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Introduction

Welcome to the RCSLT's pages for newly-qualified members.

Whether you are at the start of your first year as an SLT or approaching certified RCSLT membership, we have a wealth of resources to help you though this important transitional phase in your career.

In this section you will find:

  • CPD for NQPs
  • RCSLT NQP goals
  • Starting your career in a research setting
  • Resources for NQPs
  • Supervision and support
  • Resources for managers supporting NQPs
  • Volunteering
  • RCSLT membership for NQPs

See also:

CPD for NQPs

The NQP Framework can now be found within the online CPD Diary. If you need help using the CPD Diary, you can look through our online guidance here

Newly-qualified practitioners (NQPs) are required to work towards and complete a set of NQP goals. These goals support your learning and development in your first year of practice and are used as evidence of readiness to transfer to full RCSLT membership.

Each of these goals will get signed off by a supervisor as you achieve them.

For more information about getting your goals signed off and applying for full RCSLT membership see 'transfer to certified RCSLT membership' section below.

In response to member feedback, the RCSLT has developed an offline version of the updated Newly-Qualified Practitioner framework, which can be submitted to membership@rcslt.org when completed.

RCSLT NQP goals

The following goals are linked to the RCSLT Core capabilities:

Communication

  1. Communicates with people in a manner which is consistent with their level of understanding, culture, background and preferred ways of communicating in order to sustain positive relationships and enable constructive outcomes to be achieved
  2. Acts in ways that are non-discriminatory and respectful of others’ beliefs and perspectives

Partnerships

  1. Works as part of a multidisciplinary team and understands the roles of other members of the team
  2. Makes referrals to other professionals in a timely and appropriate way
  3. Collaborates with relevant others and implements an appropriate therapy management plan based on functional outcomes and clearly defined goals, including an understanding and use of preventative strategies
  4. Discharges client appropriately, agreeing a point of closure with the client/carer and informing other professionals and highlights routes for referral if appropriate
  5. Identifies and collects relevant information through appropriate formal and informal assessment, including discussion with the client/carer

Leadership and lifelong learning

  1. Identifies development needs and engages in continuous self-directed learning to promote professional development and quality of practice
  2. Is involved in training other professionals, raising awareness of communication and eating, drinking and swallowing problems
  3. Continuously evaluates the efficacy of the therapy management plan, and modifies it as appropriate

Research and evidence-based practice

  1. Is aware of current clinical audit findings and incorporates these into practice
  2. Interprets the assessment information and produces an appropriate therapy management plan using evidence-based practice
  3. Is able to use current critically appraised research to inform practice

Professional autonomy and accountability

  1. Keeps accurate and contemporaneous records
  2. Provides safe care within the scope of practice, adhering to health and safety procedures and clinical guidance, and seeking support from supervisor when appropriate
  3. Maintains all aspects of patient/client confidentiality
  4. Understands and follows the clinical administration processes
  5. Manages and prioritises demands involved in meeting the needs of the caseload
  6. Manages time effectively to balance clinical and non-clinical responsibilities
  7. Is aware of and adheres to current legislation, incorporating this into practice
  8. Uses appropriate clinical and professional guidance within practice (e.g. RCSLT or NICE guidance)
  9. Makes and justifies independent decisions on less complex patient/client care
  10. Makes a clinical judgement/diagnosis in relation to the nature and extent of less complex speech and language therapy difficulties
  11. Accesses support from mentors/specialists for complex cases

You can download this as a table, where you will also see how the Curriculum guidance graduate key capabilities are linked to the Core capabilities, and how the NQP Goals build upon these:

In response to member feedback, the RCSLT has developed an offline version of the updated Newly-Qualified Practitioner framework, which can be submitted to membership@rcslt.org when completed.

Starting your career in a research setting

Completing goals in a research setting

If you are an NQP working in a research setting (undertaking clinical research for PhD or within a clinical research setting), you are still able to complete the NQP goals. It is recommended that you are supervised by an academic SLT who must be a certified member of the RCSLT. If your supervisor is not an SLT, your goals must be countersigned by a co-supervisor with clinical expertise who is an HCPC registered SLT and a certified member of the RCSLT, i.e. an academic SLT or clinician.

The RCSLT is supportive of NQPs undertaking PhDs and believes that a clinical caseload, as part of the PhD work is important for NQPs in order to develop clinical knowledge and skills. The

RCSLT would encourage NQPs who wish to work in a research environment to negotiate that opportunities for clinical work are included in their research.

You should note that the NQP Goals are not linked to your HCPC registration. However, when you renew your HCPC application one of the declaration you will make is:

“I declare that I have read, understood and will comply with the HCPC’s standards of conduct, performance and ethics.”

You may have a clinical caseload as part of your research work but if you do not and after a period of time in research you return to clinical practice you must refer to the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics, with special attention paid to Standard 3:

“3. Work within the limits of your knowledge and skills

Keep within your scope of practice

3.1 You must keep within your scope of practice by only practising in the areas you have appropriate knowledge, skills and experience for.

3.2 You must refer a service user to another practitioner if the care, treatment or other services they need are beyond your scope of practice.

Maintain and develop your knowledge and skills

3.3 You must keep your knowledge and skills up to date and relevant to your scope of practice through continuing professional development.

3.4 You must keep up to date with and follow the law, our guidance and other requirements relevant to your practice.

3.5 You must ask for feedback and use it to improve your practice.”

If you require more information, please contact us.

Resources for NQPs

Newly-qualified practitioner members are able to access all of the member resources, however you may find it particularly useful to look at the following:

Supervision and support

As an NQP you fall under the supervised category at the RCSLT

It is strongly encouraged that all NQPs consider the importance of managerial supervision, professional supervision and professional support when applying for your first post. It is also vital that managers and employers recognise their role and responsibility in ensuring all NQPs access both forms of supervision and professional support. For safe and effective practice, the RCSLT requires that, as an NQP, you undertake a comprehensive programme of supervision and support for the first 12-18 months of employment. This will establish good working practices and help develop self-confidence in the long term.

It is the responsibility of you and your employer to ensure the supervisor that is signing off the competencies is an SLT who is a member of the RCSLT and registered with the HCPC. The RCSLT strongly recommends that this is confirmed before you begin your first employment.

Managerial supervision

The RCSLT recommends that managerial supervision should be at least weekly for the first three months of work and monthly thereafter. The managerial supervisor could facilitate the collection of your activities and reflections for completing the NQP Goals and monitoring progress.

Professional supervision

The RCSLT recommends that your professional supervisor must be an experienced SLT in the relevant clinical area. Professional supervision should be at least weekly during the first three months and monthly thereafter. The professional supervisor could facilitate the collection of your activities and reflections for completing the NQP Goals and monitoring progress.

Professional supervision needs to be more intensive and hands-on initially so that both you and your supervisor can quickly identify your needs and already-established skills.

Having different people as managerial and professional supervisors

If your managerial supervisor and professional supervisor are different people who are both eligible to approve your NQP Goals, you need to decide with both supervisor how this will be monitored, approved and signed off.

Please note that you will have to assign each goal to a supervisor, and you can have different supervisors for different goals.

The RCSLT will only verify the completion of all goals with the signature of RCSLT certified and HCPC registered SLTs.

Professional support

The RCSLT stipulates that professional support should be available through:

  • The management structure of the employing organisation
  • Colleagues within and/or outside the service
  • RCSLT Clinical Excellence Networks (CENs), managers and the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice (ASLTIP) groups
  • Peer support groups
  • Buddying by another SLT or formalise external supervision

Forms of support activities include:

  • Opportunities to shadow SLT colleagues
  • Joint working
  • Attendance at clinical meetings, in-service training and training seminars
  • Opportunities to access specialist advice to support clinical judgement and decision-making when needed, either face-to-face, through ‘open door policies’ or via phone call or email
  • Access to peer support networks, such as forums or support groups or peer ‘buddy’ systems
  • Regular contact with peers and specialists in the profession

Adequate provision of support can lead to reduced stress levels and enhanced ability to manage distressing or complex situations. This is especially important for you as an NQP. External personal support may be appropriate at times, including access to occupational health department, staff counsellors, employee assistance programmes or leadership training courses.

You may also like to read our guidance on CPD and mentoring.

Applying for your first job

As an NQP, it is strongly recommended the before and/or at an interview you have a conversation regarding ongoing supervision culture in the organisation in which you are applying. You need to pay particular attention to costing and time allocation for both types of supervision for posts where there is no SLT management and supervision structure (e.g. the only SLT in school or private hospital setting).

Working in independent practice

The RCSLT does not recommend that recent SLT graduates work in independent practice, in independent organisations, as locums or undertake bank work, during this transitional period without having confirmation from your employer that you will receive supervision from an HCPC registered SLT who also has certified membership of the RCSLT.

Please note that:

  • Locum agencies may not be able to guarantee supervision for NQPs
  • NQPs working in an environment where there is not an SLT team should have supervision bought in from the NHS.

For more information see:

Resources for managers supporting NQPs

NQPs are required to complete 24 mandatory NQP Goals to gain the skills and experience to become a fully qualified SLT. An NQP will need to be supervised during this process and will need their goals approved by an employer/supervisor who is both a member of the RCSLT and an HCPC registered SLT.

It is not recommended by the RCSLT that NQPs work in independent practice, in independent organisations, as locums or undertake bank work during this transitional period without having confirmation from their employer that they will receive supervision from an HCPC registered SLT who also has certified membership of RCSLT. Locum agencies may not be able to guarantee supervision for NQPs. NQPs working in an environment where there is not a SLT team should have supervision bought in from the NHS.

For more information, please visit the following:

See also: Health Education England report and toolkit to reduce student and NQP attrition and improve retention.

Please contact us with any suggestions.

Volunteering

As an NQP you may wish to volunteer with speech and language therapy services to help maintain your knowledge and to benefit service users if you cannot find paid work. The RCSLT also understands that some services would like to support NQPs by offering voluntary experiences.

You should record your volunteering experiences in the CPD Diary as activities as part of working towards an NQP goal. Please note that you can only complete a goal and have it approved by a supervisor once you are in an NQP role.

The RCSLT has developed guidelines specifically for SLT services or practices taking on qualified speech and language therapists as volunteers.

RCSLT membership for NQPs

For information on your benefits as an RCSLT NQP member, including insurance, please visit our Membership pages

Transfer to Certified RCSLT membership

In order to transfer to certified RCSLT membership, you need to have completed the NQP Goals and have had them signed off by your supervisor(s), both electronically and physically.

Electronic sign-off

Each NQP goal must be signed off by your supervisor(s) within the online CPD Diary

For more information see:

Physical sign-off

They are signed off physically by completing an application form for transferring to Certified RCSLT membership

  • Application form for transferring to certified RCSLT membership 2018 - coming soon
  • Notes on completing the application form - coming soon 

For more info, please contact us.