Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACP) and trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioners (tACP) work at Darent Valley Hospital in the Emergency Department, Paediatrics, Medicine, Stroke and Surgery units. They are either nurses, paramedics or pharmacists who, after many years of experience working in their own speciality areas, have completed or are completing a further 3 years Masters level training to qualify as an ACP. This means that they now work alongside their medical colleagues assessing treating and managing patients to the same level as a Middle Grade Doctor.

The definition of an ACP from Health Education England is below;

Advanced clinical 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 clinical 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.

Multi-professional framework for advanced clinical practice in England. HEE 2017

In addition to completion of the Masters programme each ACP has a competency portfolio to work through which once completed forms the basis of their clinical skills and competencies equivocal to a level of ST3 medical training.

The NHS Long-Term Plan highlights how advanced clinical practice is central to helping transform service delivery and better meet local health needs by providing enhanced capacity, capability, productivity and efficiency within multi-professional teams

Siobhan Corbett, Nurse Consultant and Lead for Advanced Practice was integral in the introduction of advanced practitioners at DVH and states that ‘the ACP role is hugely exciting and challenging for both the individual and the workforce, but it has been successful in retaining much valued staff in clinical roles, promoting a culture of support and encouragement and contributing to job satisfaction. We are recognising the skills, knowledge and importantly the years of experience that already exists within the Advanced Clinical Practitioners whose role is to complement existing clinicians and work alongside them in the delivery of  patient care. The ACPs  have a greater understanding of operational challenges and are able to positively contribute to improvements in the services to their patients in their specialities’.

As a proactive and forward thinking strategy of the trust it is committed to continue to encompass ACPs in the future workforce, investing in our staff and our patients and developing a culture willing to strive to outstanding status through its continued commitment to raising standards in patient care.