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Support and supervision in practice: who's who

This page describes the different roles of the staff in practice who assess surgical first assistants.

It is recognised that the contribution of the supervisory team in relation to providing supervision, support and opportunities to develop mastery and competence in a specialist area of advanced practice is crucial.

Support for key personnel should be provided by the educational institute delivering the programme in the form of workshops, supportive literature and regular dialogue.

Key personnel involved in the assessment process

Consultant surgeon supervisor

Consultant surgeon supervisors have a responsibility to:

  • If possible, attend a supervisor’s workshop to ensure they have a clear and shared understanding of the competencies to be achieved and expected performance in the clinical environment at each stage of learning.
  • Be familiar with the contents of the course briefing document (available on this site)
  • Ensure opportunities for the trainee’s personal and professional development are available
  • Be cognisant of the assessment documents and the Surgical First Assistant portfolio of evidence
  • Ensure the assessment documents and portfolio are discussed with the trainee SFA as early as possible in the course
  • Identify and provide access to learning opportunities and resources to assist the trainee SFA to reflect on experiences, to facilitate learning in and from practice, and to ensure that the learning experience is a planned process
  • Teach the trainee within the clinical environment as appropriate to their stage of progression within the course
  • Liaise with the mentor for the assessment of competence in related practice
  • Processes
  • Provide a learning environment that allows students to plan their workplace based learning and provide constructive feedback to improve future performance.
  • Ensure that the trainee has sufficient opportunity, in a safe environment, to be taught, and learn, the required skills
  • Make the final decision in the assessment of the trainee SFA including the completion of relevant parts of the documentation
  • Coordinate the results of the assessment of practice reports to make a final and informed judgment of professional competence
  • Provide advice and support and, where necessary, address specific needs such as difficulties in progression

Practice assessor

Practice assessors have a responsibility to:

  • Be cognisant of the assessment documents and the trainee SFA portfolio of evidence
  • Ensure that they familiarise themselves with the course briefing document (available on this site)
  • Have a clear and shared understanding of the competencies to be achieved and expected performance in the clinical environment at each stage of learning.
  • Liaise with clinical supervisor(s) regarding related practice experiences, and confirm assessment of competence
  • Undertake the required assessments and ensure that they liaise with all parties as the need arises
  • Complete the necessary sections of the trainee SFA portfolio
  • Provide a learning environment that allows students to plan their workplace based learning
  • Facilitate learning in specialities other than the student’s usual work area
  • Be approachable, supportive and aware of individual trainees’ learning style
  • Have knowledge and information of the trainee SFA’s programme of study and practice assessments
  • Be willing to share knowledge of patient care
  • Encourage the use of enquiry based learning and problem solving
  • Offer encouragement to trainee SFAs to work in partnership with the multidisciplinary team
  • Ensure the provision of time for reflection, feedback and monitoring of the progression
  • Ensure that the trainee SFA has constructive feedback with suggestions on how to make further improvements to progress

Educational supervisors

A number of professionals are involved in supporting students in practice, from mentors to personal tutors and practice educators. You'll find a description of their roles below.

Education champions

Education champions are Anglia Ruskin University academics who play a key role in establishing and maintaining effective communication links between the University, the clinical provider and other stakeholders such as Health Education East of England. In addition, they co-ordinate the educational audit process and chair the Practice Education Committee meetings every two months with the key education leads from your organisation. These meetings follow a standard agenda and include a review of student and mentor evaluations as well as external reviews such as the CQC.

Education champions work closely with the healthcare organisation/independent sector education lead and clinical learning leads to provide support such as drop-in surgeries and link visits. Find contact details for your education champion.

Personal tutors

These are students' personal and academic tutors. Their name and contact details can be found on the student’s module guide. The role of personal tutors is vital in the progress of students' journey on the course; they assist in the exploration of the theoretical perspectives from each module and, in the classroom setting, help to prepare students to begin to relate theory to practical application. Personal tutors act as academic mentors and are fully involved in any personal or disciplinary factors which may impact on students' progress on the course. They also visit their students while they are in their practice placement.

Student managers

Another key member of the support team is the student’s manager.

Managers have a responsibility to:

  • Have a clear and shared understanding of the requirements of the SFA module and the time frame in which it operates
  • Familiarise themselves with the course briefing document
  • Ensure that students are supported for the 12 months of the module
  • Enable students to achieve the 100 hours assisting required by the course
  • Facilitate out of department experiences for the student to ensure that they develop into a rounded practitioner, able to take on the additional responsibilities of a Surgical First Assistant
  • Ensure that a suitable risk assessment has been undertaken
  • Facilitate an update of the student’s job description on commencement and on successful completion of the course