#NovMember | Practical assessments during Covid-19 

How do you conduct a practical echo exam during a global pandemic with limited access to hospitals?

Well, it required some quick thinking and resourcefulness, but the British Society of Echocardiography's accreditation team pulled it off.

First, as there was restricted access to hospitals, it quickly became apparent that hosting exams inside hospitals would be difficult. Therefore, we opted to host our first-ever virtual exams via video call, using Microsoft Teams. With support from candidates’ mentors, echo departments, and the wider hospital, we safely operated practical exams, with assessors dialling in virtually.

Our second issue was physical sourcing models; Heartworks/Intelligent Ultrasound stepped in with their solution. Heartworks are producers of the highly realistic simulator with all the tools needed to learn TEE and TTE echocardiography. Heartworks provided us with access to simulators as an alternative to models, allowing the practical exams to continue.

Eventually, when restrictions began to ease, we resumed in-person exams in hospitals, implementing the strictest possible COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of our candidates, assessors, and staff. We returned to familiar centres, including Coventry University Hospital and Royal Stoke University Hospital, with whom we must share credit for their exceptional support, without which we wouldn’t have been able to operate.

By adopting the above measures and reducing the number of practical exams but increasing candidate capacity, we have ensured that we kept disruption to our pre-accreditation members to a minimum.

Find out more about personal accreditation