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Number completing Level 3 health screener diploma reaches 300

Michelle Johnson, Alpa Adatia, Izzy Petrie and Sarah Bailey are shown lined up holding certificates for completing the Level 3 Diploma in Newborn Hearing Screening.
Congratulations to Michelle Johnson, Alpa Adatia, Izzy Petrie and Sarah Bailey for completing the Level 3 diploma in newborn hearing screening

More than 300 screeners have now successfully gained their Level 3 Diploma for Health Screeners and a further 500 are currently undertaking it.

The diploma is the recommended national training programme for new screeners in the newborn hearing screening programme (NHSP), abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and diabetic eye screening (DES) programmes. It assures providers that staff are screening safely, independently and in line with national standards.

In this article, we'd like to share some feedback we've had on the diploma and tell you about a new resource to support it.

Newborn hearing screening

Gaining the level 3 health screener diploma (HSD) is a great achievement for learners.

Feedback from newborn hearing screening teams suggests they can see the difference the qualification makes to new recruits. Those completing it have been equally positive.

One NHSP screener said:

As a new starter I feel the diploma has given me a deeper understanding of the newborn hearing screener role and the confidence to answer parents’ questions.

Another told us:

I really enjoyed studying for my diploma and feel competent and confident in my new role. It’s given me an opportunity to learn about NHSP in a supported and structured way. The diploma is hard work but rewarding, and I was really pleased to receive my level 3 certificate.

Following feedback from 3 workshops attended by screeners and local programme managers our NHSP e-learning module is currently being improved. We are also looking to align the NHSP competency assessments to ensure they support the evidence requirements of the HSD.

AAA screening

The implementation of the HSD had a wobbly start, but we now seem to have turned the corner and local programmes realise what an excellent qualification the HSD is.

The team at the University of Salford, where screening technicians are assessed, are very positive about screeners who have completed the HSD.

They have found the diploma trained technicians to be very professional and good communicators with excellent understanding of image optimisation and good scanning skills. Screeners themselves have found the diploma useful.

One AAA screener told us:

The diploma teaches you the theory of what is expected to be carried out and allows the learner to understand what the correct protocols are.

Another added:

I thoroughly enjoyed working towards this diploma. I have found all aspects of my learning useful and interesting and feel proud to have completed it.

We know from feedback that some screeners have found the paperwork involved in producing evidence for the diploma a little confusing. To help with this, PHE Screening has developed a new e-resource to make it easier to understand. Read on for further information about this great new resource!

We are delighted to see so many screeners have completed the diploma successfully and are reaping the rewards of such a great learning and development opportunity.

Diabetic eye screening (DES)

Having a qualified and certified workforce has always been essential in ensuring an effective diabetic eye screening programme. The HSD was developed to support screening staff and programmes and to provide an opportunity for development. Healthcare units were included so that learners had an understanding and knowledge of healthcare principles appropriate for their role.

Local DES programmes have embraced the diploma and we now have over 200 screeners who have completed the diploma and another 300 currently undertaking it.

We asked DES screeners what they thought of the qualification.

One told us:

My support throughout the course was brilliant, I was in constant contact with my assessor and she gave me whatever support I needed. I found most of the course very interesting, although some modules were a bit repetitive. I didn't find the course difficult to complete, it was very straightforward.

Another DES screener was equally keen to emphasise the benefits:

Once I was assigned my trained assessor my experience was fabulous. As I am now coming to completion of my own CAVA course and have 2 learners, I can see that the new unit guidance is excellent and the support materials are accessible and helpful.

Local DES programmes have adapted quickly to the HSD and the need for the assessor qualification and it has been great to see the qualification fully embedded within the DES programme.

Supporting resources

The Health Screener Diploma e-resource  is available now via e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH).

The resource is made up of 6 topics.

  1. Overview of the qualification
  2. Navigating the qualification
  3. The screener’s role
  4. Communication and information
  5. Health and safety
  6. Infection prevention and control

The aim of topics 3 to 6 is to signpost and guide the learner to enable them to reflect on and find the information to answer the questions posed. By doing this they should be able to provide level 3 evidence showing they can apply their knowledge and understanding to their specific screener role.

We are holding a short event in London on Wednesday 15 January 2020 to celebrate the resource and have 10 places up for grabs on a first come first served basis. Anyone interested please get in touch.

A further resource made up of 5 short films, 'HSD: the learner’s journey' (see below), takes the assessor and learner through the qualification journey.

PHE Screening blogs provide up to date news from all NHS screening programmes. You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs. If you have any questions about this blog article, or about population screening in England, please contact the PHE screening helpdesk.

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