Prepare for NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP)

 

What is the NHS STP Situational Judgement Test?

Situational judgment tests (SJTs) are integral in assessing potential candidates' aptitude and decision-making skills in work-relevant situations, particularly in high-stakes professions like healthcare.

The NHS STP SJT, provided by Pearson VUE, is a specific assessment used in the selection process for the Scientist Training Programme, aimed at evaluating the suitability of applicants for roles in clinical science.

Key Features of the NHS STP SJT:

  • Test Structure and Content: The NHS STP SJT is designed around scenarios that a trainee scientist might typically encounter. Candidates are expected to assess and rank the appropriateness of various responses to these scenarios, using a scale from 1 (very appropriate) to 5 (highly inappropriate). This format is specifically chosen to mirror the complexities and nuances of real-world decision-making in a healthcare setting.
  • Duration and Segments of the Test: The total duration allotted for the NHS STP SJT is 90 minutes. This includes a 50-minute window for the actual test, preceded by a non-disclosure agreement and a tutorial, followed by a survey. This structure is intended to provide a comprehensive assessment experience, from understanding the test format to post-test feedback.
  • Volume of Scenarios and Responses: The test comprises 25 unique scenarios, each accompanied by a series of responses. In total, there are 164 response options, presenting a broad range of situational challenges and decision-making opportunities.
  • Time Accommodations: For applicants with approved additional time accommodations, such as a 25% time extension, the test time is extended to 63 minutes. However, this extension is specific to the test portion and does not include the preliminary and concluding segments.
  • Preparation and Practice: Given the test’s comprehensive nature, thorough preparation is essential. Utilizing resources like study guides, and practice tests, and familiarizing oneself with the test format and response ranking system can significantly enhance performance.

Understanding these specific aspects of the NHS STP SJT is crucial for aspiring candidates. This preparation not only aids in test performance but also provides insights into the analytical and situational judgement skills necessary for a successful career in clinical science within the NHS.


NHS STP Situational Judgement Test Practice

STP SJT Sample Questions

Tom and his colleague, Bob, are working together on a hospital ward and are sharing assignments. After a month, it becomes clear that Bob has taken most of the quicker and simpler tasks and has been leaving Tom with longer, more challenging tasks. How desirable is the following response by Tom in this situation?

 

Speak with Bob about his concerns regarding the distribution of work tasks.

 

A very appropriate thing to do
Appropriate, but not ideal
Neither appropriate nor inappropriate
Innapropriate, but not awful
A very inappropriate thing to do
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer
The correct answer is A very appropriate thing to do.

This is a good response. Tom is dealing with the problem himself: He talks to Bob honestly, explaining his concerns about the unfair distribution of work tasks. Tom speaks to Bob politely to solve the problem on their own and maintain a good relationship afterwards.

 

Discuss the situation with a colleague that knows them both and ask for his opinion.

 

A very appropriate thing to do
Appropriate, but not ideal
Neither appropriate nor inappropriate
Innapropriate, but not awful
A very inappropriate thing to do
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer
The correct answer is Inappropriate, but not awful.

This reaction does not help Tom find a solution. It is not appropriate to involve a third party before attempting to speak to Bob directly. When Tom speaks to a colleague who knows both of them and tells about Bob’s bad behaviour, it can be perceived as gossip that can cause problems in the future. It is not awful reaction since it attempts to find a neutral opinion to decide the matter relatively fairly.

Like the real test, the scenarios presented in the STP SJT PrepPack always ask for a resolution of a given conflict which represents realistic situations that occur in a workplace.

While you will need to use your intuition, our Prep Course will teach you how to comprehensively analyse the various scenarios and choose responses that highlight your skills to better represent yourself on the test.

Although you get the official Pearson preparation, with Our consistently updated PrepPack, you will gain more STP SJT questions, detailed explanations, and solving tips to ensure you will ace the test!

Each question comes with detailed solutions, and the pack also includes study guides with top tips for passing the exam.


Brief Overview of the Scientist Training Programme

The Clinical Scientist Training Outline:

Over the course of the three years programme, you will be placed under the direct supervision of the NHS, or for some, a private NHS partner.

During that period, you will go through:

  • On-site training.
  • Completion of a master's degree (part-time.)
  • Undergo a final assessment of competence.

Upon successful completion of the entire program, you will be eligible to officially register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and will then be free to begin applying for healthcare science roles throughout the industry.

As a side note, you will be glad to know that training comes with a salary of around £31,000 and that the part-time master’s degree is fully covered. Before we get into the master's degree's basic curriculum, let's go back to the overall curriculum for the clinical science programme itself.

STP Core and Scientific Modules

The two primary modules are broken down into two primary segments:

  • Work Experience – You will apply your knowledge, know-how, and skills in the workplace, as practical training.
  • Master's Program – During your part-time study programme at university, you will primarily study blood science focusing on clinical biochemistry, including a research project. Additionally, you will delve into various subjects like ethics, professionalism, patient and carer perspectives, and communication skills.

NHS STP Core Person Specification

Now that you have an overview of the programme, let's dig into the core person specifications necessary to get into the program.

NHS STP Qualifications

Those who finished their undergraduate degree )with honors) in pure or applied science, and finished with either a 1st or 2.1, are eligible to apply to the programme.

In specific cases where the applicant's degree is higher than the specialism demands, they may also apply with a 2.2.

Please note that due to intense competition, candidates with comprehensive experience are preferred.

STP Scientific Skillsets

These are the scientific skills that you must demonstrate in the context of either your prior work or study.

Skillset 1: Show a background in patient care and a profound understanding and exploration of scientific practice in relation to clinical care.

Skillset 2: Showcase your ability to assess and analyse various medical literature, design experimentation, and investigatory methods. Lastly, proper clinical judgment is crucial.

Skillset 3: Be competent in quality control and management assurance. In short, as the product is developed, it must continuously remain relevant to current demands.

Skillset 4: Follow Standard Operating Procedures and understand how to improve, find new uses for those procedures, or develop new methods.

Skillset 5: Understand the ins and outs of medical equipment, how to identify incompatible results in testing and more. 

Skillset 6: Understand your chosen medical niche in the general healthcare setting.

Skillset 7: Be well-versed in computer software, being comfortable and knowledgeable in all the various systems used in the industry.

Skillset 8: Able to draw from your experience to analyse and extrapolate complex data or laboratory work.

STP Transferable or Soft Skills

In addition to the many hard skills mentioned above, there are many other transferable skills, which are also critical for the job. Let's take a look.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills - Both oral and written communication are critical for explaining a wide range of issues to health professionals or laypeople alike. From speaking with a patient, making a formal presentation, and writing day to day reports, these skills are a must-have.

Be a Good Listener – Bedside manners is important, as well as being able to take constructive criticism from your bosses or co-workers. Additionally, one must also be adaptive, meaning that the health professional should have the ability to convey the same message to different people in a way that is right for them.

Independence and Organisation – Next, you will need to be a self-starter, while strictly adhering to guidelines. Additionally, depending on the position, you may also have to demonstrate the ability to plan, monitor, and set policy on the team level.

Safety and Support - You will come across patients in a range of conditions from light to severe and even those on death's door. Bedside manners are more important than ever. In a similar vein, knowing all the proper procedures for disposing of hazardous reagents and chemicals is important for your safety and those around you.

Pressure and Values – These two really go together because it's in the toughest moments that we can lose the values and principles we value. Keep your emotions in check and your ability to plan and work with the patient always at heart. 

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