What is Advanced Practice?

Everything you need to know

If you are a qualified Clinician who is interested in Advanced Practice and becoming an Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP), or Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) then take a look at our handy guide with everything you need to know about Advanced Practice.

What is an Advanced Practitioner?

Advanced Clinical Practitioners and Advanced Nurse Practitioners are healthcare professionals who come from a variety of professional backgrounds and settings including but not limited to nursing, pharmacy, paramedics, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy.

They are educated to a Masters level or equivalent and have developed their skills and knowledge to take on expanded roles and widen their professional abilities. They work across all healthcare settings and work at an advanced level that demonstrates the four Advanced Practice pillars:

  • clinical practice
  • leadership and management
  • education
  • research

Health Education England (HEE), in association with its multi-disciplinary partners, has developed the following definition of advanced practice:

“Advanced practice is delivered by experienced, registered health and care practitioners. It is a level of practice characterised by a high degree of autonomy and complex decision making. This is underpinned by a master’s level award or equivalent that encompasses the four pillars of clinical practice, leadership and management, education and research, with demonstration of core capabilities and area specific clinical competence.

Advanced practice embodies the ability to manage clinical care in partnership with individuals, families and carers. It includes the analysis and synthesis of complex problems across a range of settings, enabling innovative solutions to enhance people’s experience and improve outcomes.”

What role does an Advanced Practitioner play?

Advanced Practitioners support clinical care providers to enhance the capacity and capability within multi-professional teams.

They demonstrate expertise and professional judgement to achieve these capabilities in areas such as: clinical examination, diagnostic decision making and therapeutics, critical thinking, clinical decision-making, and the leadership they demonstrate in their teams and services.

Advanced Practitioners must develop skills in a range of clinical areas on top of their core clinical specialty. They will have expertise in a specific area but need clinical examination skills and know various diagnostics and treatment options. This will enable them to identify and act upon issues across a range of clinical systems.

 What does it take to become an Advanced Practitioner?

All registered healthcare professionals are eligible, but most trusts and universities require around five years of clinical experience and will be educated to a Masters Level in clinical practice (Level 7/Masters level)

A MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice requires the completion of 180 credits and may consist of modules that include pathophysiology, clinical examination, project management, non-medical prescribing, clinical reasoning, practitioner competence, research, and education modules.

The variety of modules demonstrate the skills required to meet the four pillars of advanced practice (Health Education England, 2017) and provide a general base of knowledge to create a generic ACP.

The four pillars that demonstrate a clinician’s ability to work at an Advanced Practice level are:

  • clinical practice
  • leadership and management
  • education
  • research
What are the Benefits of becoming an Advanced Practitioner?

Advanced Practitioners can bridge gaps within the MDT, bringing professions together as they have the necessary knowledge, skills, training, and qualifications. Other than a pay increase and more responsibilities, the benefits across the board include the following:

  • more flexibility within the team
  • exciting role and opportunity
  • Advanced Practitioners are identified as an essential part of the NHS Long Term Plan
  • improved patient journey, better-informed patients, and patient-focused care
  • improvements in the continuity of patient care and in standards of service
  • better communication between patients and the multi-disciplinary team
  • increasing job satisfaction
  • assisting recruitment and retention
  • addressing the potential skills gap

For more information on Advanced Practice visit the Health Education England website here: https://advanced-practice.hee.nhs.uk/

If you are interested in locum work or are looking for Advanced Practitioners to support your services, we can help. Speak with our team today on 0333 800 0395 or email recruitment@hallammedical.com

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