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FAQs

CONTENTS

 

FOUNDATION IN MUSCULOSKELETAL MEDICINE MODULE (SOMM DIPLOMA IN MUSCULOSKELETAL MEDICINE)

Am I eligible to attend?

The module is open to all HCPC Registered Professionals, registered Nurses, registered Medical Practitioners and registered Osteopaths (or those with an overseas equivalent qualification).

Can I pay by Invoice? 

All courses are booked and paid for via the SOMM website.  Invoices can only be raised by contacting the office and should be settled 6 weeks prior to the course commencement date. Please contact the SOMM office for further information: admin@sommcourses.org

My employer wants to pay on my behalf? How can they do this?

All bookings are completed via the SOMM website.  It is possible for your employer to visit the website on your behalf.  Alternatively we can provide letter headed receipts in order for you to claim your course fees back from your employer.  If this is not possible please contact the SOMM office to discuss alternatives: admin@sommcourses.org

Can I pay in instalments?

Yes, all SOMM courses can be paid for in instalments, providing payment is received in full in advance of the first day of the course.  Please contact the SOMM office for further information: admin@sommcourses.org

Do I need to be practising in the UK to attend?

No. All students should have a professional qualification, and should be registered with the appropriate professional body. Students based within the European Economic Area (EEA) will need to provide evidence of registration with their equivalent home organisation.  International students (i.e. outside the EEA) will need to have a current visa to study in the UK.  All students in the categories above should be able to provide evidence of opportunities to practise musculoskeletal medicine.

When do I take my exam?

The SOMM membership exam is taken on the final day of Unit 3.

Can I do the exam at a later date?

We encourage all students to take the exam at this time but if you have any concerns please speak to the Module Coordinator and/or Tutor.

What does the exam at the end of Unit 3 involve?

  • True/False paper 75% pass mark with no negative marking.
  • Practical viva 50% pass mark (may video record)

When can I expect to get results for the Foundation exam, or for any assignment, including the reflective essay/personal development plan?

20 working days is the normal maximum number of days to get your results to you. In busy times it may be slightly longer, especially if your work needs to be moderated by Queen Margaret University (QMU) or the External Examiner.

How long do I have to re-sit if I fail the whole or part of the exam?

You will have two years to re-sit the part you failed, or you will need to sit the whole exam again i.e. both parts.

What is the time frame for achieving the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine?

The SOMM Diploma course is normally completed within 12-24 months.  The course allows flexibility but a gap of four months between each unit is recommended, to provide time for practice and assimilation of techniques.

The reflective essay and personal development plan are completed to gain the SOMM Diploma after the Membership exams have been passed. These need to be submitted within two years of passing the exams but students normally aim to gain the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine within approximately six months after passing their exams.

Is the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine validated by a university?

The SOMM Diploma is validated by Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

How many credits is the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine worth?

As well as a stand-alone award, the SOMM Diploma can be used to access SOMM’s MSc Musculoskeletal Medicine programme and forms the first 60 master’s level credits of that programme.

Can I carry the SOMM credits over to a different MSc at a different university?

It’s best to enquire with the specific university since the full 60 credits may not be accepted, depending on the subject of the master’s programme. All universities vary slightly so you will need to ask the university you wish to transfer the credits to what their process is.

What qualifications will I gain on completion of the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine?

The SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine is awarded upon successful completion of Units 1, 2 and 3, having passed the membership exam and reflective essay with personal development plan. You are then entitled to use the post nominals MSOMM.

Is there any inter-unit course work?

Case report one is prepared during the first inter-unit period and is based on a peripheral lesion encountered in clinical practice, supported by relevant references.

Case report two is prepared during the second inter-unit period and is based on a spinal lesion encountered in clinical practice, supported by relevant references.

Both case reports are referenced and are 2,500 words in length.  Feedback is given by a tutor.

The case reports are not compulsory but are recommended to consolidate learning.

The case reports are included in your professional development portfolio as evidence of the achievement of the learning outcomes. This evidence is valuable for the summative reflective essay.

You will also be encouraged to review the content of each unit as you progress through the module.

Who will be teaching on my module?

Experienced SOMM teaching fellows travel the country to teach on the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine modules.  The Module Coordinator and tutor you have on Unit 1 may differ from the Module Coordinator and tutor you have on Unit 2.

What are the start and finish times?

Registration will take place at 8.30am on the first day of any Foundation Module Unit.  Day 2 and day 3 with start at 9am and finish at 5pm.  Day 4 will start at 9am and finish at 3pm

Do I have to complete the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine within a given time frame?

The SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine must be completed within two years of passing the Membership exams.

Can I submit my reflective essay and personal development plan although I did my Unit 3 (Module C) years ago?

The reflective essay asks you to demonstrate with evidence that you have achieved the learning outcomes of the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine module and it’s important that the evidence provided for that relates to current or very recent practice.

If you passed your Membership exams within the previous 2 years you may submit your reflective essay in the usual way. If more than 2 years have elapsed, you may submit your reflective essay but you must complete an additional piece of work that includes a reflection that you have continued to practise at the level achieved when you passed the Membership Exam.

The reflection requested should be cross-referred to evidence within the essay so that it’s clear that you are up to date.  This is best done by making reference to your CV and the specific roles held since passing the Membership Exams.  There is a fee for marking this.

The personal development plan looks forward, so will be relevant whenever you complete your reflective essay.

Please contact the admin@sommcourses.org  for further information.

I completed Units 1 and 2 several years ago, can I still do Unit 3 or will I have to repeat the modules?

You do not have to repeat Units 1 and 2 again but you need to commit to doing a considerable amount of reading and revision of all previous material to refresh yourself. There may be some changes  and updates of techniques but these will be reviewed on the Unit 3.

ADVANCED MODULES

What are the entry criteria?

The ‘Theory and Practice of Injection Therapy’ module is open to all HCPC registered Professionals, registered Nurses, registered Medical Practitioners and registered Osteopaths. They must have satisfied the assessment requirements of the Foundation in Musculoskeletal Medicine module; or agreed entry requirements. They must be practising within the professional and legal framework of the country in which they work with appropriate supervision in place (guidelines will be provided).  Successful completion of SOMM’s Foundation in Musculoskeletal Medicine module is recommended. (See FAQ below.)

The ‘Advancing Practice in Musculoskeletal Medicine’ module, is open to all experienced HCPC registered Professionals, registered Nurses, registered Medical Practitioners and registered Osteopaths. Successful completion of SOMM’s Foundation in Musculoskeletal Medicine module is recommended.

For the ‘Developing Professional Practice’ module, students must be registered on the MSc Musculoskeletal Medicine.

The ‘Special Tests in Musculoskeletal Examination’ module, is open to all experienced HCPC Registered Professionals, registered Nurses, registered Medical Practitioners and registered Osteopaths. This normally means that they have evidence of experience in working with musculoskeletal lesions and of studying postgraduate musculoskeletal therapy courses, which may include different approaches.  Successful completion of SOMM’s Foundation in Musculoskeletal Medicine module is recommended.

PLEASE NOTE: ‘Special Tests in Musculoskeletal Examination’ is currently under review and will not be available in the 2021 course programme.

For the ‘Preparation for Teaching Musculoskeletal Medicine’ (Fellowship) module, there is a separate application procedure and details are available from admin@sommcourses.org . Prospective students must have completed the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine. (Prospective students who may have completed courses with other associations will be considered on a case by case basis.) If you are interested in becoming a tutor, please contact the office on admin@sommcourses.org who will keep your details on file and let you know when a vacancy arises.

Can I do the Injection Therapy module as a stand-alone course?

Yes (see next FAQ).

Do I need to have completed the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine to attend the Injection Therapy module?

Not necessarily but you must be able to provide evidence that you have studied musculoskeletal medicine at a postgraduate level and are experienced in working with musculoskeletal lesions.

To attend our ‘Theory and Practice of Injection Therapy’ module, you should be an experienced practitioner wishing to integrate these skills into the clinical management of patients with musculoskeletal disorders. It is important that in acquiring injection therapy skills you will be practising within the professional and legal framework of the country in which you are working, with appropriate supervision in place as you progress through the module.

If students haven’t completed the Foundation in Musculoskeletal Medicine module, it will help them to do some pre-course reading to review anatomy and surface marking. The textbook ‘A Practical Approach to Musculoskeletal Medicine’ was written to accompany SOMM’s Foundation in Musculoskeletal Medicine module and is a useful reference for review (ATKINS, E., KERR, J. and GOODLAD, E., 2016. A practical approach to musculoskeletal medicine. 4th ed. Oxford: Elsevier.

Before attending the injection therapy module, it is essential that a supervisor and route for obtaining the relevant drugs (under PGD/PSD) are in place for the inter-unit course work (i.e. the portfolio of ten supervised injections).

What injectable substances are normally covered within the course?

We mainly go through the use, side effects, efficacy and effectiveness of common corticosteroids (e.g. Kenalog) and local anaesthetics (e.g. Lidocaine) in MSK practice. Their use, mechanism and side-effects in joints and soft tissue pathologies are included and current evidence will be discussed.

Other injections are included, such as hyaluronic acid (HA) injections (Ostenil), Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and Autologous Whole Blood (AWB) injections.’

Can SOMM help me find a supervisor?

Regrettably not. It is the responsibility of the student to have a supervisor in place for the 10 supervised injections, prior to attending Unit 1.

Can I have more than one supervisor?

Yes – it is possible to have more than one supervisor but normally no more than two.

MSC MUSCULOSKELETAL MEDICINE PROGRAMME

What do I need to be able to step onto the MSc Musculoskeletal Medicine programme?

  • A relevant professional medical or physiotherapy qualification.
  • Registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) or General Medical Council (GMC). Students based within the European Economic Area (EEA) will need to provide evidence of registration with their equivalent home organisation.  International students (i.e. outside the EEA) will need to be registered with the UK HCPC or GMC as appropriate to their professional qualification and must also have a current visa to study in the UK.
  • Evidence of opportunities to practise musculoskeletal medicine.
  • Successful completion of all of the assessment components of the accredited Society of Musculoskeletal Medicine Diploma Course, including the reflective essay (60 master’s level credits; Level 11 in Scotland; Level 7 in the rest of the UK); or
  • Successful completion of accredited courses in musculoskeletal medicine provided by affiliated organisations, i.e. Orthopaedic Medicine International (OMI) (UK); Orthopaedic Medicine Seminars (OMS); Irish Society of Orthopaedic Medicine (ISOM), the Cyriax Foundation and European Teaching Group of Orthopaedic Medicine (ETGOM) with demonstration of their achievement of the learning outcomes of the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine through submission of a reflective essay and personal development plan to SOMM. There is a fee for this. (These students will not be entitled to claim credits from Queen Margaret University.) Or
  • Sufficient verbal and written skills in English – this must include the ability to communicate the principles and practice of musculoskeletal medicine. This will be evidenced within the portfolio reflective essay, plus face to face or telephone interview as appropriate. English tests are not essential but a level equivalent to an IELTS score of 6.5 is required and students may be requested to take the test if that level is not evident in the pre-requisite assessment procedures.
  • The ability to think and write at master’s level, as evidenced through the reflective essay.
  • Satisfactory references.

What time frame do I have where my SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine is valid to join the MSc programme?

You normally have 5 years after gaining the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine to step onto the MSc programme. Please contact admin@sommcourses.org if you gained the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine more than 5 years previously as an extra assignment will need to be completed.

If I apply to do the MSc this year, would I have to complete all the modules/course work within that academic year? If not what time frame do I have to complete it?

No. You can spread the MSc over five years, from the point of registering/stepping onto the MSc. Students who have already completed the advanced/optional modules before stepping onto the MSc usually complete it in 12-18 months.

Is it possible to submit the MSc dissertation from abroad?

Yes, provided you have been given appropriate ethical approval and are insured to conduct your study in your home country. You do need to have fulfilled the entry criteria to be able to step onto the MSc programme in the first place though, including registration with the HCPC or GMC, or your equivalent home organisation, for students within the EEA.

Can I bring my credits from my PG Cert in Sports Physiotherapy (for example) towards the MSc?

You can only put those credits towards specific modules at the PG Dip stage through Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) and that’s considered on a case by case basis. Guidelines for submission of an RPL claim are available from our admin team admin@sommcourses.org . The PG Cert will not exempt you from the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine, or that equivalent level achieved via an affiliated organisation teaching the musculoskeletal medicine approach.

Is it necessary to attend Queen Margaret University for all the Modules?

No. The MSc is conducted as a blended learning programme. Attendance is normally required for the advanced/optional modules. This is usually at another venue (normally Liverpool), if not Queen Margaret University. The Research Methods and Dissertation, and Developing Professional Practice modules are all distance learning and do not require any attendance.

It is recommended that you attend the two-day induction for the MSc Musculoskeletal Medicine which takes place in September each year. However, this may also be attended virtually.

Is the MSc Musculoskeletal Medicine accredited by any other organisation?

Yes – the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Can I do the advanced/optional modules first and then join the MSc Musculoskeletal Medicine programme at a later date?

Yes, but they must have been completed within the five years before stepping onto the programme. If not, an additional piece of work is required to update the modules.

Do I have to pay all the fees upfront?

No. SOMM offers a monthly instalment plan for the MSc.  For more information on this please contact

admin@sommcourses.org

I have not completed my reflective essay and personal development plan, but can I start the MSc?

The reflective essay and personal development plan need to be completed and passed before a place will be offered.

Is there an option for students to complete PG Dip Musculoskeletal Medicine and complete the dissertation at a later date? If so, is there a time frame for this?

A student normally completes the whole MSc. However if personal circumstances dictate, and exceptional circumstances are granted, they can exit with a PG Dip and return to complete the MSc at a later date, provided they are still within their maximum period of registration i.e. complete it within 5 years of first registering for the MSc. They will also need to surrender the PG Dip award certificate should they come back to complete the MSc.

What support will I receive when registered on the MSc?

You will be allocated a Clinical Advisor (SOMM tutors) when you start your research methods module. Your Clinical Advisor is also your Personal Academic Tutor for the whole of your MSc journey. Once you step onto the Dissertation Module you will receive the name of your Academic Advisors (QMU staff). On top of this support you will always have the support of the MSc Programme Lead, the QMU Link Tutor, all the SOMM Module Coordinators, tutors and SOMM office staff.

What are the MSc Musculoskeletal Medicine Assessment regulations?

  • Retakes cannot be awarded more than 50%
  • If a piece of written work exceeds the specified word limit by 10% or more it will receive a maximum mark of 50%
  • Late submission (if not agreed) for first assessment, after the due date, but within one calendar week (i.e. up to 6 days after submission date), a maximum mark of 50% can be awarded. If 7 days or more late then 0%
  • If a retake (2nd and 3rd attempt) and is late, then 0% is awarded

 

HEE FCP/AP Supervisor Training Courses

What is the FCP and AP supervisor training course?

This 2-day supervisor training course is aimed at senior clinicians, who will provide supervision and support to clinicians wishing to pursue a career as FCPs or APs, or existing FCPs or APs, in Primary Care in England. The course also provides clear guidance on the expected supervision and responsibilities required to support the Roadmap to practice, so that the key objectives of this MSK Roadmap are achieved.

Who will be eligible for this 2-day supervisor training course?

To be eligible for the FCPs and APs supervisor training course, you need to be currently working in a Primary Care MSK service in England (either NHS or external partners):

  • as an AP with a postgraduate Master’s degree (FHEQ Level 7); or
  • as a clinician holding a full postgraduate Master’s degree and working in MSK; or
  • as a Consultant Physiotherapist working in MSK; or
  • as a GP Trainer or medical doctor in an integrated MSK service.

What is the structure of the course?

Each course consists of day 1 and day 2, six-hours per day. In order to complete the training and be a HEE recognised FCPs and APs supervisor, you are required to complete both training 2

days in the same month. Each course will have a maximum of 14 places, and will be delivered by two trainers from SOMM, who have successfully completed the recognised HEE training.

The 2-day course consists of a combination of lecture presentations, discussion, interactive activity and regular breaks. This will be delivered via a virtual platform, Zoom. Once your application is accepted, you will also be sent some recommended pre-course reading, to enable you to enjoy and make the most of your training. The administration team from SOMM will email you the Zoom joining details a few days before your course.

Do I have to pay for the course?

No, the 2-day training course is free for eligible applicants, funded by HEE. It is open to a maximum of 2 supervisors per Trust/organisation. We will therefore keep a record of your workplace and organisation in the HEE Directory.

What are the layers of governance for these roles?

  • HCPC registration
  • Supervision
  • Care Quality Commission
  • Department of Health and Social Care

What does it mean when I have successfully completed the 2-day course?

When you have completed the 2-day course, you will be put on a list of verified FCP/AP supervisors regionally, which will be transferred to and held on a directory at HEE’s Centre of Advancing Practice, once it has been fully established.

When you become a verified FCP/AP supervisor, you will be responsible for providing supervision and support to clinicians wishing to pursue a career as FCPs or APs, or existing FCPs or APs. You, your trainee and employer have the shared responsibility and accountability to allocate protected time for the different types of supervision, providing constructive feedback, debriefing, verifying a portfolio of evidence and carrying out workplace-based assessment (WPBA).

Important reading – Supporting document:

The First Contact Practitioners and Advanced Practitioners in Primary Care: (Musculoskeletal) A Roadmap to Practice document.

FAQs from HEE

Further FAQs can be found on the HEE website.

If you require further information or support, please send a message via our contact page or email us on admin@sommcourses.org

MEMBERSHIP

 

How can I change my contact details?

Please contact admin@sommcourses.org

What letters can I use after my name?

After you have completed the SOMM Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine to become a fully subscribed Member of the Society you are able to add MSOMM after your name.

Can I have access to the SOMM logo for my website and advertising materials within my practice?

If you are a fully subscribed Member of SOMM then you are able to use SOMM advertising material but conditions apply.  Please contact the office for further details: admin@sommcourses.org .