The Curriculum


The training curriculum is the most important document related to the training programme and should always be a primary resource for Trainees and Trainers. It defines the overarching Training Goals, Training Outcomes, expected learning experiences, instructional resources and assessments that comprise the HST programme. 


The curriculum employs an Outcome Based Education (OBE) approach. This means the curriculum prioritises the progression of the Trainee’s experience towards the achievement of Training Goals and Training Outcomes. 


The HST curriculum is available on the RCPI website anytime. To access it, click on the relevant specialty, and select the curriculum for the training year your Trainee commenced the HST programme. We highly recommend that you download and/or bookmark the curriculum for easy reference throughout the training year.


What is an Outcome Based Education (OBE) curriculum?


An OBE approach aims to employ a usable and relatable curriculum that is aligned clearly with actual workplace practice. The training needs of the Trainee are prioritised in the design of the curriculum, focusing on what they need to do in order to gain mastery of the tasks expected from them. 


By adhering to an OBE curriculum design it is acknowledged that, while the HST programme provides a standardised organisation of training overall, the individual experience of each Trainee may be different. Some skills are learned quickly, others require more practice to achieve competency. The OBE curriculum takes this into consideration by allowing Trainees the flexibility to develop/advance at their own pace. 


How does OBE work? 


In an OBE curriculum development, the first step is identifying the overarching Training Goals in your specialty. Each Training Goal is then broken down into specific Training Outcomes which outline necessary workplace skills or tasks. Criteria for measuring progression and competency in the Training Goals are determined and the steps to achieve the Outcomes are outlined in the curriculum.  


In addition to curricular requirements, with an OBE curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on the Trainee working with their Trainer to set personal goals for each training post. These goals are aligned with the concurrent phase of training and are reviewed through regular feedback and workplace-based assessment, as well as formal assessments (i.e. Quarterly Assessment).



How to Use The Curriculum


Both Trainees and Trainers require a good working knowledge of the curriculum and should use it as a guide for the training programme. 


For each training year, Trainees are expected to develop their skills in each Training Goal and record evidence of training against each Outcome in their ePortfolio. 


You will meet with your Trainee to set out goals for the training year in line with the curriculum. You will then assess the Trainee to evaluate their progress toward each Training Goal. You will determine if your Trainee’s progress meets expectations for that point in training. 


Overview of Curriculum


The curriculum includes three main sections:


Expected Experience:

This is the training experience that all Trainees are expected to complete over the course of HST.


Core Professional Skills:

The core professional skills incorporate the eight domains of good professional practice: Patient Safety and Quality in Patient Care, Relating to Patients, Communication and Interpersonal Skills, Collaboration and Teamwork, Management (including self-management), Scholarship, Professionalism, Clinical (Professional) Skills.


Training Goals and Outcomes:

This is the section of the curriculum specific to your specialty. Here you can find the specialty-specific Training Goals and Outcomes that Trainees should achieve by the end of the HST.


Example – Overview of Curriculum:




The curriculum appendices include the Assessment Appendix and the Teaching Appendix. The first relates to Assessment (i.e. Workplace Based Assessments and Evaluations). The second relates to Teaching Attendance (i.e. RCPI HST Taught Programme,[1] Specialty-Specific Learning Activities and Study Days).

The key components of the curriculum are Training Goals, and the related Training Outcomes for each of these Goals. 


Training Goals


The OBE curriculum identifies overarching Training Goals. These reflect the skills expected of a higher specialist and subspecialty areas considered of importance to Trainee development. 


You can find each Training Goal as a new heading in the curriculum.


Example – Training Goal:



Training Outcomes


Each Training Goal is divided into achievable units of competency called Training Outcomes. Outcomes reflect closely the day-to-day practice of Trainees and offer a tangible link between service provision and the training programme. 


By the end of HST, your Trainee should demonstrate an ability to meet each Outcome. To achieve competency in each Outcome they may perform defined activities, such as:


  • Recording case experiences 
  • Receiving informal feedback 
  • Undergoing workplace-based assessments
  • Engaging with the HST Taught Programme
  • Attending Study Days 
  • Assessments and Evaluations 


You can see Outcomes under the main points of each Training Goal in the curriculum along with key indicators and areas of focus for feedback to help achieve competency. 


Example - Outcome:




Assessment and Evaluation


As your Trainee progressively gains experience, they will have the opportunity to regularly self-assess and decide which areas to prioritise at different stages of their training. Through informal feedback as well as completion of formal assessments, you will help your Trainee contextualise their training experiences, establishing a partnership fostered by an effective and actionable feedback practice. You will be responsible for evaluating the quality of your Trainee’s progression towards Training Goals and Outcomes and identifying opportunities for remediation when needed.


Trainers are encouraged to use the curriculum as the foundation of discussions with Trainees, particularly during goal-setting, feedback and assessment processes. 


There are three key points of assessment within the training programme:


  1. Frequent Observed Training Events

e.g. regular Feedback Opportunities and Workplace Based Assessments. Corresponding forms should be completed in ePortfolio to document training events.


  1. Personal Goals and Quarterly Assessment  

The Trainee and Trainer will meet at the start of a post to discuss expectations and opportunities available, setting specific goals for the training year ahead. The Trainee and Trainer will then meet at the end of each quarter to review and evaluate progress against curriculum Training Goals and Outcomes, specific personal goals and overall professionalism. Corresponding forms will be completed in ePortfolio.


  1. End of Year Evaluation 

The Trainee will attend an End of Year Evaluation at the end of each training year for the global assessment of performance (encompassing steps 1 and 2). The Trainee is expected to have all training records up to date and appropriately completed. A corresponding form will be completed in ePortfolio.





Each Trainee is expected to engage with the curriculum by maintaining an ePortfolio in which training activities, assessments and feedback opportunities must be recorded. You can access ePortfolio anytime by logging into the RCPI Website and clicking the link to ePortfolio in your Digital Hub. Once logged into ePortfolio, you will be able to view records for each of your Trainees.


ePortfolio allows Trainees to build up evidence to inform decisions on progress at Quarterly Assessments and End of Year Evaluations. It also provides support tools to identify further educational and development opportunities. It is imperative that Trainees keep their ePortfolio up to date throughout the training programme. 


It’s important to note that ePortfolio is a digital repository designed to reflect curriculum requirements. It facilitates recording of progress through HST and evidence that training is valid and appropriate. While a complete ePortfolio is essential for HST certification, Trainees and Trainers should always refer to the curriculum in the first instance for information on the requirements of the training programme.



Need Help?


If you have any queries about using the curriculum, please do not hesitate to contact and we will be happy to assist you.

1. The HST Taught Programme is an essential element of the HST curriculum. It consists of a series of modular elements spread across the years of HST covering core professional skills requirements of the training curriculum such as communication, ethics, etc. The programme is delivered via a combination of self-paced online content, live virtual tutorials, and in-person workshops.