A group of registered nurses have become the first cohort of students to graduate from the MSc Advanced Healthcare Practice degree pathway, addressing the need for inter-professional groups within healthcare to develop additional knowledge, skills and practice, and accepting responsibilities that traditionally would probably have fallen to doctors.
The concept of advanced practice is gaining increasing momentum within contemporary healthcare practice, driven by such factors as the demographic changes associated with an increasingly elderly population, budgetary constraints and workforce.
Claire Gray is part of the first cohort to have graduated from the course which was launched in 2009. She will be using her degree to affirm her current role as a Critical Care Outreach Practitioner and Practice Educator.
"Achieving this award has provided me with a greater degree of credibility, job satisfaction and self belief. It has provided a vast academic platform where doors really can open for you," Claire said.
"There are several independent elements of this course which have really influenced the way in which I have personally developed. But perhaps more importantly, there are components which have really translated to improving quality and efficiency of patient care."
She added: "Theres no denying how much of a challenge these past three years have been, particularly with full time employment and the pulls and ties of personal life. However, the immense sense of achievement and opportunities for the future has certainly been worth it."
With the increasing emergence of the advanced practitioner roles within healthcare settings, a Masters level programme has became essential to support the on-going development of members of inter-professional groups such as nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and health scientists.
Mark Ranson, Course Leader, said: "This course is actively developing and encouraging advanced practice out in the real world and has the potential to have a very positive impact on the patients care and experience overall in the healthcare setting."
All graduates will now be recorded as Advanced Practitioners after the course received Royal College of Nursing Accreditation.