Experience of credentialing – the viva

In 2017, Juliet Shepherd shared her thoughts about credentialing as she was preparing to submit her portfolio. Here, she updates us on her progress and lets us know how she found the final stages of credentialing: the viva.

"I managed to get all my evidence in on time.  It was checked and approved and so the viva was set for the day before conference started on the 12th October.  Most importantly of all, I passed!  I am now a full member of the CMHP!

"I made sure that I read through my portfolios and knew what work I had submitted and why.  I did some reading on areas that I knew I tended to get confused about, for examples how medications interact with lithium.  It all felt a bit rushed as the week before the viva, my Mum went into hospital for a knee replacement, I had a big family gathering and we were preparing for the CMHP conference!  I don’t think there is ever an ideal lead up to big events like this.

"Most of all, I tried to stay calm!  I read into the viva process, so I knew that there would be three case studies randomly selected.  I would have 15 minutes to prepare with text books and then would be into the viva with my notes.

"15 minutes is a very short space of time.  Opening text books eats into the time so fast!  But I had basic notes on all the case studies to take into the viva.

"The viva is difficult but I found that the further we went on, the more I remembered, so my answers ended up being quite random as I remembered more for the question before whilst answering another.  I managed to cover most of the facts that I wanted to by the end.  There were some things that I did not know the answer to.  I was truthful about that but I knew where I would look to find the facts that I needed.

"One of the parts of the viva was clarifying some of my portfolio entries.  I had probably been too sparse with my descriptions, or missed the point of a question and so the panel could ask me about a project I had done and get more information.

"As I don’t respond well to being put under a microscope, I did wonder how necessary the viva really was, but all in all I think it was worth the pain!"

- Juliet Shepherd, CMHP President, January 2018