Taking the Test of Competency (TOC) in a pandemic
A chiropractor based in South Africa describes his experience of taking the TOC remotely during this unprecedented period
02.03.21 Registrant Blog
COVID-19 has forced many people to change or delay their plans. It certainly has impacted on my plans to move from South Africa to practise as a chiropractor in the UK.
Due to the current travel restrictions, I am unable to travel to the UK but fortunately, and thanks to technology, I am still able to move forward with my plans. This means that when the restrictions are lifted, I will be a step closer to starting my chiropractic career in the UK.
Practising in another country
In 2017, I became a qualified chiropractor in South Africa. Over the past few years, I have worked with many patients and have good knowledge and understanding of chiropractic treatments and techniques.
However, there are some clear differences between chiropractic in South Africa and in the UK. For example, in South Africa a chiropractor is able to refer a patient to see a specialist, whereas in the UK a referral has to come from the patient’s GP.
The Test of Competence is an important step to recognising these differences and demonstrating good knowledge of the UK chiropractic standards outlined in the Code. Chiropractors who pass the Test are able to prove that they can practise confidently and safely in the UK.
Taking time to get it right
Completing the Evidence of Practice questionnaire is the first step in the Test of Competence process and it is quite an undertaking.
At first glance, I thought I would be able to complete the questionnaire in just a few hours. In reality, it took two weeks. This includes time reviewing the content and double checking that I hadn’t missed anything.
The questionnaire is such as important document. It’s a key part of the application so it needs to be completed as thoroughly and as accurately as possible. I would advise anyone embarking on the TOC to allocate one month to completing the questionnaire.
I spent time beforehand reading and understanding the Code. This was time well spent and was certainly useful as I worked through the questionnaire. In addition, the Royal College of Chiropractors also offers a course to help with the Test of Competency which I found invaluable.
A virtual interview
After sending the Evidence of Practice questionnaire and supporting documentation, the next step is to attend a TOC assessment interview with a panel of three chiropractors.
I was aware that the panel interview usually takes place face to face but given the current COVID restrictions the panel interview now take place virtually over Microsoft Teams.
I welcomed the opportunity to take part in the panel interview even though I wasn’t able to travel to the UK. I was aware that the interview would take place virtually and this worked well for me. A virtual interview is extremely convenient. In my view, there is little difference between meeting the panel in person or virtually.
There is lot resting on the interview so, of course, I was nervous beforehand. I was worried about performing well. The panel interview takes around two hours so the experience is quite intense.
Preparation is key to easing the nerves. Before the interview I made sure I had a quiet space that was free from distractions. I also had all necessary documentation to hand, such as my ID to verify my identify to the panel.
It’s important to know your responses to the questionnaire very well because the panel pick out sections of the questionnaire to discuss at random. I did have the questionnaire as a reference in front of me throughout the interview, which was helpful.
Working with technology
When anything takes place virtually there is always a risk that the technology might fail but I’m pleased to say that I didn’t have any major problems. There were a few moments when the line broke and I wasn’t able to hear the panel and vice versa but these issues were quickly resolved and didn’t impact on the overall interview process. Again, preparation is an important part of the process.
Overall, my experience of the Test of Competence and the virtual interview was positive. In fact, I recently learnt that I had passed the TOC, which means I am one step closer to my fulfilling my plans to practise in the UK. With the help of Chiropractic Jobs Online I have already secured a position in a practice in Manchester. The next step is to become a registered chiropractor in the UK.
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