Advanced Clinical Practice Postgraduate Degree Launches at AECC University College

AECC University College is delighted to have launched a postgraduate degree in Advanced Clinical Practice. The Masters degree is aimed at qualified healthcare professionals who are looking to develop their knowledge and skills further, working towards an advanced level of clinical practice. 

Associate Professor in Advancing Practice at AECC University College, Hilary Walsgrove, joins us from Bournemouth University where she was the Programme Leader for the MSc Advanced Clinical Practice programme.  

She explains more about the course and what sets it apart:  

“The MSc Advanced Clinical Practice programme is a part-time course, which students generally take over three years – although we do allow a maximum of five years. Students on the course are in employment, usually working a minimum of 20 hours a week, with a day release to come to us and study on the course.  

“This programme is for experienced healthcare professionals who want to stay patient-facing and are motivated to improve patient care and work at a more advanced level within their role.  

“Our aim was to build a programme to increase the capacity and flexibility for further development for healthcare professionals locally.” 

What does the Course Offer Healthcare Professionals?  

“It felt fantastic to be able to create a brand new Advanced Clinical Practice course. We aim to provide an education and training package that goes towards transforming healthcare professionals’ roles into that of an Advanced Clinical Practitioner.  

“Healthcare professionals who come into Advanced Clinical Practice already have experience and expertise. They have usually worked in Clinical Practice in an appropriate role for at least three years.”  

Developing Course Content  

“Our MSc Advanced Clinical Practice programme is benchmarked against the capability framework from Health Education England, which was published in 2017. All of our intended learning outcomes map against these capabilities.  This enables student/trainee ACPs to learn and develop appropriately, working towards meeting all the capabilities across the four pillars of Advanced Clinical Practice 

“A lot of the content of the course takes a work-based learning perspective. Students on the course will come onto campus for the theoretical and techniques elements of the programme, but the real learning takes place in their workplace. This means their colleagues and supervisors are bound up in the work that they are doing on the course: it’s a partnership approach.  

“When we were setting up the course, we created a skeleton framework for the course content and we then held a stakeholder event. 80 people attended our event from a whole range of different professions, including Service and Education Leads of the local NHS organisations, Advanced Clinical Practice leads, and Advanced Clinical Practitioners. It was a fantastic session where we discussed and debated what should be included on the course. 

“As a result of this, we can feel confident that the content of our Advanced Clinical Practice course is totally aligned to the requirements of the NHS workforce.”  

Opportunity for Non-Prescribing Professions  “We were aware of some gaps and areas of inflexibility in current Advanced Clinical Practice courses, particularly for healthcare professionals in non-prescribing professions – such as Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists.  

“Usually, an Advanced Clinical Practice programme will include prescribing. We offer an alternative to this: students still learn about Pharmacology, to ensure they are able to work to the same standard as someone who was prescribing, in terms of drug histories and medication.  

“We’re not excluding students from prescribing professions, as they are still able to study on the programme and do the prescribing module elsewhere, but we wanted to open up the opportunity to non-prescribing professions.” 

Championing Course Flexibility  

“We want to offer applicants to this course flexibility in terms of the content and include profession-specific elements.   

“All of our modules are core modules, to ensure we meet the Advanced Clinical Practice framework. Within these, however, is the capacity to adapt these to individual needs and the needs of their service. Students will create a Personal Development Plan with their workplace supervisor and personal tutor, ensuring their learning incorporates key elements and competencies required by the role or specialism that they are in.” 

“Developing this course is part of our commitment to building a Continuing Professional Development framework for qualified healthcare professionals in our local area.”  

You can find out more about our MSc Advanced Clinical Practice course here