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Transitioning to an ACP: a challenging journey with tribulations and rewards

11 February 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 3


Julie Reynolds and Gerri Mortimore discuss the difficulties advanced clinical practitioners face when taking on this new role, and how drawing on their transferable skills can help them make the transition

Over the past 70 years, to keep pace with the changing health requirements of the nation, the NHS has needed to adapt to survive. Now, in the 21st century, to meet the complex health demands of an ageing population and to relieve medical workforce pressures, one of the newer roles to emerge is that of the advanced clinical practitioner (ACP).

Over the past 10 years this role has developed and flourished. Trainee ACPs arise from a variety of backgrounds, such as nurses, operating department practitioners (ODPs), paramedics, pharmacists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists. Many were senior clinicians within their original fields of practice. Because of this fact, becoming an ACP often represents a significant change in role and many will underestimate how difficult this transition can be. From being an expert in their previous roles to transition to a novice in their new ACP role is challenging. This is compounded by the fact that trainee ACPs can be on rotation, for example, through different medical or surgical wards, with each rotation requiring a period of adjustment. There is often a temporary loss of confidence until they not only become familiar with their new environment, but feel valued and able to contribute.

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