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Here to help: Virtual verification

IBMS Deputy Head of Education Jocelyn Pryce explains the new verification process and the impact that it had in just a few weeks.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen major changes in all our lives. We had, for some time, been considering the suitability of the verification and examination processes. Then the situation that began to emerge a few months ago challenged us to look for alternatives.  

While historically the laboratory visits were an integral part of the assessment process, we have been struggling to find volunteers to keep abreast of the numbers of assessments required. Our pools of verifiers and examiners have been finding it increasingly difficult to find time away from the laboratory to undertake the assessments and despite their willingness to help others progress in the profession, they have had to refrain from stepping up and volunteering.

The result of this was two-fold; slower turnaround time in identifying verifiers or examiners to undertake assessments and those who were still able to undertake them being overloaded with requests. In the middle of March, and in response to the Government advice regarding travel, we informally suggested that trainers considered virtual assessments and early feedback was very positive. So, a week later we rolled out our new process of virtual verifications. The changes to the process itself are minimal. At the end of March we put a call out for verifiers to help us to put as many trainee biomedical scientists on the HCPC register as possible by undertaking verifications.

The move to virtual verifications made the verification process attractive to many more verifiers who had previously been unable to help us. By the end of the week we had allocated every single verification on our books at that time. We also had many verifiers volunteer and, as the geographical limitations no longer applied, we were able to allocate incoming requests to them. This was, to my knowledge, a first for the IBMS – we had never been in a position where we were facilitating assessments as fast as the requests were coming in. The results of this are that these candidates were able to apply for registration far more quickly than previously.

The main differences in the processes are that the portfolio is now reviewed beforehand and the tour is undertaken remotely. In the early stages of implementation of this new process, we recognise that most portfolios will be in hard copy, so we are suggesting that the hard copy is either scanned in, or the candidates can use a template into which the evidence can be uploaded. The only real stipulation we have is that the portfolio is easy to navigate and that, 
for evidence, the justification and its relationship to the standards is clear.  

We have produced several guidance documents and portfolio templates, so please contact [email protected] for further information.

So far, feedback on how well these new processes are working has been very positive. We will continue to collect and collate it and feed this forward in the reviews, which will take place further down the line. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support.   

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Picture Credit | iStock

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