As part of the IACC session in our recent Spring Event, we were kindly joined by Professor Berne Ferry (Head of NSHCS, Dean for Healthcare Science) and Carol Higgison (Head of Assessment NSHCS), who helped to answer some of the questions put forward by attendees.
7th Mar 2022
Q: What should the timescale be for completing the IACC? When should we be starting this?
A reminder that the IACC is 3500 words narrative and 45 min interview. Deadline for the narrative is 16th June. It is strongly recommended not to leave this to the last minute and to try and work on getting your competencies signed off and drafting the sections of your critical reflective narrative to identify what additional evidence you may need.
Q: What are some major changes to the IACC & panel interview this year compared to last year?
Guidance is similar to last year, but trainees should use the most recent 2021 version of the Academy of Healthcare Science the Good Scientific Practice (GSP) https://www.ahcs.ac.uk/standards/. The interview will potentially include one or two scenario-based questions.
Q: For current Year 1s and Year 2s, will future completion likely revert back to an OSFA style assessment?
There is currently no plan to revert back to the OSFA style assessment. The IACC assessment is still new and so will continue to be improved between years.
Q: How do you recommend we prepare for the panel interview? Will it be based on our knowledge of the subject?
The panel interview will be assessing your readiness to practice and will include some scenario-based questions that will cover or more GSP domains, professional practice, and core modules. Ensure you are clearly identifying which GSP competencies are important for your role. You should still be targeting 100% completion of your portfolio for the IACC, but you can also explain how COVID has impacted your learning. It will be recognised that the IACC interview takes place 3 months before the deadline to fully complete your OneFile portfolio.
Q: What depth of reflection is expected within the IACC – do we need to say how our experiences made us feel and what we learnt?
Reflection is designed to help us process our emotions and learnings. The reflection in the narrative will be about reflecting on experiences, and focused on what you have learned and how you translate that into current practice E.g. Did this give you insight into how to approach a new scenario?
Q: Should we aim to cover every single bullet point within the good scientific practice guide?
The narrative should be a higher level synthesis and summary of your experience, rather than trying to cover every single bullet point. You need to create a narrative of your achievements, development and learning.
Q: Do we need to be reflective in our competencies or just in the narrative?
Yes, if you are already being reflective in OneFile competencies this will be useful for the narrative. If you feel the level of reflection in your portfolio is currently lacking, it may be worthwhile revisiting these competencies.
Q: Do we need to try and cover as many of the Good scientific practice points as possible or a few but in greater depth?
This would be more of an individual choice and trainees should discuss this with their supervisor.
Q: Why haven’t we had any official communication from the national school about the IACC?
There has already been communication about the dates of submission and interviews currently published on the NSHCS website. Monthly updates will be included in the STP Monthly memo from March 2022. Trainees can also contact the official assessment email NSHCS.firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Q: Are there examples of good reflective narratives we can have access to?
Since the narratives are on a ‘pass/fail’ criteria, not easy to say which was particularly ‘good’. The NSHCS do want to share examples of some previous narratives and are currently looking into getting permission from authors of these examples.
Q: Will the scenario situations ever be with patient actors?
No this will not happen with the IACC.
Q: For specialisms where you can do the competencies in a range of departments how do you ensure our assessor is from a relevant area?
Q: How does the school decide who your panel interviewers should be?
Interviewer panel will be experts in your specialty but will not be your own training officer. This year there will be a drive to broaden recruitment to a wider panel. While it is recognised that different specialisms will have different requirements and priorities, there will still be an aim to standardise the equivalence of questions asked in the panel.
Q: Will there be any webinars or additional information about the IAAC from the school?
Look out for the STP monthly memo for additional information webinars and support sessions coming up. The March memo is due to provide more information. https://nshcs.hee.nhs.uk/about/nshcs-newsletter/stp-monthly-memo/
Summary by Katie Cheswick, Charlotte Jones and Linda Shi, posted with permission from Berne & Carol. Q&A session facilitated by Gabriel Santos & Linda Shi.