DCP: 2.5 Placement Evaluation
Passing the Placement
In order to pass a placement, Trainees must complete sufficient clinical experience, attend for the specified number of placement day and satisfy their supervisor that the work was of satisfactory quality.
The trainee must complete the minimum required number of placement days using the Record of Placement Days form.
The supervisor must complete the End of Placement form which includes the Trainee’s strengths and developmental needs, with a recommendation to the Programme Team of:
Pass: If at the end of the placement the Trainee has completed work as specified, their clinical skills have developed as appropriate for their stage in training and s/he is judged to be ready to move on to the next placement with information about their developing competence the trainee should pass. If there are particular positive comments to be made about the individual these can be added to the feedback. There may still be competencies which require development; their significance may depend on the stage of training and opportunities available on placement and so an area of relative weakness need not prejudice a pass rating.
Recommending that a Trainee fails a placement is difficult for all concerned. It is essential that supervisors are honest and professional in making their judgements and provide explicit feedback about any failings identified. The Programme regards placement supervisors as having a crucial gate keeping function when offering placements. It is a requirement that trainees obtain a Pass on all clinical placements. In the event of a Fail rating, the trainee must normally gain further experience in this specialty. The timing of a repeat placement is at the discretion of the Programme team. A second placement failure would constitute grounds for failure of the Programme which is subject to the External Examiner’s agreement and endorsement by the Examination Board.
There are many reasons why a trainee may Fail the placement and this can be due to a variety of reasons:-
Fail: A failed placement might be the result of serious or persistent shortcomings in any of the BPS Core Competencies areas. Failure is therefore an indication that minimally acceptable levels of clinical competence, judged in the context of the stage of training, the goals set during placement and the opportunities available on placement, have not been demonstrated. Examples might include serious lack of sensitivity and responsiveness to client’s and/or colleague’s communications; professional misconduct; failure to complete a sufficient amount of work, failure to work in a way consistent with the requirements of supervisor (as outlined in supervision, for instance), failure to fit in with expectations as outlined by supervisor about professional practice expectations, failure to attend etc. Two or more ‘serious concerns’ rating on the supervisor’s End of Placement form would also suggest use of a ‘fail’ rating. Reasons for the fail grade should be made clear and explicit on the Supervisor End of Placement form.
When there are concerns about the trainee’s performance, these should be raised as a matter of urgency with the Programme Team (normally the Clinical Director and Personal Clinical Tutor). The Personal Clinical Tutor will arrange a placement visit to provide support to both parties and to facilitate a constructive discussion. The Clinical Director may also attend this meeting if it is deemed necessary. The aim of this meeting is to set clear placement goals going forward to ensure the Trainee understands what is expected of them during the rest of the placement. Further placement meetings may also be planned as necessary.
The Supervisor’s decision to fail a placement will be indicated on the End of Placement form. This constitutes a recommendation to the Programme Team. In the event that a Supervisor indicates that a trainee has failed a placement, it is the responsibility of the Clinical Director to notify the Programme Director and to collate and provide them with the relevant placement paperwork plus any additional information from trainee or supervisor about mitigating circumstances. The Trainee and Supervisor will be offered the opportunity to meet separately with the Clinical Director to discuss the placement feedback. The trainee will be invited to bring an advocate and/or Personal Clinical Tutor to this meeting if they wish.
The Programme Directors will then review all relevant documentation and will make a decision as to whether or not to uphold the Supervisor’s recommended outcome. The final decision about whether the placement has been failed or indeed passed will be ratified by the Exam board following a recommendation from the Programme Director and External Examiner as to whether the decision should be upheld.
If the fail is upheld and there are special considerations that the trainee has requested be considered, these will be reviewed at a special considerations meeting. The Programme Director will inform the External Examiner with responsibility for the trainee’s cohort of the decision, provide evidence of the grounds on which this decision has been made and inform them of any recommendations made by the special considerations meeting. The examiner will be asked to ratify the decision on behalf of the Examinations board. The outcome will be reported at the next full Examinations board.
The trainee will be informed of the decision in writing within 30 days of the paperwork being distributed. If in exceptional circumstances this is not possible, the trainee will be informed accordingly. In the event of the Programme Director being unavailable, the Clinical Director will ask the Head of the Academic Unit to appoint another Programme Lead to oversee the process.
A trainee may also receive a fail if they have completed insufficient days on placement as detailed on the Record of Placement Days form. In this case a similar process will be followed but the only aspect which will be considered will be the number of days completed. If the Programme Director and External Examiner are satisfied that this is less than the required minimum number of days, then the Exam Board will receive a recommendation that the placement is failed, regardless of whether the quality of the work completed is judged to be satisfactory.
In the event that the decision to uphold a placement fail is upheld, the trainee would usually be required to repeat the placement (if this is their first fail), typically in different placement. The Programme team will decide on an appropriate plan and notify the External Examiner for that cohort. The trainee should be given clear feedback about how to address any issues highlighted in the feedback on any subsequent placement.
Fitness to Practice and Implication of Failing a Placement
If a trainee fails a placement because of unprofessional behaviour, then the trainee’s future employment will be called into question. It may be deemed inappropriate to repeat the placement especially if there is concern about the trainee’s fitness to practise or their likely suitability to apply for HCPC registration at the end of their training. Trainees’ and supervisors’ attention is drawn to the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Practitioner Psychologists and the HPC standards of conduct, performance and ethics.
In such cases the University of Southampton and/or the Academic Unit of Psychology policies may be invoked and the trainees’ NHS employer would be informed. It may be appropriate for the trainee to be suspended from study and/or employment whilst these discussions are taking place.
Right to Appeal
The trainee has the right to appeal placement decisions according to the University of Southampton Academic appeals process. The full regulations and grounds for appeal are detailed in the Regulations Governing Academic Appeals by Students document.
Trainees should be aware that an appeal cannot be made against the academic judgement of the examiner; and that only information not available at the time of the original decision can be submitted as part of an appeal.
It is strongly recommended that a trainee considering making an appeal takes advice from the SUSU Advice Centre before deciding whether to appeal. An appeal would delay the commencement of any further placement and the trainee would be restricted to non- clinical duties until the appeal had been heard. The trainee’s employer would be informed that the trainee was undertaking restricted duties whilst the appeal was being processed and would have the right to consider their employment status accordingly.