Professional Portfolio

Engagement with a professional portfolio is part of every profession theses days. In clinical training every specialty has its own requirements for managing and maintaining a professional portfolio. Due to my own experiences as a surgical trainee I used ISCP. However, the advice below can be applied to any of the portfolios, in any other clinical specialty.

ISCP is the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme which is the online surgical portfolio for surgical trainees from Core Surgical Training (CST) all the way through to Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

It was developed by the  Joint Committee on Surgical Training (JCST) which works on behalf of the  surgical Royal Colleges of the UK and Ireland. ISCP was developed with the view to promote and ensure the highest possible standards of surgical training. The framework and curriculum within is GMC approved and is updated every few years so it is important to keep up!

ISCP allows trainees to record their achievements in line with the requirements of the curriculum and their training programme. These achievements are then part of the portfolio of evidence presented annually at ARCP (Annual Review of Competence Progression) which will determine whether progress is continuing appropriately or not, and offers a chance to focus training and the support needed.

The ISCP portfolio has several parts

  1. AES (Assigned Educational Supervisor) meetings – three meetings which occur at the beginning, middle and end of the rotation. This allows objective setting at the beginning, an assessment of progression and identification of areas for development, and final review of activity with a sign off.
  2. WBAs (Work Based Assessments) – these are one to one assessments carried out after an interaction/event with ideally a senior in a consultant level role. These include
    • Case Based Discussion (CBD)
    • Procedure Based Assessments (PBAs)
    • Direct Observation of Procedural Skills (DOPS)
    • Mini Clinical Evaluation Exercise (Mini-CEX)
    • Assessment of Audit (AOA)
    • Observation of Teaching (OOT)
  3. MCRs (Multi Consultant Report) – is a new facility that is designed to get a competency based review of a trainee by multiple consultants within a department. The competencies are based on key activities such managing inpatients, managing outpatients, managing theatres, etc..
  4. Portfolio – a section to upload all activities you are involved in including exam passes, research publications, posters/presentations, etc…
  5. Journal – a chance to document your reflections. However, it is important to be careful about what you document. Personally, I kept all my most significant reflections on my laptop and would acknowledge them on the journal on ISCP. If they were ever needed then i’d let them be read on my computer but would avoid sending any copies/emails or sharing with anyone. With reflection, it was always clear to me that engagement with the process is important – this however, is purely a personal view and i’d encourage you to seek advice and make your own mind up about how you want to proceed.
  6. Logbook – to log your surgical activity

For more information on the ISCP click here

To maximise your gains of the ISCP it is vital you sign up early, stay organised and are familiar with what is required from you. It is also important to update it regularly as you go along and not just within the weeks before ARCP!

The final point is that the ISCP is a mandatory requirement of the job so the fee that you have to pay for it is tax deductible. (small consolation, but better than nothing!)