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Transcript for Clinical Research Practitioner Webinar 3


Transcript for Clinical Research Practitioner (CRP) Webinar 3

Kirsty Gladas:

Hello and welcome to everyone who's joining us.So we are week three of our Clinical Research Practitioner webinar series. So, welcome.

This session builds upon the line manager's perspective and what they'll need to do. And options for the future in terms of progression for future CRP's.

We welcome today our three guests, we have Marie, Rachel and Kirsty joining us. There's two Kirsty’s on this call. I'm Kirsty Gladas, I am the Senior Research Nurse Manager for the CRN Clinical Delivery Team.

We have a number of helpers in the background as well, so thank you very much to them for today.

So without further ado, we'll get started with Rachel.

If you can go to the next slide for me please? Thank you. 

So we'll have Rachel that will start up, then we will move on to Marie Nelson and then we'll finish up with Kirsty Rogers, Education and Training Manager for the CRN Wessex who is newly in post, so you’ll all get to meet her which is lovely.

And then at the end we'll have some time for some questions and answers. So just to say you are all muted, we can only answer your questions through the Q&A function at the bottom of your screen. 

The raise hand option is also not available, so the only way to communicate with us is through that Q&A box for questions and we'll go through those at the end. Thank you all very much and over to you, Rachel.

Rachel Schranz:

Good morning everyone. Thanks Kirsty for the introduction,

So from my perspective as a confirmer, I work quite closely with Matt Morris who is a CTA in the ED and Trauma team. 

So I've worked with Matt for about 2-3 years. We've had regular discussions and we had identified in his appraisal his professional development, we knew that he wanted to develop but we were struggling to find ways for him to do that.

He's got significant experience in research and along with the research studies Matt supports, he's supported workforce planning and he's a huge support for IT as well.

Matt had applied to the CRP directory back in 2021, I knew that. And from my perspective, there was a confusion between  what the directory was, what the Clinical Research Practitioner Registry was and what the role is.

The term Practitioner seems to be used quite widely across research as an umbrella term for a job role or a position. So, it had caused me quite a bit of confusion.

Where did I go for guidance? Matt's provided me.

Next slide please, thank you.

Matt provided me with guidance to the Academy for Healthcare Science website. There's a huge amount of content on there that I had a thorough look at, it's clearly explained what a Clinical Research Practitioner is, what the registry is. Explains what the directory is.

I know it includes benefits and how to apply and who can apply, it gave me a lot of the accredited versions of the resources. What it  is, how to apply, who can apply. Guidance, resources for the applicants and, significantly, guidance for me, the confirmer. There were details about the Scope of Practice for the registry and Standards of Proficiency. Kirsty's going to share some templates with you in her slides later on.

Next slide please.

The role of the confirmer. So my role was to have reflective discussions with Matt and we would complete a documented conversation to confirm his application at a later date.

Slide three please.

Guidance for managers. So supporting Matt's application, having reviewed all the information on the website, I was then quite happy to support him with his application.

First check that we had to confirm was that he had applied to the CRP registry. He'd done that. 

Matt then started his application, and we would then have discussions about his reflective accounts. Matt reviewed examples on the website and when he wrote his reflective accounts, there's a lot of guidance there for him and these sort of tie into the scope of practice for the registry and we had 1-2-1 meetings where I could provide feedback on his reflective accounts. 

I'm familiar with them because throughout my nursing career I have completed reflections and I have to submit them for my revalidation. Matt has got a lot of experience to draw on, so he had many examples that he could reflect on.

He has to reflect on three, so the first one was professional accountability and that was assessing situations, understanding his limitations, seeking advice, appropriately escalating concerns. So while he was documenting these he was always referring to the Standards of Practice 1 and 2. Practising within boundaries of his scope of professional competence.

His second reflection was leadership.Supporting teams, colleagues and using his experience that he's gained in research with training, supervision and developing skills in delegation.

And his third reflection was working across boundaries, liaising with clinical teams, integrating research into standard clinical care and developing professional relationships.

Following the reflection, we had a documented conversation.So reflection was part of that documented conversation. We reviewed his training folder, his completion. Just ensuring that was all up-to-date, and to review whether he needed more work put into it. 

I had to ensure that he had a current DBS certificate as well, I wasn't quite sure how I confirmed that. My line manager was able to check that in Matt's personnel file. If she wasn't able to find it there, she could contact HR to obtain that. 

Matt confirmed that his statutory and mandatory training was up-to-date. Again, I wasn't unable to check that but my line manager was able to access VLE to confirm that that was up-to-date indeed.

We then had two examples of feedback that Matt had to provide and one of those was venesection skills and his bedside manner. His attention to detail, sorry the second one was attention to detail, picking up errors when he was working on a study. So they were his two examples of feedback that he provided. 

Matt also had to submit two examples of communication style. One was when he was consenting to a research study, face-to-face, and the second one was consenting via the telephone for a research study. I think sorry, I don't know this next slide, I can't remember.

So the final thing that I had to do was sign off Matt's application. So we'd completed our documented conversation. I was then happy to sign off his application form. But just to point out that I was new to this, I didn't have a huge amount of understanding and knowledge about the registry. 

So I was slightly concerned that signing Matt off meant that I was then responsible for his practice, him working within his scope of practice.I was concerned that potentially my registration could be risked as a result of him not working within his scope.

I have learned a number of things from this application and looking at all the details on the website. I wasn't sure quite what was expected of me and I'm still learning. Sort of completed the first task really. The guidance wasn't published until September and Matt had already started this application form by then.

So I was quite reliant on Matt providing me with support for his application. Matt has to resubmit evidence every three years, which I wasn't aware of and at this stage, I'm not entirely sure if he has to pay a further fee for this resubmission. We do have to re-validate for nursing but I don't know if the CRPs do.

Matt has to provide continuous professional development and practise related feedback in order to resubmit for his revalidation for his registration.I'm not aware if there's a minimum of practice hours in order for him to revalidate. We, nurses, have 450 hours, minimum.

I'm very aware, having learnt from Matt and the website that the application actually needs a lot of planning and preparation. It's very self-directed and you really do need an initiative to complete it. It takes a significant amount of time and there are people who have sort of speculated  you need between 15 - 40 hours to complete the application. So I think starting it as early as possible in your journey is probably advised!

Once you've been accepted onto the registry, it doesn't automatically mean that you are going to move bands. You're registered, you're working towards your skills career framework and once you've achieved those you're obviously able to apply for a higher banding but it's not an automatic, you shouldn't expect that you are going to move banding.

I mean it was for Matt, it was coincidental that he happened to have the opportunity to apply for a Band 5 CRP position at the same time. So again, that caused me a level of confusion.

I'll be able to support new members of staff in their development because I've got a slight understanding of what's expected of them.I'm also aware that once you've applied to the registry, £30 will be deducted whether you're successful or not. So you might see it come out of your bank account.

I think it's really important that you know the applicant that you're supporting and that you work together quite closely and you are aware of their skills and how they work.

There is some crossover between the nursing profession and the registry. There's documents and discussed reflective accounts, I've mentioned. Both have a registry which identifies those people that are allowed to work or practice in the UK.Both ensure skills and knowledge are kept up to date and both set standards of education and training, conduct, performance, in order to develop high quality care. Both professionals need to understand your own level of accountability.

So moving forward, how can I support Matt now that he's a registered CRP? I'm going to hopefully work together, we will help to develop his skills and competencies towards Level 6 of the skills career framework. 

I'm going to continue supporting Matt with the development of his portfolio in preparation for revalidation onto the registry. Hopefully we can support Matt with local and national networking and online discussions. Probably just to start and reviewing Matt's competencies and his skills according to the career framework.

We can provide Matt with academic study and learning opportunities. Matt's going to be able to provide mentorship and supervision to members of the team and students. There are leadership opportunities, he can line manage Clinical Trials Assistants (CTAs) and Matt will be asked to start writing appraisals and supporting professional development reviews

I think it's been a massive learning curve for me and I would advise anybody to start the process as early as they can, and to gather as much information together as you can.

I'm really excited to see how this is going to develop and it's fabulous that we've been able to keep hold of Matt as a result of it.

Thanks very much for listening.

Kirsty Gladas:

Great, thank you very much Rachel.That was a really great account and built on nicely from the session we had last week where Matt gave his experience of going through the process.

I've got some questions for you, but I'm going to hold on to them for the time being and for timings, we'll move on.

If there's anything that you'd like to add, keep hold of that as well and thank you so much and we're moving on next to Marie Nelson, R&D Head of Nursing and Health Professions at University Hospital Southampton (UHS).

Hello Marie.

Marie Nelson:

Hi Kirsty. Thank you and thank you, Rachel. As Rachel's Senior Manager, I have also taken some learning about how I can support managers more as well, so that's been really useful.

My name is Marie Nelson and, as Kirsty said, Head of Nursing Health Professions here at UHS. I've been a Research Nurse here for 15 years at UHS. I've been lucky enough to be involved with the CRP directory and register for the last four (4) years. 

I became involved in 2018 and helped develop and shape the Scope of Practice and Standards of Proficiency as part of the working group and working with the NIHR to develop that. 

It's been excellent to be part of that but I will hopefully answer some of Rachel's questions as I go forward and hopefully some of Kirsty's questions but I will try and keep this brief and not go off and try to be concise and answer all of those things.

Next slide please.

So having worked for the directory and register for the amount of time that I have, not having that role formally here at UHS sort of put us at a bit of an advantage because we were able to start from scratch.

A lot of organisations across the country already had the role in various forms, various bands, under various titles but we already had quite a clear research delivery structure here at UHS. 

So we were able to start incorporating this role in a fairly controlled way, really complementing the team that we already had and when the decision was made that this was a growing piece of national work that we needed to embrace and implement here at UHS.

The things we needed to consider: patient benefit, because that was one of the main reasons this directory and register came into being to give some public assurance.

Patient safety, lots of people working in research. What was the assurance behind that? In that we were functioning in a safe and clear manner. So patient benefit, obviously having skilled, knowledgeable staff is what we need at the front line of research delivery.

Team benefit. As Rachel's already mentioned, retaining staff and having a wide range of skills in the team is really beneficial. Having this role brings a diverse range of backgrounds into the team.

Organisational benefit. So again, from an organisational perspective, the more people we have to deliver research, the better again the variety of skills that comes with that. Then that feeds into service needs and this sort of touches on what are the roles we really need to fill? And this links in with that creation of roles, banding, there is a service need and as a manager with a budget, that's what we have to look at.

Overriding is, what service do we need to deliver? And who do we need to deliver that in the most streamlined, cost-effective way, that is also a really nice job that attracts staff and retains staff.

So all of those things are considered and then obviously into that comes the individual benefit there in the middle and what does this role bring to individuals? Again, Rachel's given Matt as an example. I know he presented last week. This was the perfect opportunity for Matt to stay within our teams and progress. So there is real individual development opportunity within these roles.

Next slide.

So I'm just going to give you a little overview of our structure, of our Clinical Research Delivery Team here at UHS. Up until we introduced the CRP role, we had Clinical Trial Assistants, Band 3 and 4. I think this is the case across a lot of this region. 

Clinical Trial Assistants at Band 3 and Senior Clinical Trial Assistants at Band 4. Clinical patient-facing roles, really supporting the delivery of studies but with less of the responsibility. They do lead on observational studies but there is always oversight of a nurse, allied health professional (AHP) or registered statutory registered member of staff.

It became quite clear when we were losing staff members into non-clinical roles because the non-clinical roles have different requirements and are different in their person specification.

Sometimes it can mean clinical staff can move across to non-clinical roles and that might not be their preferred way. But sometimes if you want to progress,if you want to get up the bands, you want to earn more money, that was the route.

So we needed to do something about that. The Clinical Research Practitioner role was already being developed, had a really good idea of what that was going to involve.

Whilst there is the Scope and Standards of Proficiency, it's also about what you need in your local organisation. What does your team need? What do your specific studies need? And what does the overall infrastructure need?

It was quite clear for us that we had space for Band 5 Clinical Research Practitioners.It's commonly known that there is a difficulty in recruiting nurses and AHPs and statutory registered professionals into these roles and that's not going to ease any time soon. There is room for this clinical role.

So, we now have a career structure from a Band 3 Clinical Trials Assistant, Band 4, Band 5 Clinical Research Practitioner and because we have a couple of statutory registered professionals who we would use the term Clinical Research Practitioner for but we only have a few of those. That's something we can work on because here at UHS, we want that Clinical Research Practitioner role to be really quite defined, in what that is, what that means and if that's your job title someone knows what's expected of you in that role.

The green ones [referencing the organogram on the slides] we're working on and obviously I don't know if in these webinars  you have mentioned. I'm also currently working with the NIHR and the Academy of Healthcare Sciences developing an apprenticeship route into the role. So these green boxes are what will come in the future.

So there will be apprentice Clinical Research Practitioner roles that we're already trying to factor in how we do those. And then obviously now that we've created a Band 5, we're going to need to have a clear career structure for these roles but as we've just appointed our first Band 5s

In May this year, the expectation and my expectation is there are 2-3 years development within those roles before a Band 6. So we've got a bit of time to start working on those and how that's going to be different and complement the Research Nurses and Allied Health Professionals that we already have in post but there is definitely scope to do that. So we're working on that.

Next slide please.

So developing the CRP job description and person specification. I'll touch on how we recruit to this role as well, because this is one of the biggest challenges. Whilst we have the Scope of Practice and the Standards of Proficiency, that isn't in a job description or a person specification.

So again, each organisation across the country will have something different and can interpret it slightly differently. There might be more elements of one thing than another in there.

So the easiest way we decided here at UHS, was to take our Band 5 statutory registered professional  job description and what did we think were the differences in that role to the CRP role. Because they're at the same bands, so these job descriptions have been through a banding panel and deemed appropriate at Band 5. 

We wanted to create a Band 5 role for our Clinical Trial Assistants to progress into. Working with that job description and person specification is how we came up with our Band 5 Clinical Research Practitioner job description and the main purpose is very similar to our band 5. That hasn't really changed much because the purpose of the role is very similar. It's just the scope and the elements within that role will be different. 

So the main purpose, to provide specialist research and clinical care to research participants. So that's quite a broad statement and again, assisting the management, coordination and implementation of research programmes. So they're really two quite broad statements.

The hardest part was the essential criteria. This is the bit that we've really worked very hard on here at UHS. Taken advice from HR on what is appropriate at a Band 5 and when we align this with other Nand 5 clinical roles in our trust and that was one of the key things we had to do when we're looking at the banding of our clinical research delivery staff.

It's being really clear on how they align with roles that have already existed for years within our trust. So for example, a Nurse Associate who's done a statutory training program and is a registered nurse, is capped at a Band 4 here at UHS. So we had to be really mindful of the roles that already existed and how this role would align with those which we have done. 

With this, we are quite clear that this is a Level 6 degree, NVQ, or equivalent profession to come in at Band 5 because Band 5 is the entry level for other statutory professions and when you're entering onto the CRP directory and again, being on the directory doesn't mean you have a Band 5 role because they're not aligned but this is where we've set our Band 5 post here.

So it isn't that you have to be on the directory, because what we can't do is you can't put being on the directory as an essential criteria because it's a voluntary register that you choose to be on, you can't make it an essential criteria. 

It’s the general understanding of NIHR because it's voluntary we can't make someone be on the register but what we've done in our essential criteria is that we expect someone to work towards being eligible for the register. 

So we've set it at Level 6 standard, because that's where the apprenticeship is being set. The apprenticeship route into the CRP role is set at Level 6. There will be a Level 5 Assistant CRP apprenticeship but the actual CRP apprenticeship will be Level 6 so that's where we set our Band 5 job description.

The trickiest bit is demonstrating equivalence. For someone who doesn't have a degree but might have years of knowledge. But it is possible, so we appointed our first three (3) CRPs back in May. We did appoint without a degree because the person was able to clearly demonstrate their level of knowledge that we could attribute to a Level 6. 

In that, what we've suggested is if you've been in the role long enough we would hope that you have contributed to guidelines, contributed to Standard Operating Procedures, contributed to a presentation, developed a poster, all of those kinds of things that you can use as evidence for written, how you articulate something, how you've solved a problem and how you've contributed to a bit of teamwork.

All of those things will really help an application if you don't have a degree and they're the things they'll be looking at when they open the register up to those without a degree, you're going to have to compile. 

I haven't seen the details of that yet but it's going to be a significant portfolio of evidence to demonstrate that equivalence. This is one of the things that you can help start supporting CTAs on doing and making those opportunities for them to be able to demonstrate that going forward if they haven't got a degree.

Significant clinical experience and I've worded our person specification, I have tweaked it since going out for the first time because I haven't made it clear enough within there. That alongside that degree level of theory and practical knowledge, you do have to have significant clinical experience.

Again, HR rules, we are not allowed to put hours or years within that. We just, the most we can put is significant. And for a Band 5 role here at UHS, I'm expecting at least three years. As a CTA working at a certain level clinically and you'd have to be able to demonstrate again in your application form that that's what you were doing.

We've just put some examples of limited to but including but not limited to, because there's a whole range of things that people might do. Vital signs, body measurements, personal care and recent NHS clinical experience or equivalent. What comes into the Band 5 role that's not necessarily in our Band 3 and 4 roles is that understanding of accountability because within that we want leadership and role modelling and  obviously interesting clinical research and a logical career pattern are essential criteria within that work as well.

So recruiting to this role, as I said we've been out to advert twice, and we've recruited twice. We've had a really broad range of applicants and the trickiest bit has been shortlisting those that don't have a degree but there are lots of things and what we're going to do here at UHS is to try and develop that for the CTAs.

What that means. So, for example, some of our aspiring CTAs who don't have degree level, we've got them signed up to do Level 6 work based learning modules next year.So there are things that we can do. So you don't necessarily have to do a whole degree, but at least if they've got one module at Level 6 that they've passed,that is a really good start towards providing that evidence.So we already have that in place but there's lots more that we can do around that.

And how this role is different to our nurses, it's about that consolidated knowledge and it's really hard to articulate. I think anyone that we talk to, even those that I've worked with nationally, it's hard to articulate the differences, but there are clear differences.

It's about that consolidation of knowledge. Nurses and AHPs have been on a three-year formal training programme that they have passed to get to that level where they are able to assess and evaluate care. 

What I don't expect of our CRPs. I expect them to have a level of knowledge to know when to escalate something, but it's not about expecting them to directly do something about it necessarily.But definitely know how to escalate it and to know what to do within the immediate circumstances.  

So we all do our basic life support and that anyone working in healthcare would know what  to do in a very immediate emergency like that. In terms of assessing adverse events and serious adverse events, that's where I expect that to be in the remit of a nurse or an AHP.But the CRP needs to have that next level of knowledge to know when to escalate and when to report those things.

Next slide please.

Growing the CRP Workforce, challenges and opportunities. I'm going to start with challenges and end with all the opportunities it brings.

So as we've already mentioned, challenges and Agenda for Change banding. That is one of the challenges, as we've already said, being on the register doesn't mean you have a Band 5 role, because it's about what your team needs, what your service needs.But where possible, we want to create those roles.

And what we're doing here is, whilst they are promotion opportunities, we're not just going to create them solely for promotion opportunities. They have to very much be about service needs, what does the team need? Because we have to keep a skill mix within our teams as well, so we have to have the right proportion of [Research] Nurses, AHPs to do IMP studies, for example.

To do that assessing and certain clinical skills. We have to keep balance, but we definitely have scope and what we do is we review every role that comes up for a vacancy now. We review whether we can put a CRP in there or whether that needs a Nurse, AHP, or how we go out to advert for that.

We do that with every role. Again, balancing service need and resource with opportunity for progression. The challenges as I've already mentioned, demonstrating equivalents. But there are things that we can do to support that and we've already got those underway, but still more to do. 

Then I would think lastly, this is still a work in progress for us and I'm not sure that we've got it exactly right yet. Our first CRP's into post know that they are our first ones and are really going to help shape that. 

I can say with a hand on my heart that it has been hugely successful so far. The CRPs that we do have in post are really valued members of the team and I think they're real role models for what we can do and what people can aspire to in those roles. So they are going to help us shape and mentor new CRPs going forward and help shape what that support package might look like. 

Because they came into post and we didn't really have, and we still don't have, a formal support package in place because it is a working progress and we need to see how we're going to move forward with that, where these roles are going to be most beneficial, and how we support that.

Challenges, they are opportunities. Again, as already mentioned, bring in a real diverse set of skills and background because they haven't gone through a traditional statutory registered profession. The degree level qualification, you know, they can come from a whole range of backgrounds with transferable skills within that. 

Development opportunities for CTAs and again which leads to staff retention. Hopefully we will keep more of our CTAs and not lose them so quickly into other non-clinical roles or to outside of UHS.

Our current two adverts that we've gone out to for CRPs, whilst we've appointed internally, we have also attracted new staff into UHS. So that's also a good thing.

Leadership and role modelling. Again, that added element that we expect in our CRP roles is part of that scope and proficiencies.

What is also done is for our CTAs, gives access to education and develop them that might not have been there previously, because they were capped at Band 4. It's all limited what we could do going forward. But as I say, we've got our first CTAs doing Level 6 modules but planned for. They're already booked on for the beginning of next year, so it's really opened up how we can develop that group of staff.

Next slide, which is my last one.

And this is my last slide. So next step for us. So CTA to CRP development. I've already mentioned the things we're already doing but we want to bring that together into a more formal package.

Defining the CRP role and expectations at UHS.So where does this role really work? Where does it really fit in? And what we've found is that it really fits in where you have lots of clinical tasks and such and it's not just about the tasks. So banding isn't about the tasks that you do but it's about how you lead those, how you coordinate those and how you undertake those as a team member and develop others.

So it's about defining the role, which again will be a work in progress. Beyond the few months that we've had these people in post, and developing that going forward. And again, once we've got the CRPs in role, how do we then develop them? And what is that next step for our Band 5 CRPs? Who will want to know what the next step is? So developing that. 

And again, sharing our success because we have been quite unique in that we have been able to do this from scratch. We didn't have muddied waters as such, where a lot of organisations do have this of different bands, different job titles, because we have been able to start it from scratch. That has been really beneficial for us because we've been able to set the foundations at a level, an expectation, that we would want for the benefit of our teams, and to be really safe and aligned with the rest of the trust.

So we really want to start sharing that success. Hopefully this is the start of that, and that's me. Any questions at the end are very welcome. Thank you.

Kirsty Gladas:

Great, thanks very much Marie. It's really nice to hear that although you don't have all the answers, you knew that there was something that you wanted to do in order to promote that opportunity for very valued CTAs in the team and not wanting them to leave really. Because you've spent a lot of time training them and you want to keep them. You don't want them to go elsewhere. So thank you very much.

I think we'll see a lot more questions popping up soon.

So next is Kirsty Rogers, our new Education and Training Manager.

Over to you Kirsty.

Kirsty Rogers:

Thanks Kirsty. Back to you Kirsty! No, I joke. So my presentation is just to support what Marie and Rachel have spoken about this morning. Just to give you a whistle stop tour on the documentation that supports the application for CRPs and the process. 

We will be doing a little bit more in the session next week as well. So it's just a brief run through today.

Next slide please.

So, the key information sources that have been referred to today are the Clinical Research Practitioners community page, which is an NIHR page, and that gives you a bit more information about the CRP role. And also it has all of the CRP bulletins that can be accessed. 

Those are issued on a monthly basis and you can sign up for those bulletins. So it keeps you abreast of the developments, because as Rachel mentioned, it's still very early in the process and things are constantly being redeveloped and enhanced to help make the process easier for everyone.

So that's a really useful place and it's a good place for the CRPs coming through and those on the directory to start to get to know the kind of things that the staff are having to do.

And then the other places, the Academy for Healthcare Sciences Clinical Research  Practitioner website, which holds the directory and the registry. That has all of the template documents and guidance and we're also going to be adding on to NIHR Learn, a Wessex Clinical Research Practitioner Toolkit, which will have all of our presentations and slides from the last few weeks. We're also going to be giving some extra information.

Next slide.

One of the things when we were putting together these webinars; we realised that there's so much paperwork and the paperwork can be rather daunting to start with. So we felt as a team it would be really useful to put together an infographic that summarises the main documents.

You can see here, screenshots of the AHCS guidance for managers and the guidance for applicants. Both these documents were developed in September and finalised in September. But there are a number, I think, they're between 12 and 15 pages each. So there's a lot of information.

On the left hand side you can see part of the infographic we've developed. Just to kind of talk you through the process. Over the next few slides, you'll see snippets of that infographic.

Next slide.

So again, on the left you've got a bit more of the infographic here talking about the development of evidence and those practice development conversations that both Marie and Rachel have referenced.

One of the things that the application needs is working against a competency framework and our colleagues in the East Midlands developed a great competency framework that we think was based on the UKCRF framework, but actually works really well in order for people to work through that as part of the CRP process. 

So we've developed our own Wessex one and I've just added a screenshot of what it looks like at the front there and again that will be added to our toolkit.

Next slide.

So this [slide] is basically the competencies as part of that document. And we're just going to go, this is just so you can see it, we're going to run through this in more detail next week. But just so you can know what the pages look like, so there's a few more pages here.

Next slide please.

Then each of the competencies, there's 16 competencies, each have a different part of the knowledge and behaviours that are required and you can sign those at your meetings with your staff member to say what levels they're attaining.

Next slide please

One of the things that Rachel mentioned is about the feedback and the CRP application form is an online portal. The evidence that's asked for is in that online portal, so what we've done is we've  added a place within the competency framework to think about putting that feedback. To allow you to capture in those 1-2-1's.

And again, on the right hand side is part of our infographic which gives you a snapshot of the kind of information you need to add.

Next slide.

So on the left here we've got another part of the infographic.This talks a bit more about the reflective accounts that Rachel had spoken about. Obviously, for clinical staff, you're used to doing these reflective ways of working and I've just added in Gibbs reflective learning cycle here.

We'll be doing a bit more information next week about other models of reflective accounts and that will be part of our toolkit as well. 

Within the infographic, we detailed some ideas that you could ask your staff to think about for those reflections, the three key areas of professional responsibility, leadership, and working across boundaries.

Next slide please.

For those reflective accounts, there are certain questions within the application form that the registry would need answered. So I've just given you a screenshot of what those are and what they look like. Just so that again you become familiar with how the documentation looks and copies of these Word documents can be found on the CRP AHCS website, as I say, it is an online portal.

Next slide.

We've touched a little bit on this, also within the CRP website are the Scope of Practice and Standards of Proficiency. The Scope of Practice is quite broad but the expectation is very clear that the Clinical Research Practitioners will have varying skills based on their knowledge, which backs up what Marie was saying and also about personal accountability.

The Standards of Proficiency have six (6) Professional Standards and then some behavioural ones relating to the areas that I've listed there.

Next slide.

So as line managers, one of the key bits, along with helping them [potential CRPs] work through putting their portfolio together, gathering that evidence and working through the reflective work, is actually to sign off which Rachel mentioned earlier. So that's things like looking at their statutory and mandatory training, DBS certificates and that they've got sufficient English language.

Again, there is a documented assurance confirmation form within the AHCS website and I've just done a screenshot here. On the left you can see a part of that infographic again, talking about summarising that process.

Next slide.

Again the CRP website has loads of documentation. So there is a document that talks about how to actually put everything into the application. At the bottom there is a screenshot of what the online portal looks like. And again on the left, we've got the infographic there which talks about the declarations and fees part.

I know there was a question that came up in the Q&A that was talking about what was needed. Just to clarify, it's £30 fee on an annual basis to keep your registration but, every three years to ensure that it is still valid you're required to add in some documentation in the same way with that evidence and reflective accounts. Which is the same as the NMC.

And then once you've had your outcome, then you'll be able to, your staff members will get a certificate and they'll be able to add the Professional Standards Authority logo at the bottom of their email. Just to say that they've got that accreditation.

OK, next slide.

This is just hot off the press, there is going to be a limited amount of time. I know there's been reference about the Level 6 degree that's required for the CRP accreditation.

So there is a gateway that's going to be opened, it's not quite open yet,and it will close in January 2025. Your staff members can apply via the normal process but they'll actually be aboard that review to see, from the AHCS and also some people that are experienced in the CRP role, to assess whether they meet the criteria.

There is a feedback process, an appeal process, as part of that but we will let you know as soon as we have more information as that is released via the CRP bulletin.

And that's me.

Kirsty Gladas:

Lovely, thanks for that whistle stop tour, Kirsty. That was very helpful and just to clock some of that key documentation as well, I think that sort of puts a lot of line managers’ minds at rest being able to just see it... and Rachel talking about her experience of working through it as well.

So, going into the questions.

Thank you Kirsty, you already answered the first one which was about the revalidation. So there's a yearly cost and then there's a three yearly revalidation and quite what that looks like, Marie, are you aware of anyone that's actually come up to that point? They haven't yet, have they? But they will be because within the next year or.

Marie Nelson:

Yes, we're only one year into, I think it was, the one year anniversary not long ago so there's another two. I haven't seen the paperwork and because we've got two years to go before those first registrants will need revalidation. We don't but it will be something along the lines of the reflective accounts. It'll be like our NMC registration. It is those reflective accounts, what you've learned in the last three years. It will be very much [the same].

So my advice to current CRPs and those on the register, as someone who has to revalidate, I'm sure Kirsty and Rachel, is. start collecting that evidence and things like good feedback from colleagues and patients and logging your professional development and if you've had a real issue or an incident. Start practising your reflective accounts and do a reflective account of it.

So when it comes to that revalidation in three years' time, you've already got your portfolio of evidence that you're just going to need to tweak and pull together because I'm certain it will include all of those things.

Kirsty Gladas:

Lovely, great advice as well. Prepare early. I think there's probably a few people on the call that maybe have been slightly caught out on that. So definitely, just make a little folder, even in your home share drive or a little folder within your inbox. Just drop stuff in so that you've got it and you can look back. Then it's really nice because then you can pick the best bits, can't you? As opposed to trying to trying to find those things. It's much better to have a nice selection.

Can I just add, for those CTAs aspiring to be CRPs, do exactly the same thing because even if you've got a degree, having that evidence to support any application is going to be really beneficial.

Thank you Marie.

So going back. We've got a question, “Is there a template for revalidation?”So, as we say, there  will be and it will be on the national site and will be available for you all. But it will be a trimmed down version of what you've done to apply.

Thank you.

And then somebody has written, “As a line manager who has CTAs interested in the CRP role and becoming registered, what would you recommend I do or advise them in the first instance?”

Marie, do you want to take that one?

Marie Nelson:

I don't know if Rachel wants to because she was the actual line manager. Sorry Rachel! As a line manager supporting. Sorry Rachel, to put you on the spot.

Rachel Schranz:

That's alright! I think you just have to, reading the guidance that's available from Kirsty's slide and just get as much information together about it before you start. It's quite extensive and I think it would take you quite a while to get your head around it. Ideally, I'm still getting my head around it but I think have a good read, all the information.

Kirsty Gladas:

And practically, Rachel, what would you be sort of looking to get the CTAs to do?

Rachel Schranz:

Developing their clinical skills, definitely. As I say, Matt was very experienced. He'd worked on a number of different studies.Observational and interventional; and to an extent, he had a lot of clinical skills, that he could, that he has developed, just worked towards developing those. He was kind of halfway there which was nice.

Marie Nelson:

Can I just add in Kirsty? So, Rachel in her presentation, said she was worried about her registration, signing off someone as being competent. In the same way as anything we do as a statutory registered professional. You know, we have to make decisions and sign things off.

If what you're doing is to the best of your knowledge and the evidence is there, I think if you're in doubt then seek advice from another colleague.But if all the evidence is there that makes it a worthy application, then you have no fears of your registration.

So I just want to put that out there, you're not you're not signing your life away by confirming. But what you are doing is making sure and helping guide that CRP, that they are making a really robust application and so I'm a national verifier as well. 

So those are applications that go to the AHCS. We thoroughly review a proportion of them, so I've done that in the past and the more that you've added in, the more detail... and be really explicit with your evidence. Don't do too many broad statements, be really explicit with your evidence and really understand what reflective account means. You'll be fine. 

So there is no risk to your registration by being really confident that someone is putting in a good application that you're able to support and are confident that the evidence is truly all there.

Rachel Schranz:

Thanks Marie. I think it really helps knowing the applicant as well, like I say. 

Marie Nelson:


Kirsty Gladas:

Thank you. Someone has asked, “How long have you had the Band 4 CTA role in place and what are the clear differences with the Band 3?”

Marie Nelson:

OK, so shall I answer that one? Yes, so the challenges of banding are forever there and I'm never sure that we get them exactly right. So we've had Band 4, how long have I been in charge of my team, Kirsty? Years.

Kirsty Gladas:

You've had them since 2015. 

Marie Nelson:

So yes, when I first came into the role as Matron for the trust, that's just about when those Band 4 were recruited because historically, they'd all been Band 3. Then a bit of work was undertaken before my time  and then the Band 4 role was created, so it is sometimes a bit tricky when we have experienced Band 3 CTAs moving in but this is the nature of it. 

This isn't different in any profession; the longer you're in there, the more experienced, but that doesn't mean that you're working outside of your band because that is what the job requires. We would expect people to develop within a band and consolidate their knowledge.

We expect people to work towards being the best they can be at the top of their band. The main differences between our Band 3 and Band 4, so to come into a Band 4 role at UHS, you have to already have clinical experience at a certain level. 

Again, in our person specification it says significant but we're saying, a minimum of one year full clinical experience. You have to demonstrate what that clinical experience is within your application. You can't just say, 'I've been working as this for a while.' You need to be a bit clearer on what that is.

Our band 3 roles, you come in, you don't have to have healthcare experience. You do have to have a level, NVQ level of education, to come in, or equivalent. And the main difference is practically, day-to-day, is the level of responsibilities.

So a Band 4 CTA would oversee observational studies, we wouldn't necessarily expect our Band 3’s, to unless it's really simple coordination of day-to-day. Not to say they aren't capable again, but that's what the role requires,and we need people to work within the scope and boundaries of theirroles because that's the roles. 

And part of it does come down to money. We can't make everyone high band because we just couldn't afford it. So we have to have the people doing the job that we need them to dobut provide opportunities for progression within that. 

Our Band 4's are also able to consent. At the moment, our Band 3's don't consent to studies because we expect our Band 4 staff to have that next level of clinical and research understanding so they're able to consent to studies. So that's what the main difference is.

Kirsty Gladas:

Thank you Marie. That was a really good answer.

So next question, I'm just aware of time. “Does a Band 4 CTA, to progress to a Band 5 Agenda for Change, need to be registered or just complete the competencies framework?”

Marie Nelson:

Sorry, say that question again? No, you don't. It doesn't matter what band you are to register. The register is not about band, it's not linked to bands.

So that's what's been really clear from the start. Our role at UHS, to become a Band 5 because it's a voluntary register, we cannot say that you have to be registered. In our person specification, we just say that an essential criteria is that we expect you to develop and work at the level of the scope and proficiencies that the directory sets out. 

One of our desirable criteria is being on the register but we can't make it essential, but working at that level we can make essential. Does that answer the question?

Kirsty Gladas:

Thank you. Then somebody has put, “Is there a  CPD certification or acknowledgment for line managers for their own revalidation?”

Marie Nelson:

I'm not aware of any specific CPD certification. But again, in our revalidation, you could put that as professional development in that you've done that reading and training in the same way that you might do some other thing. It doesn't formally come with CPD but there is no reason you can't log that on your NMC log of CPD as an activity that you've undertaken.

I wonder if that might be something you know that might come through at a later date if they think that it's required or needed. It's similar to mentorship in that for nurses we don't get CPD points for mentoring student nurses. You would if you've done a formal module to undertake them but we don't as nurses get formal CPD for having done that.

Kirsty Gladas:

OK, great. I don't believe there's any other questions so that's pretty timely.

OK, thank you all very much and don't forget everyone these are being recorded so you will be able to watch these back and they'll be within that toolkit.  We're hoping, aren't we Kirsty, that they'll be ready before the middle of December and we'll put all those key documentations and links together, the competency document and framework for those that maybe don't have that, out in our patch and wider.

So thank you all very much for listening, thank you all very much for talking and sharing your experiences, that's been very valuable and have a good rest of your day. Thank you.