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Here to help: Training programme spreadsheet

Deputy Head of Education at the IBMS, Jocelyn Pryce, advises on the completion of the revised training laboratory re-approval process.

Many of you will have been through the revised training laboratory re-approval process since its adoption around 18 months ago. The feedback has been excellent, with trainers reporting that it is much easier than preparing the large volumes of documentation, as was the case previously.

The rationale behind our training programme spreadsheet is that we can now quickly see how a training team anticipates the standards will be covered and, in cases where the information is complete, it has allowed us to reduce our turnaround time.

It is our aim to hold comprehensive training programmes for every training route undertaken in all of our approved laboratories. Although we have been successful in capturing a large majority 
of them, we are still finding that some laboratories provide training programmes within their laboratory that have not been captured within their spreadsheet. Ideally, there should be a separate sheet provided by the laboratory for each programme.

One area that laboratories often forget about is the training programmes that they provide for university placement students. If they follow the same programme as your in-house trainees, there is no reason to supply further information. If they follow a different path, for example a shorter exposure period to a test or bench, then we would expect to see a spreadsheet reflecting this.

Many of our placement students undertake parts of the portfolio in university and some with the placement host laboratory. It should be clear on the spreadsheet where each part is expected to be covered. The training programme outlined in the spreadsheet is purely indicative, but serves to demonstrate how a trainee might move around a laboratory collecting evidence. Aside from being a valuable tool in allowing us to meet the HCPC standards of education and training, it can also be given to the trainee at the point of induction, so they know what to expect of their time in the laboratory and can be a point of reference if they are not proceeding with the portfolio as fast as a trainer might expect.

One of the issues that delays assessment of training approval is the use of generic terms in the “laboratory section” column. We often see “all laboratory areas” or “all sections”; essentially, what this translates to is “somewhere, at some point over the training period our trainee will do this”. This is not detailed enough. We need reassurance that the candidate is in safe hands and they are being guided throughout their training programme.

We recognised, during the development of this process, that one size does not fit all and since inception I have been working closely with laboratories that have difficulties in defining the “laboratory section” information. Often it requires them, instead of considering actual laboratory sections, to think in terms of benches or tasks. Most trainees undertake some form of rotation around a laboratory and rarely do the same task for the duration of their training period. The key to success when filling this out is to break down the tasks and reflect that rotation in the spreadsheet.

We will now be reviewing the guidance we provide and creating an exemplar spreadsheet with prompts for how you might approach the completion.  

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Image credit | Shutterstock

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