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Consultant practitioner accreditation

 

Why should I apply for consultant practitioner accreditation?

Accreditation is time-limited and is granted to individuals who have met pre-defined College of Radiographers (CoR) requirements which are detailed in the sections below. 

Accreditation evidences to your peers, employer and those who use your services that you have met professional body requirements and that you practise in all four core domains of higher-level practice at consultant practitioner level.

  1. Expert practice.
  2. Professional leadership and consultancy.
  3. Education, training and development.
  4. Practice and service development, research and evaluation.

Accreditation will enable you review your practice, goals, impact of your role and self, and provide a way of evaluating the direction you and your team are moving towards.

Accredited consultant practitioners say the process of preparing and reviewing CPD for accreditation provides ideas for future personal and service developments:

"I have also had ‘light bulb’ moments as I reviewed my CPD content to reveal new ideas and even make a focus for a presentation or publication that can be delivered to all levels of student when teaching; this also has formed the basis for the development of new projects within the team, some of which are MDT orientated once developed further.  […] I have used the opportunity to focus my direction and through this have gained external opportunities that have allowed me to enhance my role (Dr Jonathan McDonald, Accredited Consultant Practitioner)."

‘Accreditation’ is not the same as registration, licencing, validation, certification or credentialling.  Accreditation is applied to the whole practitioner and all their practice rather than very specific small elements, competencies or capabilities.  Accreditation is not linked to registration and ‘Accredited Consultant Practitioner” is not a protected title and is not a statutory requirement.  It may be a requirement of your employer.

Accredited consultant practitioners will be able to access the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) online discussion group which is for accredited individuals only.  This group will give you access to resources, information and most importantly the opportunity to network with other accredited consultant practitioners throughout the United Kingdom. 

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Is my practice ‘consultant’ level?

Consultant practice is more than just carrying out practice that requires a very high level of expertise and skill.  It’s essential that consultant practitioners do this but on their own, skill and expertise don’t evidence consultant practice.
Within their area of expertise, consultant practitioners should work in all four core domains. 

They should create the evidence base upon which imaging and radiotherapy practice and service delivery is based.  Consultant practitioners should be able to appropriately use and adapt evidence to fit the needs of those who use their services and should also demonstrate a strategic understanding within their profession and wider healthcare system.

The College does not specify how much time you should spend in each domain.  The amount of time you spend in each may change throughout the course of your career.  For example, one year you may spend a large proportion of your time in the ‘practice and service development, research and evaluation’ domain and the next year you may concentrate more on ‘expert practice’.  This is fine but all four domains must be included in your role and within your application.

The Education and Career Framework (SCoR, 2013) may help you decide if your practice is ‘consultant’.  If you don’t have elements of all four domains in your role, at the level described above and within the Education and Career Framework, your practice will not be classed as consultant level.

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How do I apply for consultant practitioner accreditation?

It’s easy.  All tiers of accreditation are completed in CPD Now.  Just login to the Society of Radiographers’ (SoR) website and click the ‘Visit CPD Now’ button on the home page.  In CPD Now click the menu item ‘Start accreditation application’.

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What information do I need to provide in my application?

Your accreditation application is made up of several sections and you must complete them all.  There are assessment criteria and hints and tips on each section below.

My Practice (maximum 500 words)

This section is a summary of you as a professional.  It should include your job title, what you do, where you work, who uses your services.  You may also like to include special projects you are undertaking and areas of research interest.  It’s useful to include your role in education and training of students and learners.

Assessment criterion:

  • The summary must describe you and your practice.

Hints and tips:

  • Review your CPD Now framework before completing this section. If your framework is up to date you may be able to copy and paste it to the My Practice section of your application.

Level of Practice

This is a very quick and easy section. You just need to tick “consultant practitioner”. Ticking this box ensures that if accredited, the accreditation tile on your CPD Now homepage shows the correct title and expiry date.

Areas of Expertise

There is a list of common areas of expertise in CPD Now. Tick the ones that apply to you. However, if you’re an expert in an area that isn’t listed there’s an ‘other’ box you can fill in.  You’ll have to provide evidence to prove that you are an expert in all the areas you tick.

Your selections in this section will help the education and accreditation team at SCoR select the most appropriate person to assess your application on behalf of the College.
Hints and tips:

  • Ticking lots of areas of expertise isn’t always the best way to complete your application.  Pick the ones that you are expert in rather than all those you occasionally take part in.  The analogy ‘less is more’ is sometimes key to completing this section and the application successfully.

Education and qualifications

There are two parts to this section, a summary and then evidence of your qualifications.

Education summary (maximum 500 words)
Describe the qualifications you’ve gained most recently and especially those you are still working on.

Assessment criteria:

Initial accreditation

  • Completed full master's
  • Demonstration of consultant level working across all 4 core domains (please see appendix for recommended types of demonstration)

Re-accreditation

  • Completed full master's
  • Demonstration of consultant level working across all 4 core domains (please see appendix for recommended types of demonstration)
  • Demonstration of further postgraduate learning including consideration and discussion of embarking on doctorate study
  • Consultant radiographers who hold a doctorate will need to demonstrate postdoctoral study/learning

Hints and tips:

  • You might find it helpful to refer to the learning outcomes associated with your post-graduate qualification(s).
  • If you haven’t completed the qualification yet, include key dates.  For example, the date you are due to hand in your last assessment or thesis or the date of the assessment board or viva.

Qualifications

This is a straightforward section. You just need to select the relevant qualifications from those you’ve already entered into the ‘Qualification’ section of CPD Now. It’s important to ensure that there is evidence of your qualification attached. Evidence could be a scan or photograph of your qualification certificate, assessment board letter or academic transcript from your education provider.

If you haven’t entered any qualifications into CPD Now you need to do this before submitting your application.

Linked CPD

This is a very important section. The continuing professional development (CPD) you link to the application in this section provides the evidence that you’re working within all four core domains of higher-level practice. It also provides evidence that you’ve expertise in all the areas you selected earlier in the application.

You should link your best quality CPD. It should be reflective, reflexive and evaluative and identify where you’ve had a significant impact on service delivery, your own practice, colleagues’ practice, users of your service, learners and your profession.  This is not an exhaustive list.

Your CPD should include references to publications and presentations that have formed your practice and also to your own publications and presentations.  It doesn’t matter what reference style you use.

Examples of CPD related to the four core domains
There’s overlap between the core domains so you may choose to map your own evidence to a different domain than listed below.  These are not exhaustive lists.  You might find it helpful to review the Education and Career Framework (SCoR, 2013) for further suggestions.

Clinical practice examples:

  • Audit and monitor standards.
  • Consult on images at MDT.
  • Advisor to colleagues across health and care pathways.
  • Advocate alongside service users.
  • Autonomous practice.
  • Major practice review.

Leadership & Management examples:

  • Sit on a national & international advisory committee.
  • Review local protocols & compare to evidence base.
  • Analysis of workload & recommendations.
  • Practice development group.
  • Work to streamline stages of the patient pathway.
  • Advise government bodies.
  • Contribute to interview panels.

Education examples:

  • Teaching at HEI / honorary appointment.
  • Arrange study days.
  • Weekly education session with team/interesting cases.
  • Curriculum development with HEI.
  • Volunteer examiner with HEI.
  • External examiner.
  • Assessor for CoR accreditation
  • Deliver lectures at multiple levels to all universities

Research examples:

  • Lead service evaluation.
  • Review & implement evidence base.
  • Peer review for Journals.
  • Reviewer for NICE.
  • Bid for research funds, seek grant applications.
  • Primary investigator.
  • Publication & presentation of papers national / international
  • Co-supervise student dissertation.

If you’ve already got your CPD recorded in CPD Now you should be able to complete this section quickly.  You just need to select the 6-8 most appropriate bits and link them to your application by ticking the box beside them.

Assessment criteria:

  • See Education and Qualifications section.
  • Demonstration of the impact of your practice and research on those who use your service, colleagues, service delivery and profession.
  • Where projects, papers or activities are not yet complete, a timeline to completion should be provided.
  • CPD should be written at a level and in a style suitable for publication.  References should be included.

Hints and tips:

  • Ensure you are at the centre of your application – say what you do, not what your team does.
  • Do not breach patient, business or yet to be published research confidentiality. Breaching patient confidentiality means your application will be deferred.
  • Include references to your publications, posters and presentations if you’ve included CPD related to them. CoR assessors always want to review publications because they’re interested in you, your role and your research.
  • Proofread your application, then proofread it again.  Ideally, ask a colleague to proofread it for you as well. College of Radiographers’ assessors are looking for evidence that you can write at a level that could be published.  Ensure you’ve checked spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and defined all initialisms and abbreviations.
  • Check you’ve evidenced all four core domains within your CPD, at the level required.
  • Do not include more than ten pieces of CPD evidence.  You should be able to evidence all domains and areas of expertise within 6-8 pieces.
  • Include a good range of different CPD types, e.g., writing for publication, discussion, experiential learning.
  • Make it easy for the assessor – be clear which piece of evidence relates to which core domain.
  • Sell yourself. If it isn’t in the application the assessor won’t know you do it.

Personal statement (maximum 1,500 words)

This is another very important section. You might find it helpful to use the four core domains as headings in this section, but this isn’t a requirement.  One way to approach this section is to consider, “If I was applying for my own job, what would I write?”

This is a good place to outline projects and research you’re currently working on that haven’t been included as a piece of CPD. CoR assessors really like timelines to be included with project descriptions. You could include a Gantt chart, a bulleted list of milestones with estimated dates or something else entirely.

You may want to include refences to your own publications, presentations and posters in this section, but if the reference list takes up too many words you can enter the list into a CPD activity and link it to your application just as you would a normal piece of CPD.

How you approach this section is up to you, but you might find it helpful to discuss it with colleagues who are accredited consultant practitioners.

Assessment criteria:
Summarise clearly and concisely how you meet the four core domains.
Statement should be written at a level and in a style suitable for publication.

Hints and tips:

  • Consider using headings
  • You may wish to signpost the reader back to CPD you’ve linked to your application.
  • Use the terminology of the four core domains
  • Proofread your work carefully

Evidence of CPD Now accreditation

All applicants for advanced and consultant practitioner accreditation need to have CPD Now accreditation before they can submit to attestors.  CPD Now accreditation is gained automatically when you have recorded:

  • 12 pieces of CPD;
  • over the course of 2 years;
  • that meet at least 6 CPD Now professional outcomes.

The green bars on your CPD Now framework tile are indicators of CPD Now accreditation progress.
In your application you will need to select a date from which the two years are counted back. This will normally be “today”.

CPD Now will link all the CPD you have recorded in the past 2 years to your accreditation application and it will be visible to both attestors and CoR assessors.

Assessment criterion: All the CPD you have recorded must meet the minimum standards of CPD required by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Hints and tips:

  • Visit the HCPC website to gain a better understanding of their standards of CPD.
  • Ensure you do not breach the confidentiality of those who access and use your services.  You must also ensure that no colleague’s confidentiality is  breached.

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How is my application assessed?

Your application must meet the accreditation requirements detailed in each of the sections above.  Attestors and CoR assessors will also consider how your application meets the high-level outcomes detailed in the Education and Career Framework (SCoR, 2013).

There are three parts to consultant practitioner accreditation assessment, approval by two attestors and by two CoR assessors and then by College of Radiographers’ Boards. The assessment criteria used by both attestors and the assessors are the same.

Assessment criteria: Attestors are asked to declare:

“I attest that this …

  • is an accurate summary of the applicant’s practice.
  • applicant is working at this [consultant practitioner] level of practice.
  • applicant demonstrates expert practice in these areas.
  • is an accurate summary of the applicant’s qualifications.
  • evidence meets the requirements for CoR consultant practitioner accreditation.
  • is a true representation of this applicant’s knowledge, skills and role and it meets the requirements for CoR consultant practitioner accreditation.
  • application meets the baseline HCPC standards of CPD.
  • application meets all the requirements for College of Radiographers’ consultant practitioner accreditation”.

Attestors

You choose two attestors.  Attestors are registered professionals, usually diagnostic or therapeutic radiographers who are registered with the HCPC. Attestors could also be professionals who are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Medical Council or another statutory regulator. It is your responsibility to ensure that your attestors are registered.

Accreditation applicants often choose people they work closely with to be their attestors. For example, an accredited consultant practitioner radiographer, co-researcher, senior colleague or manager.  It’s important to choose an attestor who understands diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers’ CPD and accreditation requirements. If you’re thinking of choosing a non-radiographer attestor, ensure they understand what they’re declaring by passing your application. An attestation is not the same as a reference. You could send them the link to this webpage if they’re unsure what’s required.

Attestors will provide you with written feedback about your application which you can view through CPD Now.  This feedback should be balanced, constructive and be clear about what you have done well and what you need to improve.

College of Radiographers’ assessors

College of Radiographers’ assessors are experienced academic and clinical radiographers appointed to assess accreditation applications, education programmes and clinical placements.  They have received initial training for this role and take part in regular update events.  They always abide by the Society and College’s confidentiality requirements.

Two assessors will review your application thoroughly and determine if it meets the College’s accreditation requirements, as in the sections above. They will take your attestors’ feedback into consideration when they do this.  Assessors will either pass or defer your application.  Both assessors will provide you with feedback that will indicate what you have done well and what areas you need to consider improving in the future.

If your application is passed by both assessors, they are ready to make a recommendation to the Approval and Accreditation Board (AAB) to approve your accreditation.  You’ll receive an email telling you if the assessors have passed or deferred your application.

Commenting on your feedback (maximum 500 words)

When your application is passed by both CoR assessors, and before their recommendation is considered by the AAB, you need to review and comment on the feedback you’ve been given by the attestors and CoR assessors.

Your commentary will be written in CPD Now and should be reflexive and address both positive feedback and areas for development. Where necessary you should provide an action plan to address the areas the attestors and assessors recommended that you enhance.

Your commentary will be submitted to the AAB for review through CPD Now.

Assessment criteria:

  • Your commentary must be reflexive and address both positive feedback and areas for development recommended by attestors and CoR assessors.

Hints and tips:

  • As with all parts of the application, proofread your submission.
  • Include references if you would like.  However, this final part of the application is about you, your thoughts, feelings and reactions.

College of Radiographers’ Boards

The AAB meets three times a year and is similar to assessment boards at universities. The Board will review your reflexive commentary and if it approves your application, it makes a recommendation to the College Board of Trustees (CBoT).  It is CBoT who makes the final decision to approve or defer your application. They meet four times a year.

You will get official confirmation about your accreditation application following the CBoT meeting.  It’s only after you have received this confirmation that you are ‘accredited as a consultant practitioner’.

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How long does accreditation last for?

Consultant practitioner accreditation lasts for four years.  After this time, it will expire.

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What happens if I don’t agree with attestors’ or the assessors’ decisions?

Contact the Society and College of Radiographers’ Professional Officers for Education and Accreditation via: accreditation@sor.org. They will be happy to advise and guide you with regards the feedback you have received and the assessment decision.

All decisions made by the Approval and Accreditation Board, and advice given by that Board to the College Board of Trustees is final.

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Where can I get further help and advice?

If you are thinking about applying for consultant practitioner accreditation and still have questions, please email your questions to: accreditation@sor.org.

You will find the Online Live Tutorials on CPD, reflection and accreditation useful.  You can register for these free events through the resources tab of CPD Now.

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Page last updated: 4 November 2019

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