FAQ’s

Q 1. What is the Stroke Competency Toolkit?
Q 2. What are the stroke core competencies?
Q 3. Who is the Stroke Competency Toolkit for?
Q 4. Does the Stroke Competency Toolkit help with my NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF)?
Q 5. What level am I expected to achieve?
Q 6. How can the toolkit support my Personal Development Plan (PDP)?
Q 7. What if the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF)/Agenda for Change does not apply to me?
Q 8. How do I achieve and evidence the knowledge and skills indicators?
Q 9. What support/guidance can I get?
Q 10. What resources are available that would be helpful?


Q 1. What is the Stroke Competency Toolkit?

A. A The Stroke Competency Toolkit has been developed to support your learning needs in stroke and assist you in providing evidence for the development activities you have undertaken. It is based on the stroke core competencies developed by NHS Education for Scotland (2005). The toolkit is designed to be user friendly and accompany you throughout your working career in stroke; whether long or short, or whether you have worked in stroke for a while or are new to the speciality. The toolkit comprises of two parts: the stroke competencies which outline the knowledge and skills required, and the evidence sheet where you can record the development activities you have undertaken. The toolkit assumes the underpinning values that all people being cared for in a health or social care environment have a right to be treated in accordance with the Generic Standards set by NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (2004). The Stroke Training and Awareness Resources (STARs) website www.StrokeTraining.org is an interactive e-learning resource which provides a blended learning approach and supports the completion of the toolkit.

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland Training and Education Programmes (if available in your area) also support the completion of the toolkit.


Q 2. What are the stroke core competencies?

A.The stroke core competencies are aspects of care which all health and social care staff working with people affected by stroke should know of and be able to carry out. A core competency is defined as ‘the possession of knowledge, skills and abilities required for lawful, safe and effective professional practice without direct supervision’ (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2002). The stroke core competencies are presented as a series of 20 statements. Each statement provides the knowledge and skills required, and then gives an example of the potential benefit to the individual. The core competencies are:

  1. Cause of stroke
  2. Effects of stroke
  3. Reducing the risk of stroke
  4. Specialist care
  5. Common effects of stroke
  6. Level of consciousness
  7. Limb weakness
  8. Moving and handling
  9. Activities of daily living
  10. Loss of feeling
  11. Change in vision
  12. Communication
  13. Swallowing
  14. Preventing pressure sores
  15. Incontinence
  16. Thinking processes
  17. Safety
  18. Emotions
  19. Rehabilitation
  20. Changes in behaviour

Within this Stroke Competency Toolkit some competencies have been joined together as they complement each other. The stroke core competencies are available to view online at NHS Education for Scotland or can be requested free in a booklet or poster format from Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland: telephone 0131 225 6963 or email publications@chss.org.uk.


Q 3. Who is the Stroke Competency Toolkit for?

A. The Stroke Competency Toolkit is for all professionals working in health and social care involved in the care of people with, or at risk of stroke. It has been designed for use by all members of the team working in acute, rehabilitation or community settings. It does not matter whether you are registered or non-registered, or what your level of experience is within stroke care.


Q 4. Does the Stroke Competency Toolkit help with my NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF)?

A. Yes, the Stroke Competency Toolkit has been aligned to the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF). The NHS KSF is designed to support your personal development and career progression within the NHS and applies to all staff. The Agenda for Change national agreement includes a commitment to a system of annual development reviews and to creating development opportunities for all staff. The responsibility for your personal development is shared between you and your Line Manager. Most post outlines will be generic in nature and not stroke specific; the toolkit supports opportunities to develop and provide evidence of your progress/achievements related to the speciality of stroke. More information on the NHS KSF and Agenda for Change can be viewed at NHS Scotland – Pay Modernisation.


Q 5. What level am I expected to achieve?

A. The Stroke Competency Toolkit has two levels: Core and Specialising. The level you are expected to achieve can be determined by your post outline. The toolkit has been aligned to the NHS KSF Health and Wellbeing (HWB) dimensions.

Comparing the HWB dimensions and levels in your post outline will guide you in the level you are expected to achieve. The level for each competency should be discussed and agreed with your Mentor or Line Manager. All health and social care staff working with people affected by stroke are expected to achieve the core level within the toolkit. Some staff will be in roles which require specialising knowledge and skills while others will not. You may be expected to achieve different levels in different stroke competencies. If you aspire to go beyond your expected level this should be discussed and agreed with your Mentor or Line Manager.


Q 6. How can the toolkit support my Personal Development Plan (PDP)?

A. The Agenda for Change national agreement includes a commitment that everyone will have their own Personal Development Plan developed jointly in discussion with their Line Manager, and everyone will have an annual development review. The Stroke Competency Toolkit will help inform your own Personal Development Plan by identifying areas where future learning and development is needed. The toolkit will also provide evidence of your progress/achievements related to stroke care for your annual development review.


Q 7. What if the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF)/Agenda for Change does not apply to me?

A. The Stroke Competency Toolkit can still be used effectively to support your learning needs in stroke and assist you in providing evidence for the development activities you have undertaken.


Q 8. How do I achieve and evidence the knowledge and skills indicators?

A. The achievement and evidence required to meet the knowledge and skills indicators should be recorded in the Stroke Competency Evidence section within the toolkit. A summary section is included at the beginning of the competencies to provide you with an overview of your progress. There are various ways in which you might achieve your development needs, it is important these are appropriately chosen to enhance your own practice.

Examples of learning and development opportunities include:

  • self managed studying
  • e-learning
  • reflective practice
  • learning from peers
  • speaking to someone affected by stroke (patients, families, or someone you know)
  • in-service training, study days and courses
  • research, service development or project activity

A wide variety of types of evidence can be used including:

  • examples of study or e-learning
  • demonstration of competence
  • reflective diary, journal or log
  • reflection of a critical incident or case study
  • reports, presentations, materials developed, publications
  • qualifications or certificates
  • shadowing or mentoring
  • visits to other teams, departments, services
  • audit and evaluation, service user feedback
  • other practice development and educational activity

The tutorial section within the website will give you a step-by-step example of how everyday practice can be recorded as evidence. You have the option of submitting more than one piece of evidence per competency should you choose to do so. You also have the option of uploading documents / certificates etc that support the competency you are working on.


Q 9. What support/guidance can I get?

A. The Stroke Competency Toolkit is designed to be undertaken with support and guidance. Your Line Manager is responsible for enabling you to carry out your development plans; it is your responsibility to follow it through. In your area you may have a mentor allocated or in some areas a Stroke Education Facilitator or Stroke Practice Development Facilitator can offer support and guidance. Remember the other members of the team can also offer help, particularly around supporting learning opportunities. The aim is to complete the core level of the toolkit within six months to ensure recent and valid learning, with an extended timescale applicable to the specialising level. The toolkit is designed to support progression and achievements throughout your career journey in stroke care.


Q 10. What resources are available that would be helpful?

A. A list of resources is included in the toolkit to help support learning and development. It signposts you to a variety of sources and formats, it is not exhaustive and is there as a guide.