De Montfort University (DMU)

Advanced Clinical Practice Course



One of the major changes envisaged in the Five Year view was the changing roles of Nurses, Midwives and Allied health professionals, essentially taking on roles that previously were the domain of medical staff. This has actually been happening for many years but numbers have increased significantly over recent times, and with it a burgeoning desire to see standards set and the role clearly defined.

There is unfortunately no clear definition of what ‘advanced practice’ is and therefore the education and roles that the practitioner might be required to perform or undertake is also open to question. There is however clear support from all parties involved (across the UK) that the educational provision should be at Masters level, with a Post graduate Diploma being generally accepted as the minimum requirement for practice. The full MSc enhances the practitioner’s ability to appraise research, think critically, and prepares them to develop further beyond simply the role of an expert clinician. Scotland and Wales each have a single framework for advanced Practice, and Northern Ireland is following suit.

There is no fully defined curriculum for MSc ACP, however both the East and West Midlands have agreed a standardised programme in liaison with local clinical stakeholders and the Association of Advanced Practice Educators. Our Course is based along similar lines. We seek to develop practitioners who are:

“registered practitioners with an expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies for expanded autonomous scope of practice, the characteristics of which are shaped by the context in which the individual practices. Demonstrable at Masters level and meets the education, training and CPD requirements for Advanced Clinical Practice” (HEEM, 2014).

The advanced practitioner is characterised by high levels of skill, competence and autonomous decision making, at a perhaps higher level than the specialist, though of course a practitioner may well specialise at an advanced level. A more simplistic explanation might be that the specialist operates at a high level in their specialism, but returns to novice when outside it; the advanced practitioner operates at a higher level in their speciality, but can also bring advanced practice to other areas as well. The department of Health (2010) suggested that it was a level of practice, rather than specific role.

Nationally, due to the extremely varied nature of ACP roles, it has proved impossible to define a set list of ‘competencies’, beyond very broad strictures such as the ability to physically examine a patient. There is however broad agreement on some aspects that should be common to all. Those have been identified as the ‘four pillars’ of advanced practice:

  • Clinical
  • Education
  • Research
  • Leadership

The MSc ACP at De Montfort University draws these together and produces an able graduate who is highly employable. This course will not make you competent - no course will - but it will give you the educational grounding in order to develop competence and in turn become expert, with a strong clinical focus.

The curriculum has been designed with expert advice from clinicians, academics and local strategic partners to address both the academic and clinical demands of the role. Regular meetings are held between faculty and clinical staff to ensure good exchange of information. Student opinion and feedback is also incorporated.

If you don’t want to do the full MSc and have a primary care employment, then you might also consider the PGDip Advanced Practice in Urgent / Primary Care.


At DMU, we are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study. We are proud to currently offer two scholarships.

Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship
Up to 50 per cent of tuition fees offered to Home/EU DMU alumni for students who wish to continue their studies at DMU by enrolling on a Postgraduate taught course. For more information visit our Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship page.

Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarship
Up to £6,000 worth of support available to full-time UK and EU undergraduate and postgraduate students, starting in September 2016.

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