Here are some ways of keeping the standards high.
- Review the quality of training in the department.
- You could use trainee feedback, peer review, and training outcomes. Take stock of all training schemes operating in the department, and any quality enhancements that can be made which benefit all. Perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. Best practice would be for an external peer to help you in the review.
- Your professional body may advise – several professional bodies have a regional tutor system.
- A good opportunity for conducting this review is when you are asked to complete annual monitoring by the School in order to maintain your approved accreditation status.
Maintain the quality of training skills among your staff
It is also good for a training department to ensure that any staff who may be involved in coaching, mentoring, or training have an opportunity to complete some generic training in this area themselves, through CPD in the organisation.
Consider establishing a teaching observation scheme among trainers (e.g., for case-based discussions). Critical reflection is key to professional practice. Be honest with a trainee when you are uncertain about a professional situation and articulate your thought process. What are you weighing up when you consider a difficult situation with a patient or colleague? If they see that you have to do this, trainees will be more comfortable about asking and discussing approaches to professional practice rather than seeing professional practice competencies as separate from technical competencies
Follow 'Good Scientific Practice'
The Academy for Healthcare Science document ‘Good Scientific Practice’ sets out the principles, values and the standards of behaviour and practice for the healthcare science workforce. These standards and values must be achieved and maintained in the delivery of work activities, the provision of care and personal conduct.
Mid-term review of progression (MRP)
The mid-term review process is facilitated by the School and serves as a check on a trainees’ progress with their learning and professional development.
The review is based on:
- a brief report from the training officer
- a self-assessment from the trainee
- a report from the HEI
This evidence is reviewed by a team of reviewers, who will reach a judgement about whether the evidence supports or does not support the trainee’s progression to Year 3 of the STP.
We would encourage the training officer and trainee to meet as part of the MRP process. At this meeting it is useful to arrange for the result of the MSF to be discussed and overall progress of both the academic and work-based elements of the programme.
Keep in touch during the rotation phase
The training officer should seek to maintain frequent and meaningful contact with the trainee. There should be informal contact as and when circumstances dictate; but you should also timetable a formal structure for giving and receiving feedback. The essential references for these feedback sessions are the training plan and the record of their progress in OneFile.
It is good practice to invite the trainers involved in training at the other sites during the rotation phase to join part of the meeting/call. It would also be a good idea to take an extra few minutes with them in private after the trainee has left the meeting/call to give them an opportunity for confidential feedback. The most important thing to record from any of these calls is recognised training needs (which may be identified by any of the parties). Any training needs noted should be included in an action plan with implementation dates. Similarly, any complaints or issues raised by the trainee should be considered carefully and a record kept of any action taken.
Set a small number of ‘SMART’ (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-based) objectives for the next quarter. These may simply be identifying competencies to tackle next in sequence or may include additional objectives identifying personal and professional development needs
Flexibility will be needed, but it might be useful to discuss with the rotation provider some key objectives for the rotation period. The objectives would then be noted and reviewed at the next meeting/call. The timetable of reviews does not need to be unduly regimented. You should do what makes most sense in the context of the training and be prepared to adapt the schedule as required.
Ensure the research project is appropriate
The trainee will be undertaking a master’s level research project in the workplace. It is principally the HEI’s responsibility to approve the project topic, following proposals from the trainee; however, if well chosen, a master’s level research project can create great value for the department as well as for the trainee. The trainee should be encouraged to engage with a range of stakeholders in evaluating suggested topics.
The research project will be based in the department and as such, the sponsor is often the trust and not the university, it is the trust that can ensure correct research governance is followed.
Source a work-based supervisor for the research project
The HEI will provide an academic project supervisor however the majority of the project supervision will occur in the workplace, so it is vital that an appropriate work-based project supervisor is identified and has an appropriate level of knowledge and experience to supervise a postgraduate project. The HEI should provide some guidance. The project supervisor does not necessarily have to be in your department. The research project will take place in the second and third years of training, but a project supervisor should be identified early, and you will need to ensure they know their responsibilities and take on the role willingly. The trainee will need to ensure that all the necessary approvals and ethical clearances can be gained.
Delegate where effective
It is generally good practice for a trainee to experience a range of training styles and hear a diversity of views. It might be worth considering whether particular parts of the training can be delegated to others within your department, with the training officer retaining oversight. This can be beneficial both for the trainee, and for the delegated trainer (as personal and professional development).