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Introducing advanced level practice and the scope of developing new roles

14 January 2021
9 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 1


Barry Hill and Aby Mitchell introduce a new series on advanced level practice. They describe the frameworks that outline advanced practitioner roles and explain how the roles affect patients, services and organisations

Advanced clinical practice is a defined level of expertise within health and care professions such as nursing, pharmacy, paramedics and occupational therapy. Practice at this level is designed to transform and modernise pathways of care, enabling the safe and effective sharing of skills across traditional professional boundaries (Health Education England (HEE), 2017). Advanced clinical practitioners (ACPs) are equipped with the skills and knowledge to allow them to expand their scope of practice to better meet the needs of the people they care for.

Advanced level practitioners are deployed across all healthcare settings and work at a level of clinical practice that pulls together the four pillars of clinical practice, leadership and management, education and research (HEE, 2017) (Figure 1). According to HEE (2017) ACPs are educated to master's level or equivalent, although not all advanced level practitioners in England hold a master's; they have achieved this level of practice through experience and expertise. The need for master's level education is advised, but it is not set by law, nor is ‘ACP’ a qualification that can be registered with a professional body; it has yet to be made a legally protected title that requires professional registration.

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