The management of advanced practitioner preparation: a work-based challenge

Joan Livesley, Karen Waters, Paul Tarbuck
Journal of Nursing Management 2009, 17 (5): 584-93

AIMS: This paper explores the collaborative development of a Master's level advanced practice programme in the context of the radical reform and remodelling of the UK's National Health Service. Some of the educational, managerial and practice challenges are discussed.

BACKGROUND: Changes to education and training in response to key strategic reviews undertaken by the Greater Manchester Strategic Health Authority (North West of England) established a need to develop nurses and allied health care practitioners to advanced practitioner level. This paper considers how employers, commissioners and educationalists worked together to produce a Master's level programme to prepare nurses and other health care practitioners for sustainable advanced practice roles.

KEY ISSUES: Developing innovative and effective curricula to meet the needs of post graduate students from varied backgrounds preparing to practice in different contexts with different client groups is challenging. However, the development of individual learning pathways and work-based learning ensures that the student's work and intended advanced practice role remains at the centre of their learning. Analysis of each student's knowledge and skill deficits alongside an analysis of the organization's readiness to support them as qualified advanced practitioners (APs) is instrumental in ensuring that organizations are ready to support practitioners in new roles.

CONCLUSION: Work-based learning and collaboration between students, employers and higher education institutions can be used to enable managers and students to unravel the network of factors which affect advanced practice in health and social care. Additionally, collaborative working can help to create opportunities to develop strategies that will facilitate change. Implications for nursing management Sustainable change concerned with the introduction of advanced practitioner roles present a real challenge for managers at a strategic and operational level. Commissioning flexible, collaborative and service-led educational programmes can assist in ensuring that change is sustainable and produce practitioners who are fit for practice, purpose and award.

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