What makes good competency evidence?

Last Updated: 16th July 2021

Completing competencies is important for all trainees to be successful on the programme. Here you will find out what makes good competency evidence.

Key characteristics of good competency evidence

Evidence should show how the trainee undertook and understood the activity. Assessing the trainee’s evidence is assessing the trainee’s ability to do the job properly. Evidence should show the trainee’s ability to apply knowledge, skills and experience over time to demonstrate competency. Evidence should:

  • be clear, concise and relevant to the specific competency or learning outcome
  • contain critical reflection on the tasks and processes involved, on what the trainee has learned and done and what they could do differently next time to improve their practice
  • demonstrate practically that the competence has been achieved. Competency evidence is not an essay. It should indicate, via the appropriate media and content, what the trainee has done, how they have made progress and any feedback received from colleagues or patients on their competence.
  • where possible, always consider the implications for the patient of the competency or practice involved
  • show that the trainee is an evidence-based practitioner and that they can apply academic learning, frameworks and best practice guidance in a clinical context
  • wherever possible, consider the patient’s perspective. Consider opportunities to involve patients in your trainee’s training.
  • ideally, be able to identify how the trainee’s evidence applies to national framework e.g. HCPC Standards of Proficiency and the Academy’s Good Scientific Practice

Watch this video on what to look for in good competency evidence and how to achieve good evidence.

In this short video, Jane Lynch (STP Training Programme Director), Sarah Clinton (Training Manager) and Kade Flowers (Clinical Biochemistry Graduate) discuss what makes good competency evidence and the best way to achieve it.

Levels of evidence

As a training officer, your professional judgement is key when assessing competency. To help you assess the level of detail required over the duration of the programme, these four levels are an indicative tool you can use and apply. They are for guidance purposes only and not to be used as an assessment criteria.

  • Level 1 – Awareness
    • The trainee has an introductory level of knowledge and understanding of the application of the process/procedure associated with the competency.
  • Level 2 – Performance
    • The trainee can repeatedly perform the process/procedure with increasing confidence whilst still under supervision. The trainee demonstrates a greater knowledge and understanding of the task and can identify situations when they should be applied or are relevant.
  • Level 3 – Proficient
    • The trainee will be able to successfully perform the task without direct supervision.
  • Level 4 – Competent
    • The trainee is fully competent, able to perform the task independently and only refers when necessary.

Do’s and don’ts of good evidence

Here are some useful suggestions on what to do and not do, when producing good competency evidence.

Do:

  • give evidence of real-world practice, for example with feedback and observations from colleagues
  • include patient feedback or the patient’s perspective wherever possible
  • repeat a task over time e.g. capture reflections on and direct observations of a task being completed multiple times to indicate progression and to ensure that the task is embedded in your practice.  This will create a trail of reflections and actions each time.
  • apply academic learning in a clinical context e.g. linking evidence of practice to literature, frameworks and best practice
  • provide more than one explanation in cases of differential diagnosis

Don’t:

  • write a 10,000- word essay as evidence
  • produce an extensive piece of written work as evidence unless that is the practice that is required in the workplace for a specific competency
  • upload policy or standards documents without good reason. If they are supplied as part of your evidence, there should be a clear indication of their relevance or of reflection upon them.
  • just list or summarise your knowledge; show how it can be applied in the clinical context
  • breach patient confidentiality, especially when using videos, photographs or case histories

Different format types as evidence of competency

The following items can be used as a type of evidence of competency:

  • presentations
  • witness statements
  • reports
  • podcasts
  • photographs
  • videos
  • case studies and real-life scenarios, case-based discussions
  • observations
  • summaries of discussions and reflective accounts
  • quality/health and safety incidents
  • observations of practical tasks
  • observations of patient interactions
  • feedback and surveys
  • involvement with patients
  • attendance at training events and conferences
  • attendance at meetings with minutes showing contribution from trainee
  • work as a STEM ambassador