Message from your STP Training Programme Directors
Namir Al Hasso, Dr EMma Bowers, Dr Jo Horne, Jane Lynch and Aarti Makan
This month’s message is from Dr EMma Bowers.
Last time I introduced the Monthly Memo we were wandering into winter and watching the starling murmurations. Now we are springing into spring and surveying the cherry blossom.
Like all you first year trainees, I’ve been in post 6 months. My role is beginning to take root, so I am finding this is an ideal opportunity to do a personal reflection on how I think everything is going. It is very easy to get absorbed into your busy training schedules, but it is important to stand back and smell the roses, to ensure you have gained the underlying knowledge and not just gone through the motions. Your first year sows the seeds of understanding; the rest of your training will grow from it. Standing back and smelling the roses also gives you the chance to appreciate the spring and support your mental wellbeing.
You second year trainees have clearly been working hard. Lots of work has also gone on in the School prior to publishing the MRP outcomes. Further work is going to happen so that we can support those of you who are not yet in the position that we had hoped and you are able to catch up and be completely prepared for your final assessment in just over a year’s time.
You third years are probably reflecting how quickly your training has passed and how you are now budding healthcare scientists. You should be starting to think about writing your IACC. Hopefully you have embedded reflective practice into your training, so the writing style of the IACC shouldn’t be too alien. Nevertheless, we have arranged some reflective writing workshops at the end of this month with the aim of lessening the stress for those of you less familiar with reflective writing styles.
A quick appeal to Training Officers: in order to be able to support your trainees to the maximum through their final assessment, it is best if you fully understand the process and what better way to do that than to be a part of it? Have you thought about volunteering to be a final assessor? Even if this is not for you, please keep your training officer skills up to date by completing the expression of interest form within this memo.
At a risk of sounding like BBC Springwatch, may the coming season fill your days with training verdure!
Information for third year trainees
Guidance on IACC 2022
The final assessment for the Scientist Training Programme is designed to assess your readiness to practice which is defined by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as having the “skill, knowledge, character and health they need to practice their profession safely and effectively.”
The IACC assesses your readiness to practice as a newly qualified, threshold entry Clinical Scientist as defined by the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for a Clinical Scientist (2014).
In this assessment you will need to demonstrate your:
- Ability to work safely and effectively at the level of a newly qualified clinical scientist in your specialty.
- Ability to ensure appropriate standards and patient safety are maintained at all times.
- Recognition of the scope of your own competence and readiness to practise as an autonomous professional, and explaining how you will self-regulate to maintain professional standards including patient safety.
Guidance on STP completion 2022
In response to the challenges posed by the very variable disruption to training caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the School has liaised with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), Health Education England (HEE), trainees and training officers to ensure that completion pathways are attainable and that all trainees are treated fairly and not disadvantaged.
Information for second year trainees
Midterm Review of Progression (MRP) support meetings
Throughout April we are holding Midterm Review of Progression (MRP) support meetings.
The meetings are intended as a facilitative and supportive measure for both the trainee and training officer to review and discuss the issues in more detail, with the aim of supporting both parties to identifying remedial actions to improve progression.
Each meeting will usually result in an action plan being prepared with objectives set which the trainee, with the support of their training officer, will be responsible for meeting within the timescales outlined. Action plans will be reviewed to ensure that the necessary progress is being made.
We will facilitate the discussion, provide advice and guide the recommendations and production of the action plan by the trainee.
If you are planning for your MRP support meeting make sure you read our guidance.
Information for all trainees
Stress Awareness Month
Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 to raise awareness of the causes and cures for stress.
Stress is something everyone feels at times, and there are all kinds of stressful situations that can be a part of daily life.
There are plenty of things you can do to help cope with stressful events and simple steps you can take to deal with feelings of stress or burnout. Here are some top tips to deal with stress and burnout:
- Split up big tasks – if a task seems overwhelming and difficult to start, try breaking it down into easier chunks and give yourself credit for completing them.
- Allow yourself some positivity – take time to think about the good things in your life. Each day, consider what went well and try to list 3 things you’re thankful for.
- Challenge your thoughts – the way we think affects the way we feel.
- Be more active – being active can help you to burn off nervous energy. It will not make your stress disappear, but it can make it less intense.
- Talk to someone – talking to trusted friends, family and colleagues, or contacting a helpline, can help us when we are struggling.
- Plan ahead – when you have stressful days or events in front of you, planning ahead can really help. Making to-do lists, planning journeys, identifying things you need to take with you and emails you should send, before they all happen, can ease the pressure.
Stress Awareness Month
If you are seeking support during your training, it can be a confusing and overwhelming picture if you aren’t sure where to turn. Your main sources of support are:
- Freedom To Speak Up Guardians
- National School of Healthcare Science
- Commissioning organisations
- Online resources
If you are struggling to cope with excessive stress or experiencing symptoms such as headaches, sleep problems, irritability, or feeling overwhelmed, it is really important to speak to those around you at work or at home so that they can help to support you.
Changes in your training – please make sure the School is aware
It is important the School be made aware of any changes to your training which may impact on your ongoing progression, participation or completion of the programme. The School will co-ordinate with commissioning teams and universities to make sure all organisations involved in your training are aware of the latest position to ensure you receive appropriate advice and support so that your training programme can be managed effectively. This applies to all trainees in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Examples of circumstances in which you or your training officer must notify the School:
- Statutory leave – we will need to know the dates of intended leave (maternity, paternity, parental, adoption leave) and any flexible arrangements requested on return so that your programme and training plan can be reviewed and your revised completion timeline confirmed.
- Long-term sickness absence – any period of sickness over 6 weeks or more should be confirmed with the School or if there are multiple short-term absences that trigger local employer policies. It is an opportunity to seek advice about processes that can support your training, such as the Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances policy, and to seek support from the training support team in the School to discuss matters with you and your supervisor in more detail. Click here to find the Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances policy.
- Changes to your training officer/supervisor – this needs to be updated in OneFile but the School also needs to know for accreditation purposes and to ensure that we are communicating with the right people at the right time about your training. Click here to find the change notification form.
- Decision to leave the programme – it is important that you get in touch with the School if you are considering leaving the programme, particularly if this is as a result of issues with your training. Try to speak to us early to get advice and support so that you can determine if leaving is the right choice for you. We will always support your decision to leave but if we can help with any issues that are influencing that decision then we would like to know to see if we can resolve them with you.
- Transfer of training or early employment – there is a policy for this so please review and submit an application as soon as you receive the offer, or earlier if possible, so the School can review and confirm if your training can continue to be supported in your new department. Click here to find the transfer of training policy.
Any changes of the above nature should be communicated to firstname.lastname@example.org and the relevant team in the School will advise you.
Specialism promotional videos
To help understand the role and function of healthcare scientists working in the NHS we have several videos from STP trainees explaining what they do on a daily basis.
If you are able to help us build our collection of promotional videos by producing a short video for your specialism please get in touch with us by emailing email@example.com.
Information for training officers
Help us to rigorously assess and develop the next generation of Healthcare Scientists
We are delighted that increased funding by Health Education England has resulted in a significant rise in the recruitment of trainees to the Scientist Training Programme (STP) from 300 to an unprecedented 500 plus trainees.
As a result, we need to expand our pool of assessors for the STP final assessment.
We are committed to a diverse and inclusive approach to the recruitment to and assessment of the STP and would welcome applications from all appropriately qualified healthcare science specialties. We are particularly seeking assessors in the following specialties:
- Cardiac Science
- Clinical Bioinformatics – Genomics
- Clinical Measurement and Development
- Clinical Pharmaceutical Science
- Imaging (Non-Ionising Radiation)
- Medical Device and Risk Management
- Ophthalmic and Vision Sciences
- Radiation Safety Physics
- Reconstructive Science
- Reproductive Science – Andrology
- Vascular Science
Training is provided ahead of the first assessment, currently via two MS Teams meetings. We will also provide refresher training and ongoing support and guidance.
Train the Trainer events
Are you interested in attending a series of Train the Trainer events?
If you have recently added your details to our waiting list there is no need for you to register. Everyone from the waiting list will be invited to one of the sessions taking place.
Planning for the new curriculum: lunchtime learning sessions
To help for you plan for a new trainee starting in September 2022 we now have a number of recordings of recent half-hour lunchtime learning sessions on the website.
Each update focuses on an area which has changed in the new curriculum:
- the new curriculum and the accreditation process
- competencies and work-based assessments, followed by an open drop-in session
- core modules
These sessions will be supported by guidance on working with the curriculum and the accreditation process.
Planning for the new curriculum: drop-in sessions
We are hosting more drop-in sessions for anyone who will be involved in hosting a trainee on the new STP curriculum in September 2022. The drop-in sessions will be an open Q&A forum.
Our next sessions are:
- Wednesday 27th April 12:30pm to 1:30pm
- Thursday 26th May 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Missed a previous edition of the STP Monthly Memo?
We’ve published copies of the Monthly Memo for STP trainees and training officers on our website.