Frequently Asked Questions - Curricular

You should not include any information that could be used to identify a specific patient. This includes (but is not limited to): Patient name, Date of Birth, Hospital/Clinic Identification Number, NHS Number, Address, Phone Number. If you have any doubt whether or not a piece of data should be redacted from your evidence, please consult your local Caldicott Guardian.

Please note, any assessment/competency that includes patient-identifiable information that has been assessed, will require resetting to Draft mode, the information struck out of the evidence, and the assessment/competency re-assesses/re-reviewed.

There is no fixed number of times the trainee can attempt an assessment or a competency but training officers and assessors should use their professional judgement when considering whether the trainee has performed to the necessary level. This judgement should take into account the point at which the assessment is taking place in the training programme i.e., expectations for a trainee in their first year of STP training would be different to a trainee in their third year of HSST training. If a trainee is deemed to be unsatisfactory for the stage of the training or presents a likely clinical risk, then the assessment can be repeated but only after the trainee has received the necessary additional training to support them in another attempt. The number of times this process should be repeated would depend on the nature of the particular assessment or competency being undertaken and the perceived gaps in the trainee’s skills, knowledge or understanding.

If it is felt that the trainee is unable to complete the assessment or competency satisfactorily despite a number of attempts, the relevant Professional Lead from the National School should be contacted to discuss the situation and agree a way forward.

You should immediately contact the National School of Healthcare Science at who will look into this for you.

Minor changes such as grammatical errors will be corrected but any changes to curricula will not take place until the curricula is reviewed.

To evidence competencies trainees must be able to provide examples of how the knowledge or skill has been applied in a practical setting. The list below provides some examples, but trainees are expected to utilise a variety of different tools, resources and media within the local department to demonstrate evidence of each competency:

• Be aware of relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS) and adheres to them
• Provide advice – verbal, written or by telephone to a response or query
• Management of referrals in an appropriate manner i.e., brought to the attention of an appropriate member of staff
• Management of samples and use of local systems to record
• Direct assessment and account of reviewer
• Discussion between trainee and trainer
• Accurate management of patient data and sample information
• Peer observation
• Abstracts from relevant reports/journals.

Trainees should work with their reviewer to ensure that the evidence provided is effective and appropriate. Trainees should try to avoid providing significant amounts of material to evidence each competency and should rationalise or summarise the information where possible.

You do not have write lots and should speak to your Training Officer about potential evidence if you are unsure.

Examples of evidence for competencies are available on this page of the NSHCS website.

There are short films and user guides on the home page of the online system, which explain the purpose and how to undertake the different types of assessment. You should also discuss this with your training officer who will have been trained in this form of assessment by attending Train the Trainer programmes. There are also user guides on the system which show you the functions on each page and how to complete a particular kind of assessment online.

For STP Trainees, MSFs are most often used after 18 months of commencement, and then again within six months towards the end of the training. Trainees from 2014 onwards are required to undertake a minimum of 2 MSF assessments in order to complete their training. Earlier cohorts of trainees are advised to do at least two of this type of assessment to benefit their professional development.

For those on the HSST path, the MSF process is the same, however the frequency will be confirmed when the HSST handbook is distributed.

The timing of undertaking an OCE, and the context of that assessment, should be discussed thoroughly with your training officer or assessor. There is a list of OCE assessments within the system to choose from and your choice will depend on local availability and circumstances. When undertaking an OCE you should always respect the needs and wishes of the patient and ensure they are aware you are a trainee who is undergoing an assessment.

Trainees on the STP must complete a minimum of 28 assessments across the 3 years of training.

For the first year of the STP a total of 8 assessments must be completed: a minimum of one CBD for each module, plus a DOPS or OCE.

The number of assessments required for each module in the specialist years varies for each specialism (due to variability in number of modules in years 2 & 3 across specialisms) but should equal a total of 20 overall with a minimum of 50% being CBDs.

This information is detailed in the Learning Guide and is also available under the useful documents panel of the home page:
STP Number of Assessments 2012 and 2013 trainees.pdf
STP Number of Assessments 2014 trainees onwards.pdf

The assessment progress bar is automatically populated to show how far you are in undertaking your assessments.

Trainee rate of completion will be assessed against these minimum numbers and the School will monitor progress through the programme.

Trainees on the STP must achieve a satisfactory outcome for the minimum number and type of assessments specified and must complete all competencies for the programme with a satisfactory outcome in order to have completed their account on the OLAT.

Trainees can do more than the minimum number of assessments should this be of benefit and appropriate to their training.

Trainees using the OLAT for other programmes such as HSST should refer to the agreed strategy and local requirements for number of assessments and competencies required.

For STP there are four rotational modules that are fixed for each specialism. In two specialisms it is possible to select the rotations from a list. These are Genetics and CVRS (Urodynamics, GI and cardiac).

For HSST stage 2 modules this function can be used to select the appropriate modules for your training.

You do have to select a specialism in order to register on the system. It is important to discuss this with your Training Officer, however it is very easy, under the ”Preferences” tab, then ”Training” tab on the system, to change your specialism at the end of the rotational period, if needed.

Trainees in these specialisms only can change their preferences at any time within their first year provided no assessments or competencies have been generated for the specialist training in years 2 and 3. Trainees should refer to the preferences/training tab in their account and use the drop down list for specialism to update their accounts.

If assessments or competencies from years 2 & 3 modules have been generated then the specialism can only be changed by the helpdesk. Trainees wishing to do this must first get their training officer to email the School to confirm the request who will then authorise the change with the helpdesk.

Trainees who change their specialism should notify the NSHCS of this change via email to as OLAT does not link directly to the School’s information database.

This means there is still some work to be undertaken and you should be clear with the reviewer exactly what is required and that you have an action plan to ensure you are able to complete the competency. It may be that you need to develop further skills or simply that you need to upload some additional evidence. You will only know what is required once you have discussed it with your reviewer. The reviewer should have been provided with guidance about their part in the feedback and what their role is.

When a competency is returned as incomplete or unsatisfactory this indicates that you need to provide further or different evidence. In order to edit the competency again you should change the status of the competency back to ‘draft’.

You should not ‘accept’ the competency outcome at this stage as this will render the competency un-editable and you will have to contact the help desk for them to release it again for editing.

The reflective log is intended to record your thoughts on your learning at various points. It will be particularly useful for the elective period and for clinical experiential learning.

Reflection is an important part of learning. The aim is to promote the development of autonomous and self-directed professionals, stimulating personal and professional growth and closing the gap between theory and practice.

There is a separate module for you to complete competencies related to your elective.

The reflective log is not a structured assessment but it is a helpful tool that enables you to demonstrate and record clinical experiences that have been carried out. Reflecting on practice and learning from experience are an essential part of learning and assessment and so trainees are encouraged to use the reflective log where this is helpful to their training.

Trainees are not required to complete and submit a form to the NSHCS for their elective. This is an inaccuracy in the learning guide which will be rectified at the next curricula review.

Trainees should make sure that they complete the 3 competencies required for the elective on their OLAT.