Gain the knowledge and skills needed to become a qualified health care professional working in a clinically senior post.

The Advanced Clinical Practitioner (Degree) apprenticeship has been developed to provide you with knowledge and skills to allow you to develop and progress your advanced clinical practice role. You will develop an in-depth and advanced knowledge of your role (ACP). The knowledge is informed by current practice and research. You will develop a critical awareness of the subject matter and be able to demonstrate critical skills, knowledge of your profession demonstrating strategic leadership and education in practice, you will also reflect on your progress as a learner.

What the apprenticeship covers

Advanced Clinical Practitioners are experienced clinicians who demonstrate expertise in their scope of practice. Advanced Clinical Practitioners manage defined episodes of clinical care independently, from beginning to end, providing care and treatment from the time an individual first presents through to the end of the episode, which may include admission, referral or discharge or care at home. They carry out their full range of duties in relation to individuals’ physical and mental healthcare and in acute, primary, urgent and emergency settings (including hospitals, general practice, individuals’ homes, schools and prisons, and in the public, independent, private and charity sectors). They combine expert clinical skills with research, education and clinical leadership within their scope of practice. Advanced Clinical Practitioners work innovatively on a one to one basis with individuals as well as part of a wider team. They work as part of the wider health and social care team and across traditional professional boundaries in health and social care.

What will I study?

During the course you will complete key modules including an advanced practice skills and clinical reasoning module. Using a structured systematic approach to assessing a system this module will allow you to enhance your assessment skills and develop your ability to make clinical decisions. Throughout, key cases will be used and you will be expected to use these skills in clinical practice with supervision from your clinical facilitator.

Modules will also include Pathophysiology, diagnostics and decision making for advanced practice. This will enable you to develop the ability to interpret diagnostics. Pathophysiology components ensure you link this to the investigations that you have requested and undertaken.

Non-medical prescribing is also part of this programme and will be undertaken by all those who are in professions that support prescribing. If you are not able to prescribe then negotiated modules can be undertaken.

Leadership is a key aspect of advanced clinical practice and you will attend a leadership module.

You will complete your MSc with the research modules. The aims of the research modules are to enable you to develop sound knowledge and understanding of different research approaches and methods which will enable you to plan and undertake a substantive dissertation or project in a topic relevant to your profession. Your clinical facilitator, supporting Trust / organisation, Programme Director and/ or Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) will direct you to the most suitable area to research.

Once you have completed the core modules successfully you will have 160 credits. At this point you will have met the apprenticeship standard and will move through a gateway. You will then undertake an end point assessment. This must be passed for you to be awarded the MSc.

All about the course

Core modules

Advanced Practice Skills and Clinical Reasoning (20 credits)

The aim of the module is to facilitate the development of advanced practice assessment and to begin to consider clinical reasoning skills within a consultation framework. Enabling you to undertake and begin to manage complex service user presentations in their area of clinical practice.

Pathophysiology, diagnostics and decision making for advanced practice (20 credits)

The aim of the module is to develop an in-depth understanding of pathophysiological changes within the body and demonstrate knowledge of the evidence base for the use of related diagnostic tools.

Non-medical prescribing programme (40 credits)

Please see the course details. 

Leadership for organisations (20 credits)

The aim of the module is to enable you to understand the complexities of leadership processes within institutions that promote innovation and collaboration across complex organisations to transform Healthcare services and outcomes.

Negotiated module (20 credits) (may be required if you cannot do NMP)

The aim is to choose an aspect of advanced practice and demonstrate your own learning/development.

Enhancing care through research (20 credits)

This module will develop the students’ knowledge and understanding of the importance of research and evidence in the provision of healthcare underpinned by the four pillars for advanced healthcare practice with particular reference to the research pillar. Students will critically explore different research methodologies. The teaching material will consider the nature of research knowledge and introduce different approaches to developing a relevant topic for the dissertation. There will be consideration and development of strategies for finding and selecting information relevant to the proposed topic building on the students’ knowledge gained in the core introductory module. There will be practical guidance in undertaking a literature review using a structured approach to include the development of a matrix of evidence.  The use of key research databases to locate literature will be explored. The process of formulating a focused question to guide the dissertation will be developed with a consideration of ethical principles in research.  The practicalities of working within practical constraints, resource limitations and developing a clear timetable will also be considered.  

There will be a consideration of the different approaches to the critical utilisation of research knowledge including policy, protocols and audit including the critical review of research quality and practice relevance. There will be opportunity to explore practical aspects of collaborative research, social justice and the use of self in research. The module will also explore the importance of the utilisation and dissemination of research with which to inform the provision of healthcare in practice. 

Dissertation (40 credits)

The aim of this module is to enable you to plan and manage a piece of work which demonstrates a critical understanding of the processes undertaken in order to produce a dissertation/project of professional relevance with appropriate academic rigor. The dissertation/project may be an empirical research study, a critical evaluation of practice/literature review or a systematic review.

End point assessment (EPA) 20 credits

As part of the apprenticeship once you have completed 160 credits from the listed modules you will go through a gateway and are required to complete an end point assessment. This will assessed by an independent assessor.

The idea is to assess the overall knowledge , skills and behaviours of those requiring to be an advanced clinical practitioner who have undertaken the apprenticeship route.

Students will undertake a 2 hour exam. This is unseen open book exam. The resources permitted for the open book exam are three referenced written case studies that are derived from the students own practice. The open book exam will have 8 questions that assess the knowledge, skills and behaviours

Students will undertake a presentation of practice that is in two parts. Part 1 is a 1500 word clinical practice report this will be a reflection of the advanced clinical practice role and the 4 pillars of advanced practice need to be clearly demonstrated. Part 2 is a 35 (25 minutes oral presentation and 10 minutes question from the panel) minute oral presentation of the report considering key aspects and needs to demonstrate knowledge , skills and behaviours of the ACP.

The EPA needs to be completed in a maximum three-month period. During this time the student will be prepared for the EPA and undertake the EPA. During this time formative opportunities for the exam and presentation will be given.

There is no formal taught content to this module and the subject/focus of the module is chosen by the participant. The University provides academic support, relevant guidance materials and access to resources.

Learning and teaching

Learning and teaching strategies will involve you as an active participant; you will be encouraged to use self-evaluation and reflection on your own experience to deepen and consolidate your understanding as well as plan for your future learning. Modules are organised using a range of teaching and learning methods to facilitate your academic and professional development. These will involve working both collaboratively, with other students, as well as independently. These methods include a blend of classroom based, online and work-based learning activities.

Teaching and learning methods are supported by technologies e.g. our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) accessed via Blackboard. As the programme uses a blended learning approach it is essential that you access the modules sites on the VLE and actively participate in the learning activities. You will also have access to an ACP discussion forum to ensure that all those attending the course can gain peer support and be able to share their experiences.

To ensure your development as an ACP you will need to develop and maintain a portfolio of evidence that reflects the four pillars of advanced clinical practice: clinical practice, management/leadership, education and research. This details your development in the role as an ACP and reflects on your assessment, diagnostic, prescribing and clinical management of cases. Your trusts/ organisations will have developed competencies bespoke to the clinical setting which they will require you to complete. Although the portfolio and competencies are not an assessed component on this programme, to ensure links between theory and practice several modules will have a practice component as part of their assessment (which must be passed). This will take the form of, for example, a clinical case poster presentation, practice assessment of key skills and practice development project. You will then use these practice assessments to inform your portfolio of evidence.

It is advisable that throughout your programme you choose a ‘buddy’ (critical friend). This person should be a qualified advanced clinical practitioner and be able to support your learning in practice. They are not an assessor or teacher but a suitably qualified practitioner who can offer you support and guidance as appropriate. When you attend the NMP programme there is an expectation that you will select a buddy, please see NMP programme information for further details.

The successful completion of the MSc Advanced clinical practice does not mean that you are able to work as an ACP, you must meet your employer’s requirements through completion of their bespoke competencies to be able to become an ACP. Your Trust/organisation are therefore responsible for ensuring that you have successfully completed the bespoke competencies.

Assessment

Throughout the course your knowledge and skills will be informally assessed through a variety of learning activities. You will be encouraged to engage in self-assessment and may be actively involved in peer assessment. Formative assessment (during the module but not part of the final assessment) opportunities will be offered within each module as a part of your on-going learning. For example this may take the form of a case discussion, an essay plan or presentation where you will been given formative feedback by the module leader.

For each 20 credit module, the assessments are weighted at 4000 words or equivalent. Formal or summative assessment will take place throughout the programme and may include essays/ reports, reflective writing such as a critical reflection, case studies, written exams, and practical skills assessment for example an OSCE (Observed, Structured, and Clinical Examinations) and oral individual presentations. Assessments are designed to measure your knowledge, understanding and skills, and are based on the postgraduate criteria for assessment. All assessments focus on your ability to progress and integrate theory and practice enabling you to demonstrate the fulfilment of the module learning outcomes.

Professional accreditation

Upon completion of the programme you may be able to credential with the Centre for Advanced Clinical Practice or the RCN (if a nurse).

More information

Full information on the apprenticeship standard

Find out more about apprenticeships

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Associated partners

Carebridge
The Graham Care Group
The Huntercombe Group
Medway Council
NHS
Pilgrims Hospices
The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust
Strode Park Foundation