Supporting your HSST trainee

It is important that you support your HSST trainee throughout their training.


How do I support my trainee?

As a workplace supervisor, get to know your trainee so you can read the signs of when something is not right. If you feel your trainee is not coping or may be in difficulty, have an initial chat with them to find out if you can do anything specific or additional to help or support the trainee. However, you should not feel you are solely responsible for your trainee’s wellbeing. You can contact the School for support and advice.

Additionally, using guidance and help from your HR department, you may wish to signpost your trainee to additional sources of support available via your Trust, such as occupational health support or short courses.

Where relevant you might advise your trainee to talk to the National School or to their University. Both are there to help and give advice to trainees.


How do I look after my own mental health and wellbeing?

It is also important to look after your own mental health and wellbeing by using the support available to you from within your department and Trust. Ensure you are given adequate resources and time to support training. For making it a smooth experience for yourself and the trainee, it would be worthwhile to think:

  • Before the trainee starts: do we have the right level of support for trainees?
  • During the training: ask for feedback from trainees and support staff about how support could be improved.
  • After the training: reflect on what went well, what could you do differently next time?

It is an intensive programme for both trainee and the workplace supervisor, reflect on how supporting trainees can impact on your health, you should always ask for help when you need it.


How can you support trainees to reflect on feedback?

It is important to provide opportunities for trainees to think things through for themselves and reflect on their learning. To support trainees to reflect on valuable feedback, workplace supervisors could:

  • use minutes of one-to-one review meetings and the training plan as evidence of ongoing feedback and progress
  • promote motivation and engagement for trainees in appropriate learning activities
  • question trainees about working through an error. For example: How might it be caused or discovered? What should be done when it is discovered? How should it be reported? How might this affect the patient?

Feedback can have a powerful influence on a trainee’s performance. Feedback can trigger further development and improvement when done in a positive and constructive way. Below are some suggestions to consider when delivering feedback.

  • Find a quiet and private space, make it a two-way conversation, pitch, tone and non-verbal ques are important to create a good learning environment.
  • Focus specifically on the behaviour and the performance rather than the person, base feedback on observed facts and specifics.
  • Don’t email negative feedback or wait for an appraisal meeting. Tackle issues as soon as possible, make feedback a normal routine process so the trainee does not find it unusual.
  • Listen before you speak. There might be something that you are not aware of.

What is the purpose of the Annual Review of Progression (ARP)?

The School uses an Annual Review of Progression to consolidate the evidence each trainee collects to demonstrate their competence to progress. The ARP maps to the Academy’s Higher Specialist Scientists Standards of Proficiency.

The review opens in Autumn each year to reflect on the previous stage of training. Supervisors have 4 weeks to submit their evaluation of trainee/s progress on programme. Trainees must also submit a self-evaluation of their progress.

The purpose of the review is to:

  • ensure that each trainee receives an independent evaluation of their progression
  • identify any concerns/issues/barriers that need to be addressed to help with their progression
  • provide a formal opportunity for trainees and their workplace supervisors to evaluate, and indicate to the School, trainees’ progress on the programme as appropriate to their stage of training
  • give confidence to trainees, workplace supervisors and commissioners that their training is being monitored, and that support and advice is being offered as appropriate

Further resources

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