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Student Kyrsti is advancing her clinical practice

Date 9.11.2021

One student at the University is seeing benefits on the horizon for her patients and her professional development with a University of Northampton course.

Kyrsti Watson – who works at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – is one of the University’s Advance Clinical Practice students and is in the second year of her three-year Advanced Clinical Practice Apprenticeship course.

Advanced Practitioners are health professionals from many backgrounds, including nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, paramedic science, and pharmacy. They display a level of practice characterised by a high degree of autonomy and complex decision making.

For example, they work within hospitals on medical rotas assessing and examining patients, formulating diagnoses, planning treatment and managing episodes of care. This will include ordering and interpreting investigations and critically evaluating findings to support their clinical reasoning.

This week (7-13 November) is Advanced Practice Week 2021, a yearly event to celebrate Advanced Practitioners and Kyrsti explains why she decided to take the next step in her career: “As a health professional, you get to that stage in your career when have to work out whether you want to remain in clinical practice or develop in a more managerial position.

“I love working clinically, but the ACP Apprenticeship is a fabulous opportunity to have a foot in both camps. The course is helping me advance my clinical learning and progress my career to a more managerial and strategic one, whilst remaining on ‘the shop floor’. And, as I’ve taken the apprenticeship route, I can continue working. I couldn’t have asked for a better way of doing this.

“It’s a fabulous opportunity that I feel will yield benefits for my patients as well as helping me feel even more professionally satisfied. For instance, I will have the required skills and knowledge to oversee and direct the complete care journey of my patients, from admission to discharge.”

For someone who qualified as a nurse 11 years ago and who has worked in major health centres, such as Great Ormond Street Hospital, Kyrsti was not fazed by the challenge of going back into formal, structured education.

She continues about what she has liked about the course: “It’s been going well so far. I got two A’s on my first two modules which really surprised me. It was a lot of hard work, but I was extremely pleased!

“I’ve most enjoyed the face-to-face lectures, getting to meet other professionals on the course and learning from them as you share experiences, both positive and negative. It was interesting that we quickly created our own support network.”

Now she is closer to completing the course and ‘closing the circle’ on her mission to give greater care, Kyrsti sums up why Advanced Clinical Practitioners are vital and should be recognised: “Studying for the ACP course has nothing to do with egotism. No one becomes a health or care practitioner for any reason other than to help people; it’s what gets us up every morning.

“But being an Advanced Clinical Practitioner means you have the manoeuvrability, the flexibility and responsibility as a senior staff member to effect that extra change for your patients. It equips you to bring more to the table, and it helps the health and care service to retain and develop existing staff. Pretty much win, win for all.”

Find out more about Advanced Clinical Practitioner course at UON, either the Apprenticeship route or the MSc.