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Here to help: an evidence-based approach

Jocelyn Pryce, Head of Registration and Training at the IBMS, says keeping your portfolio pristine may not be the best way forward.

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Anyone who follows this column will know that I enjoy myth-busting whenever I can. During the first half of this year, I travelled extensively, being involved in a number of training days across the UK. I often hear comments that all IBMS training is London-centric, but this is not the case, albeit many of my earlier training sessions were closed and by invitation, rather than open to all.

More recently, whenever I have been invited to speak at a training event, I have requested that it is opened to interest from outside the group. This has meant that a greater number of people have been able to attend, we are able to encourage networking and some strong relationships have been built as a result. The focus of the training days has been to discuss what “good evidence” should look like and how to achieve it.

We receive a large number of emails asking what evidence would be suitable for particular standards and, although I try to describe what good evidence should look like, it is difficult to answer whether a specific piece of evidence would be suitable without actually seeing it.

To help with this, our aim is to empower the training teams to have the confidence to know what good evidence looks like and to ask themselves whether a certain piece fits the bill. At our sessions we talk about approaches to evidence, using examples as discussion points, and looking at how we could improve them. There is a fundamental approach to evidence gathering and that should be “does this piece of evidence meet the standard?” If the answer is “no” then it should not be used in its current form.

Many trainees prefer their portfolios to be pristine, without feedback, but the verifier is expecting to see evidence of the relationship between the trainee and the trainers. It is only by seeing this interaction within the evidence that the verifier is able to get a feel for the relationship that exists between the two and what type of experience the trainee has had. So, if your trainee pressurises you to allow them to produce a pristine version of their portfolio, please try to impress upon them the value of displaying their earlier works along with the feedback you have given them along the way.

Ideally, evidence should be produced by the trainee, with feedback by the trainer shown, and, where possible, work should show evidence that the trainer’s feedback has been taken on board and acted upon. This demonstrates far more than just what is on the page in front of the verifier, it shows that there is a relationship built on trust where the trainee is working with the trainer to progress; that the trainer has spent valuable time guiding the trainee and facilitating their development.

Although on the face of it the verifier is purely assessing the trainee, a large proportion of the verification is concerned with the verifier satisfying themselves that the whole period of training has been robust and meaningful.

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