Advanced Clinical Practice - MSc
Advanced clinical practitioners are experienced clinicians who demonstrate expertise in their scope of practice (Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, 2018)....
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Advanced clinical practitioners are experienced clinicians who demonstrate expertise in their scope of practice (Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, 2018). Advanced clinical practice is delivered by experienced, registered health and care practitioners and is a level of practice characterised by a high degree of autonomy and complex decision making (Health Education England (HEE), 2017).
If you have any questions or queries about the course, please contact Sharon Bishop before applying. You can email Sharon.Bishop@bcu.ac.uk.
What's covered in this course?
Through evolving professional roles, practitioners are increasingly encouraged to develop advanced clinical skills, critical thinking and problem solving which enables them to meet the changing needs of patients through the development of new, accessible approaches to care and service delivery. This innovative course is designed to inform, enhance and develop practitioners’ advancing clinical roles, incorporating the four pillars of advanced practice; clinical practice; leadership and management; education and research (HEE, 2017).
You will be supported within the University setting as well as your own organisation to build on existing professional skills, knowledge and experience in order to develop the advanced skill set required of an autonomous practitioner, whilst meeting the complexity of modern healthcare challenges. Provision of opportunities to investigate, critically appraise and understand the evidence base for practice will develop your critical awareness, in order to further improve and advance practice through strategic development, leadership, education and innovation. You will be required to identify a clinical supervisor who will be able to support you throughout the course.
We are committed to providing excellent, innovative, learning, teaching and assessment experiences. We use technology to enhance your learning, through lectures, seminars, skills, simulation and virtual learning. Engagement of practice partners and service users in all areas of learning, teaching and assessment is integral to our approach. Our evidence based curriculum will empower you to develop and maintain high quality, safe and effective interdisciplinary advanced clinical practice provision.
Completion of this Masters course and successful integration of the advanced practice capabilities into the workplace provides you with the foundation for further career and academic development and progression, such as the attainment of Consultant Practitioner status and further doctoral studies.
“I've been educated, trained and supported throughout my entire career by Birmingham City University. I've been very impressed right from my first days as an undergraduate, and they seem to be very focused on what nursing requires in terms of skills, knowledge and a critical ability out there in the clinical practice ”
Why Choose Us?
- Winners of the Student Nursing Times Post-Registration Education Provider of the Year Award 2017
- This course follows the Health Education England framework
- The BCU ACP course is part of the West Midlands HEI ACP Advisory Group
- Reputation for excellence – we have over 20 years’ experience of training advanced practitioners and are one of the largest and most diverse providers of health and social care education in the country
- Enhance your professional credibility - we will enrol you in the region’s largest provider of qualified health and social care professionals to the NHS
- Our tutors have a range of clinical experience including Critical Care, Emergency and Urgent Care, and Primary Care, across regional and national developments in Advanced Practice.
- Benefit from our strong partnerships across health and social care providers both within the UK and internationally
- Learn in our £71 million campus with state-of-the-art environments and access to our cutting-edge virtual technologies and one of the UK’s largest specialist health education libraries
Current registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) or Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) or the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)
3 years post-registration clinical experience will be required. This experience needs to be related to the clinical environment within which you will be working at an advanced practice level
Evidence of study at level 6 in relevant subject area gained within the previous 5 years
Be employed in a role where there is an agreement from the employing organisation that the applicant will be supported and developed to work at an advanced practice level. This will include the need to allow protected learning time for both attendance at University and additional time for practice learning
Identification of a clinical supervisor
Consideration may be given for applicants with significant clinical experience who have not completed a first degree but have level 6 credits, or applicants whose academic level 6 credits were awarded more than 5 years prior to applying to complete the course. Candidates will be required to complete pre-offer work for assessment by the course team to deem suitability for entry onto the course.
Qualifications and clinical experience that are not listed will be considered on an individual basis.
All applicants will be interviewed.
Applicants must provide a completed and signed clinical manager support form completed at interview.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2021
- Part Time
- 3 years
Sorry, this course is not available to International students.
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Specialist equipment (mandatory)
You may want to purchase your own stethoscope for use in clinical environments. They cost approximately £80-100.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.
You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.
You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Important information about fees in year 2
In your second year the fees that you will need to pay will depend upon which of the following routes you take:
1. You will need to complete Non-Medical Prescribing for Health (V300) (NMP course) for 30/40 credits, if this is appropriate for your role and allowed by your professional regulatory body. Find out more here. You will also be required to undertaken one core 20 credit module. If this is the case, you will need to pay for the NMP course and the fees for one 20 credit module.
By way of indication only, the fee for the 30 credit NMP Course for the academic year 2020/21 is £1640. However, you should be aware that the NMP Course for the academic year 2021/22 is likely to attract 40 credits and so the fees will be higher than £1640. An updated fee for the NMP Course will be published here as soon as it is available. The cost of the core 20 credit module will be approximately one third of the annual fees as shown above.
2. If you have previously completed a NMP course, you may be eligible to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for 20 credits from this into the MSc. You will still be required to complete 40 credits during this year. You will complete one core module for 20 credits. You will also take one optional module from a range of level 7 20 credit modules within the Faculty. The fees for Year 2 will be reduced by approximately a third depending on the optional module taken. Once you have selected your optional module you will be provided with further information about the reduction in fees for Year 2.
3. If you have not completed a NMP course previously, and if it is not appropriate for you to do so (if your regulatory body does not permit this), you will be able to select 2 optional 20 credit modules from within the Faculty. The fees for Year 2 may be similar or slightly reduced, depending on the optional modules taken. We will help you to select your 2 optional modules during your first year of study and then any adjustment to the fees for Year 2 will be calculated and fully explained to you.
If you have any queries about the appropriate route for you and the fees that will be payable in your second year then please contact Sharon Bishop on Sharon.Bishop@bcu.ac.uk.
Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.
Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Your passion and motivations
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Why this course?
Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.
What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?
Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.
Relevant academic or work experience
Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?
You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Course in Depth
Level 7 - Core Modules
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 140 credits):
This core module will introduce you to the context and positionality of working at an advanced practice level. You will be introduced to the four pillars of advanced practice (clinical practice; leadership and management; education; and research) and the distinct capabilities attributed within these. You will be supported to consider how these may be developed and applied within your own specific environments. Through a critical reflective approach, you will develop self-awareness of your own practice and how this can be enhanced as you develop your autonomous advanced practice. This will be done in context of legal, professional and ethical frameworks, ensuring that your professional practice is underpinned within these considerations.
This core module will enable you to effectively apply knowledge and underpinning theory of health and pathophysiology in performing your role within the advanced practice pillar of direct clinical care. Key features of this module are:
- Consultation / history taking
- Holistic patient examination
- Application of anatomy and physiology of body systems to discern health need
- Diagnostics – supporting tests/ investigations
- Clinical judgement and decision-making - critical
- Documentation and record-keeping
This core module aims to facilitate the development of knowledge and skills in order that you are able to work at the level of advance practice. This module will support you in leading and managing complex situations, where you will be making decisions that impact on service delivery and outcomes for a wide range of stakeholders. The module will address the key learning required in relation to the three pillars of leadership, research, and education and how these influence service improvements and innovations within clinical practice. This module will explore the need for change and innovation in healthcare with particular insight towards quality and effectiveness of service provision, and will closely relate to your real world of work.
This module provides you with the opportunity to complete a piece of work around a chosen topic in order to demonstrate competence in the planning, implementation, analysis and evaluation of a service progression and improvement project. The aim of a service development project is to bring about an organisational change for which there is existing evidence, or in response to policy/practice drivers. Any data collection and analysis, associated with a service development project, aims specifically to inform the local development and is not intended to have wider generalisability or transferability, although there will likely be recommendations that other practices may benefit from. Effective use of change management theory and methods will be central to a service development project.
This final core module of the MSc Advanced Clinical Practice course is designed to enable you to critically reflect on the skills, knowledge and behaviours you have developed across all four pillars of advanced practice. You will be expected to consolidate your learning and experience, developed on the course and in practice, ensuring your professional portfolio is up to date. You will be directed to ensure critical reflection and evaluation of your own scope of practice. The module assessment is designed to reflect the key academic and practice based knowledge, skills and behaviours you have developed during the course aligned to the four pillars of advanced clinical practice.
Level 7 - Optional Modules
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
This module will prepare the student to safely, competently and compassionately undertake the role of an independent and supplementary prescriber to meet the needs of clients/patients and carers with whom they work. It is seen as the vehicle by which professional knowledge, skills, understanding, analysis and theoretical frameworks of prescribing can be examined, synthesised and re-considered. The fundamental assumption of the course is that becoming skilled in prescribing is as much about process as product. It is not just about adding new tasks but also about building upon previous knowledge, understanding and intellectual skills and re-defining and reviewing work processes.
This module will prepare the student to safely, competently and compassionately undertake the role of a non-medical prescriber to meet the needs of clients/patients and carers with whom you work having met HCPC standards. It is seen as the vehicle by which professional knowledge, skills, understanding, analysis and theoretical frameworks of prescribing can be examined, synthesised and re-considered. The fundamental assumption of the course is that becoming skilled in prescribing is as much about process as product. It is not just about adding new tasks but also about building upon previous knowledge, understanding and intellectual skills and re-defining and reviewing work processes.
The goal of non-medical prescribing is to enable swifter and speedier access to medicines for patients/clients and carers. It is an activity that requires the health care professional to expand their understanding, skills and knowledge in developing their prescribing role whilst adhering to relevant Professional Code of Conduct/Ethics.
Your first year involves an introduction to the context, frameworks and capabilities of advanced level practice. The four pillars of advanced practice (clinical practice; leadership and management; education; and research) will be integrated through the modules, and you will be expected to develop across all of the pillars through the academic and clinical practice elements of the year. You will be supported to develop your patient/ service user consultation, assessment and decision making processes, supported with through evidence based theoretical teaching and practice-based learning.
In the second year, you will further develop your advanced practice capabilities across the four pillars. Through completion of the core module, you will be able to identify and justify the need for new, evidence based innovative service provision. You will also complete Non-Medical Prescribing for Health (NMP) (V300) if this is appropriate for your role and allowed by your professional regulatory body. Where this is not appropriate, you will be able to select two optional modules from a range of level 7 modules within the Faculty. If you have credits from previously completing the NMP course, you may only need to take one optional module.
For your final year, you will undertake the service development project that you developed in Year 2. You will be supported by a designated academic supervisor, and you will have the opportunity for shared learning with other students through action learning sets as you progress. You will have the opportunity to share your innovation through a showcase event. In the last module, you will be expected to consider, evaluate and consolidate your progress across the capabilities of advanced level practice.
What do I need to do?
You must have the full support and agreement from your employers that you are in an appropriate role or a trainee role to work at an advanced level, with appropriate governance for you to practice. It is important you have protected time to attend the module teaching and to work with your mentor/ supervisors in order to develop your capabilities. Confirmation of this support will be required prior to commencing the course.
You will be expected to have an appropriate mentor for the duration of the course. In addition, there will be additional requirements for support, supervision and assessment during the ‘Assessment’ module in Year 1.
You will be expected to keep an ongoing professional portfolio which will evidence your development across the four pillars. Elements from your portfolio will be key in many of the module assessments. Guidance will be provided about this. You may also be expected to maintain a portfolio by your credentialing body (such as RCEM). We will be able to guide you as to how these can complement each other.
Enhancing Employability skills
Advanced clinical practitioners can move into a range of different fields within the health care sector, specialising in a number of areas. The assessment, clinical decision-making and differential diagnostic skills you’ll hone here will enable you to progress into roles as health care professionals, practising holistically in partnership with patients and their families.
Practice development takes place in your normal practice setting. Practice learning facilitators are identified to support you. These are normally a consultant or GP and a senior professional from your own discipline. They will work with you to assist you in achieving the required clinical competencies.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Facilities and Staff
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.
We boast up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that medical staff may come across.
These resources are essential in offering students a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice. Much of our teaching is carried out within our state-of-the-art, £30m Seacole Building, which houses cutting-edge learning facilities.
In a sector where new techniques are constantly being discovered, we work hard to ensure that students learn using the most up-to-date equipment available. These include the only mock operating theatre in an English university and a cutting-edge radiography virtual clinical training facility, virtual ward and virtual case creator.
Virtual Case Creator
For pre-registration midwives, Virtual Case Creator software contains a range of scenarios to let you experience birthing situations and decide on appropriate interventions in a safe environment.
Our mock wards enable you to get a feel of what a ward is really like before you head out for your first placement. They contain ‘Sim Men’, which are demonstration dummies that develop ailments, allowing you to treat them as you would a real patient and build your confidence in reacting to the changing needs of patients.
The Hospital Ward can be adapted from a low care to high dependency care environment with the necessary monitoring equipment.
Part of the package is our SIM baby, SIM man and Mega code kid. There are also nursing manikins for fundamental skills teaching and various equipment to support essential skills teaching, such as blood pressure monitoring venepuncture and cannulation equipment.
Skills Practice and Clinical Enhancement facility
The SPACE (Skills Practice And Clinical Enhancement) learning facility lets you further practice the skills taught in class, at your own pace and convenience.
It is fully stocked with the specialist items and equipment needed for procedures such as taking blood pressure, giving an injection, abdominal examination of a pregnant woman and caring for ill babies in an incubator.
We have recently installed new laboratory facilities to help you explore understand the scientific principles underpinning many of our courses. The physiology laboratory is equipped to help you learn about the way the human body works by performing investigative experiments. The biomedical science laboratory is undergoing an upgrade over the summer and will allow you to learn about anatomy, cellular processes, immunology and enzymology in a hands-on way that links directly to day-to-day health care.
We have several Simulation men (SIM men) and Simulation babies (SIM babies) which are leading edge, anatomically correct mannequins used for teaching specific techniques such as advanced adult and paediatric life support skills, acute and high dependency clinical skills, first aid and communication skills.
The SIM men and SIM baby mannequins are complete with software, which is used to replicate real symptoms, and are enhanced by the manipulation of for example blood pressure, pulse and heart rate for extra realism. SIM Man can also “talk” to the students which adds another dimension to their use in teaching clinical skills and in simulation exercises.
Mary Seacole Library
The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The state-of-the art facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.
You will have access to all of the University’s libraries.
The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, full colour printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:
- Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
- Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
- Microsoft Office software
- Research and statistical software
- Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home
Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.
The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.
Senior Lecturer/ Programme Director, MSc Advanced Clinical Practice
After qualifying, Sharon developed experience across a range of clinical environments before gaining a staff nurse post in Intensive Care. During this time she undertook the ENB 100 (Adult Critical Care course) as well as ENB 998 (mentorship qualification). She progressed in this speciality, ultimately attaining a senior role. Sharon has always had a keen interest in teaching and learning, and following completion of a PG Certificate in Education and then a Masters degree, she enjoyed a number of years as a Practice Development Nurse. During this time she successfully helped to introduce a range of clinical education strategies in order to meet local, organisational and national strategies and standards. Additionally, a secondment into a Senior Nurse Manager role allowed her to further demonstrate excellent leadership and organisation skills, including risk management, quality initiatives and change management.
On joining the Adult Nursing department at BCU in the Spring of 2014, she was fortunate to co-lead a pre-registration nursing module, as well as actively contributing to a range of other pre and post-registration nursing modules. The development of sound strategies to support learning activities in this role contributed to the decision to apply for a new role, and in early 2016, she joined the Advanced Practice team and took the Programme Lead role on from September 2016. Continuing development of her skills and knowledge in Higher Education has led to the achievement of Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.
Sharon retains an Honorary Contract at her previous NHS Trust, where she is able to do clinical shifts. She holds Advanced Life Support instructor status and regularly supports the Trust teams to deliver this programme.More about Sharon
Senior Lecturer/Advanced Nurse Practitioner
Mary Hutchinson is a Senior Lecturer in Advanced Clinical Practice who works clinical sessions as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) with a Midlands Out-of-Hours Service co-located with the local Emergency Department. Her clinical career encompasses many aspects of Urgent and Emergency Care from Staff Nurse in a community hospital Casualty Department to eight years as Sister in City Hospital Emergency Department, Birmingham during which time she project-managed development of the role of Emergency Nurse Practitioner.More about Mary
Senior Lecturer in Advanced Practice and Non-Medical Prescribing
Katherine qualified as a Children’s nurse in 2003 and spent the next 5 years rotating between several specialties including general paediatrics, planned surgery, adolescent and neonatal care and emergency medicine. She then went on to train as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Paediatric Emergency Medicine.More about Katherine
Course Leader for MSc Transforming and Leading in Healthcare
Helen has spent 25 years as a consultant running her own business, helping healthcare and private sector organisations nationally and internationally improve their practice and innovate. She has an HR and Organisational Development background and is a keen advocate of change. Focused on effective, engaging and innovative teaching, Helen is the Course Lead for the MSc In Transforming and Leading in Health Care. Helen has worked in universities since 2011 near London, Coventry and at BCU since 2019. Helen has an MBA and an MA in Personal and Organisational Development.More about Helen