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Practice Educator Programme (PEP)

The Pathology Practice Educator Programme (PEP) is a 9-day, bespoke, online leadership development programme. It runs over 8 months and is designed to develop leadership capability and support for PEs across England in new and challenging roles. The online programme offers the opportunity for Practice Educators (PE) to develop the knowledge, skills, techniques and behaviours required by new workforce development roles. In particular, PEP promotes in-depth professional networking and collaboration to enhance a national awareness and implementation of new initiatives and achievements, the sharing of good practice.

PEs were recruited from Spring 2021 onwards to take up these roles on a one-year, fixed term contract. PEP was designed and first delivered in 2021 and has been delivered to three cohorts (PEP 1 in June, PEP 2 in September 2021 and PEP 3 in March 2022).

The key driver for PEP is to support the National Pathology Workforce Rapid Intervention Plan (2021). The Plan introduced new pathology Practice Educator (PE) roles on a regional basis to support workforce challenges. These were driven by the increased demand on pathology services during the pandemic. Although each region undertook a different approach to the design and remit of the role, the PE role includes:

  • supporting the expansion and development of pathology laboratory scientific workforce
  • increasing retention and staff productivity
  • developing the workforce from Bands 2-5
  • creating new roles
  • improving the efficacy of resources
  • delivering COVID-19 testing in response to the continuing global pandemic into recovery
  • supporting improved workforce planning

The programme is informed by a developmental, personal and professional growth philosophy to promote the empowerment of PEs. It is an interactive and experiential programme which uses theories, models and techniques to equip and support PEs in undertaking their roles. It employs a variety of learning strategies including interactive lectures, individual and small group activities and regular opportunities to reflect on personal and professional development and the wider professional challenges and opportunities for the pathology workforce.

Peer support is facilitated by the introduction of Thinking Partnerships and all participants are offered 1:1 coaching appointments with an expert coach to promote their own professional development. Learning from the programme is embedded into practice by participation in Action Learning Sets which encourage individualises, creative solutions to workplace challenges.

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