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Science Council CPD review

Christian Burt, Professional Support Services Manager at the IBMS, looks at an opportunity for members to demonstrate their excellence.

You have been selected for the annual Chartered Scientist CPD review.” Does this sentence instil a sense of the foreboding? Or can it provide the platform to demonstrate the outstanding service provided by biomedical scientists?  

I strongly believe the latter, with registrants who are chartered with the IBMS consistently commended for their CPD submissions at the Science Council annual CPD Awards.

Here to support you

It is my responsibility to ensure the IBMS continues to meet its licence requirements with the Science Council. As such, the IBMS randomly selects 2.5% of its Chartered Scientists for a review of their CPD activities. The initial paragraph of my email to selected registrants clearly states there is no need to panic and that the IBMS will help you as much as possible to be successful in your CPD review.

We grant a three-month period for a CPD review return and attach detailed guidelines for what is expected together with the review form.

A fully redacted model example is also sent to offer guidance in terms of layout and concision. Recent articles and documents relating to reflection are also provided. The IBMS office is committed to the provision of first-class support for members and I am always happy to offer guidance and advice.

The review form to be returned contains six sections:   

  • Current professional profile     
  • CPD that is relevant to current and future practice     
  • Contribution to the quality of your professional practice and service delivery     
  • How your CPD has benefited the users     
  • Future planning     
  • Summary of CPD activity.  

Do registrants initially struggle with any of the sections? In my experience, it is: “Contribution to the quality of your professional practice and service delivery” and “How your CPD has benefited the users of your work”. These sections are often where I will request a registrant expand on their initial submission.

I am always thankful that registrants act upon advice to improve a submission and, in the vast majority of cases, feel supported throughout the process.

“You must describe how the activity has improved yourself, users and the service”

A key message for these sections is to not just state what you have done; you must describe how the activity has improved yourself, users and the service.

In other words, it is vital to not only detail the activity undertaken, but also to reflect and detail the practical outcomes.

Section 2 has five sub-sections:     

  • Work-based learning     
  • Professional activity     
  • Formal/educational     
  • Self-directed learning     
  • Other (i.e. voluntary work).

A registrant at Chartered Scientist award level will be expected to undertake activities across at least three (exceptionally two) of these sub-sections.

For IBMS registrants, this aligns with the IBMS CPD online scheme portfolio and underlines the importance of regular recording of activities undertaken.

Plan for the future

Clearly defined future planning of CPD activity is essential. During the year, you should be identifying (therefore, recording) positive and negative learning points. Use these to coordinate the next 12 months (and beyond) and any specific examples of activities to be undertaken would be well received.

The IBMS learns from you

Our team of trained assessors not only assess that the CPD standards are met, they can also identify examples of self and service improvements, best practice and CPD activities that would benefit dissemination to the wider biomedical science community.

Post-CPD review, registrants are often asked to consider the submission of an article for the Biomedical Scientist, give further details on a course that may benefit others, or expand on research and innovation to present at a local or national level.

Those submitting particularly high-level submissions are often asked to consider joining the team of CPD review assessors; an ideal way to recruit volunteers is from those who have already gone through the process.

Chartered Scientist award

If you have yet to make an application at Chartered award level, I’ll be more than happy to open up an email conversation. If you can briefly describe your current role and qualifications, that would be really helpful for me to signpost to the appropriate Science Council registration award. As a general rule of thumb, a biomedical scientist will be working at Band 7 level (or equivalent in a non-NHS environment) in order to successfully demonstrate the Chartered competences.  

Feedback from registrants

How did you feel when called for CPD review?

“Slightly surprised, it was unexpected. I can’t say I was recording my CPD as rigorously as I would have liked to have been! However, we have had UKAS accreditation for our POCT department for a number of years now and this has forced me down the route of being more mindful about how I choose to spend my time and at least keeping some records. As a result, I can usually put something together in a more presentable form if needed.” Nicky Hollowood CSci FIBMS, POCT Manager

Were you already recording CPD and confident in completing?

“I really appreciated the support, as I felt I had someone to ask for advice in case I encountered any problems. It was also reassuring to know that Christian would check my first submission on a pre-assessment basis, if needed. I appreciated the outcome report, as I received feedback on my CPD review rather than just notification of acceptance.” Vesna Broom BSc MSc CSci FIBMS, Advanced Specialist Biomedical Scientist

“I don’t really consider the activities that I submitted as CPD – they are just part of my role as a POCT manager. These are things I would be doing and attending whether CPD was a requirement in my profession or not. I think POCT is such a rapidly growing and evolving discipline that there is always something new to learn and more personal growth to be achieved. I am the sort of person who is keen to know more about new ways 
of working so I naturally gravitate towards these opportunities to learn and develop when they arise.” Nicky Hollowood CSci FIBMS, POCT Manager

How did you feel about the support during the process and the outcome report?

“The support I received was great. I wasn’t sure how much detail was required and the initial feedback by the IBMS was very quick and extremely helpful. Completing the forms was not difficult, the IBMS is always very approachable and helpful.” Angela Richard-Londt MSc, CSci, MIBMS, Head Biomedical Scientist, Neuropathology

Would you encourage others to make a CSci application?

“I think the CSci award brings credibility to any role in science. Any award or qualification that backs up experience and knowledge will add credibility to our profession and as the term chartered is universally accepted and used in other professional areas (including surveyance, accountancy, engineering) it is more meaningful outside the science profession.” Nicky Hollowood CSci FIBMS, POCT Manager

“Yes, definitely. The process can initially feel a bit daunting, but there is a lot of guidance and help available and it is definitely worth doing.” Angela Richard-Londt MSc, CSci, MIBMS Head Biomedical Scientist, Neuropathology

Christian Burt is Professional Support Services Manager at the IBMS and a member of the Science Council CPD Learning Group. [email protected]

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