments as possible.
Details of the rotations required per specialism are available. There are particular requirements for Clinical Pharmaceutical Science, Clinical Microbiology and Clinical Bioinformatics – Physical Sciences which have been determined and supported by the profession.
If a trainee is unable to complete all of the rotations, sign-off for clinical competence from a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist will be required.
For the specialist competencies and assessments, trainees are encouraged to complete 100%. If this is not achievable, they can still complete the programme as satisfactory completion will be determined through the requirement to attain sign off for clinical competence from a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist.
E-portfolio completion exceptions
Trainees must remember that it is their responsibility to monitor and manage completion of their work-based assessments and competences. If a trainee believes that they will not finish their e-portfolio by the completion deadline, taking into account the revised completion criteria, they should speak to their training officer, notify the School and seek a formal extension. This is done using the Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances policy.
Any request for an extension must be received by 31 August 2022 and will require the submission of appropriate supporting evidence, including the formal approval of their training officer. Approval for an extension is awarded at the discretion of the Training Management Panel. Details of the dates of the panel and the deadline for submission of applications are available.
Trainees should be aware that an extension of training time, for the purpose of completing work-based assessments and competences, will not automatically include an extension of funding and/or contract of employment. This must be discussed and agreed with both the employer and the organisation responsible for funding the training.
Trainees who are not granted an e-portfolio completion extension and do not complete their work-based assessments and competences by the completion date, will have failed this mandatory component of the STP and will not be eligible to receive their CCSTP.
The Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC)
The Independent Assessment of Clinical Competence (IACC) is the summative exit assessment for the STP. Trainees will be required to achieve a pass in this assessment. Further details and guidance will be made available separately via email and the School website. Click this link for more information about the IACC.
Trainees who have exceptional circumstances relating to the IACC, will be considered under the policies and processes for this assessment. They will only be considered for the CCSTP when they are at a point to successfully exit the programme.
Should a trainee not pass the IACC, having exhausted all resit opportunities, the trainee will have failed the training overall and will not be eligible to receive the CCSTP.
Master's in Clinical Science
All trainees are required to successfully pass the MSc in Clinical Science to receive their CCSTP. Outcome data for trainees due to complete is requested by the School from all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) delivering the MSc.
Trainees who have exceptional circumstances relating to the MSc will be considered under the policies and processes set out by the HEIs. They will only be considered for the CCSTP when they are at a point to successfully exit the programme.
Should a trainee not receive a pass, and all resit opportunities available have been exhausted, the trainee will have failed the training overall and will not be eligible to receive the CCSTP.
All trainees will be subject to the requirements set out by the individual HEI in completing the MSc in Clinical Science and according to the curriculum set for the programme for their specialism.
Declaration by a HCPC registered scientist (Clinical or Biomedical)
To reflect the overall changes applied to completion of the STP in 2022, it has been necessary to retain the requirement to provide sufficient assurance of a trainee’s fitness to practice which meets the standards set by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
If trainees are unable to complete the specialist or rotational modules on their e-portfolio, the signature of a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist will be needed because the STP confers eligibility for entry to the HCPC statutory register for Clinical Scientists.
Trainees who do not have immediate access to a registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist will be able to follow a process of sign off by their training officer who should hold professional or voluntary registration with a counter signature from a HCPC registered Clinical or Biomedical Scientist within the same organisation.
Details of the mechanism for providing the sign off and, if necessary, countersignature will be communicated nearer the time of programme completion.
Registration as a clinical scientist
The School’s process for issuing the CCSTP is separate to any registration processes managed by the HCPC. Once the School has confirmed completion, data will be sent to the HCPC and trainees will be able to apply to register as a clinical scientist. Trainees should allow at least 10 working days before submitting their application to give HCPC time to update their systems.
Trainees should be aware that trainee data including their title, full name, address, contact details, nationality and date of birth will be shared between the School and the HCPC to facilitate these processes.
Timescales regarding completion certificate
Trainees who successfully complete the mandatory requirements of the STP will receive a confirmation of completion email from the week commencing 26/09/2022. The hard copy CCSTP will be sent, as soon as possible, to the address provided by the trainee. However, this may be up to 4 – 6 weeks later. Availability of hard copy certificates will be dependent on the national restrictions relating to the pandemic in place at the time of completion however, electronic copies will be made available if hard copies cannot be provided.
For trainees who are eligible to resit the IACC, have an extension to their MSc or have recorded exceptions, the CCSTP will be awarded when the completion criteria have been met in full. Therefore, timescales may vary significantly for individual trainees.
For future trainees it is anticipated that similar timescales will be followed, and the electronic CCSTP will be awarded, to the majority of trainees, towards the end of September or early October.
Trainees must make sure that they provide the School with up to date personal and contact information, as well as any mandatory data required, so that the HCPC registration processes can be completed. This will also guarantee that trainees receive their CCSTP.
Towards the end of their training, or at the point at which their extension ends, trainees will be asked to complete an online questionnaire which provides baseline data to process their completion. The School will also request ‘destination’ information such as future employment or training arrangements. This information will go towards informing the outcomes of the programme and will also give trainees an opportunity to feedback to the School on their experiences through an anonymous exit survey.
Trainees will receive notification of completion from the School via email. Their certificate will be sent to their home address, unless we have been notified of a preferred alternative or unless we are unable to provide hard copy certificates due to any restrictions relating to the pandemic. To ensure the School has the correct contact information, trainees must make sure that they complete the data audit.
The School will share the outcome of the training with the HCPC so that applications for registration as clinical scientists can be submitted.