Changes to the Scientist Training Programme introduced through curriculum review

Last Updated: 26th January 2021

A number of changes to the curriculum have been introduced through the STP Curriculum Content Review project.

The aim of the review

The work of the project aimed to introduce changes recommended by the STP Improvement Review, completed in May 2018, and ensure consistency across programmes.

As the new curriculum are introduced and embedded, further guidance will be provided to Trainees and Training Centres.

A summary of changes made

1. We have introduced a new model for rotation modules

The STP Improvement Review Recommendation: Rotations should be reviewed with a view to ensuring they have educational value, are deliverable, and flexible. This has several elements, with a need to review rotation content, choice, organisation, duration and assessment.

Feedback from the STP Improvement Review indicated that the experience of a different specialty gained through rotations was valuable for trainees in developing interprofessional working relationships and promoting multidisciplinary team working. More guidance will be provided as this new model is introduced into the programme.

Following this feedback and the recommendations, the rotation module has been reworked with an experiential focus:

  • Trainees will gain an overview of the working practices of the rotation specialty and an appreciation of the contribution of the specialty to the patient pathway.
  • The rotation will serve as an introduction, including to a trainee’s own specialty, allowing them to develop context on their future practice in their own and relevant specialties in the early stages of their training.
  • Trainees will be encouraged to reflect on their experience and begin to develop the interprofessional and multidisciplinary relationships which were highlighted as a valuable part of the rotation module.
  • Rotation modules retain their academic content which introduces trainees to the theory behind the practice they will observe, supporting their future academic learning in their own specialty.
  • Through Curriculum Review, the specialty Curriculum Review Groups have been asked to consider which specialties are most useful for trainees experience to ensure the rotation modules are relevant and complimentary to practice.
  • As for current rotations, the minimum duration of rotation will be 4 weeks with a maximum of 12 weeks. Once the rotation modules have been completed, trainees would be strongly encouraged to begin working towards specialist phase modules with any time remaining in the first year of the programme.

2. We have reviewed specialist competencies

The STP Improvement Review Recommendation: Specialist competencies should be reviewed and rewritten, or reconceptualised, as required, to ensure they reflect current scientific practice and are clear to trainees and training officers.

Through Curriculum Review all STP curriculum content has been considered. Curriculum Review Groups were asked to consider the question ‘what should a Clinical Scientist be able to do on day one on the job?’ The Review Group then developed work based and academic curriculum content based on the essential skills and knowledge required by a threshold Clinical Scientist at the start of their career.

Within this, the Review Groups focused on ensuring the content was fit for current and future practice, allowing the curriculum to evolve with developments. The accessibility of training experiences required for this essential skills set was carefully considered to ensure trainees were equipped with the skills they require while enabling the majority of Training Centres and Training Consortia to provide all elements of training ‘in house’. Some Training Centres may require outside support where more specialist skills have been deemed essential.

Competencies have been developed according to these principles with competency considerations providing further guidance on the areas to think about when approaching the competency.

Clinical Experiences are also stipulated by the curriculum and have been reconsidered to support the development of skills through competencies, providing context and greater appreciation of the application of the specialty beyond the trainees essential skill set.

3. We have reviewed workplace and academic learning

The STP Improvement Review Recommendation: There is a need to identify ways of improving the coordination of academic and workplace learning.

Curriculum Review Groups included both practising Healthcare Scientists, Academics involved in the delivery of the curriculum and other stakeholders in the specialty. Both the workplace and academic content were considered through Curriculum Review to ensure the integrated nature of the STP is retained with knowledge gained undertaking the MSc supporting clinical practice in the workplace. Modules have been aligned across both elements of the programme to maximise the integration between workplace and academic learning as far as practicable.