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Postgraduate Clinical Practice

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  • Objectives
    This course focuses on higher academic study underpinning a higher level of clinical practice in healthcare, and will be particularly appropriate for senior, experienced healthcare professionals leading practice within a clinical environment. The academic aims are: • To provide a course of study which offers intellectual challenge, both academic and professional, by promoting skills of critical analysis, evaluation and problem-solving • To promote and enhance skills of critical reflection, criticism and synthesis to inform best practice • To prepare students to provide coherent leadership in exploring, evaluating and establishing excellence in clinical practice
  • Entry requirements
    Applicants for the course will need to hold current first level Professional Registration with a relevant professional body such as the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) or the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP), and be working in clinical practice. In addition, applicants should normally hold a first degree 2.2 or higher. For applicants who do not hold a first degree, successful completion of an undergraduate diploma in a related subject, a minimum of 5 years’ professional experience and evidence of recent study will be considered on an individual basis.
  • Academic Title
    MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate Clinical Practice
  • Course description
    Part-Time study


    As health professions move closer towards all-graduate status, the academic and clinical challenges facing practitioners requires a higher level of preparation in order to fulfil a professional role with greater demands in clinical practice to meet the health needs of the public. Reflecting healthcare reforms, boundaries of inter-professional roles in clinical practice are increasingly being merged to ensure effective, efficient, quality care delivery. The need for continuing professional role development underpinned by higher academic study is central to this course and, as such, it serves to build upon experience in both theory and practice to further develop and prepare clinically-based practitioners for a dynamic health economy.

    Course Structure and Content

    This three-year modular programme consists of 120 credits of taught modules and 60 credits dissertation to give a total of 180 level credits for the award. Successful completion is required within a maximum of 5 years and it is recommended that at least one module is taken per academic year. The taught modules will consist of 5 core modules and 1 elective module.

    Students undertaking this Masters programme would be expected to successfully complete all taught modules and the dissertation. Students completing only the 120 credits of taught modules may be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma. Students completing only 60 credits of taught modules (Research Methods, Health and Social Policy, Health Assessment in Clinical Practice) may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate.

    Due to the modular design, students from other postgraduate courses may access modules as elective or stand alone modules, thus enhancing inter-professional and multi-professional education opportunities. Significantly, the modular design is also sympathetic to the needs of students who may wish to ‘step off/step on’ to the programme, thus affording accreditation of prior achievement.

    Course Modules

    Core Modules (total 105 credits)

    • Research Methods (15 credits) – This module will cover philosophical and epistemological issues, relating these to the different research methods associated with positivist (quantitative) and qualitative research approaches. Multi-method research will also be explored. Sampling and sample size considerations, as well as concepts of reliability and validity, will be addressed in the context of appropriate research designs related to different research methods. Quantitative methods of data analysis will be covered, including the identification and use of various statistical analyses. Qualitative data analysis will include, for example, content analysis and category formation.

    • Health and Social Policy (15 credits) – This module provides an opportunity to critically evaluate contextual and professional influences in health and social policy on current healthcare delivery and provides a political foundation for other modules. It will examine and evaluate the influence of health and social policy upon healthcare planning and delivery. A considered understanding of such political influences aims to locate professional practice within the broader political context and facilitates evidence-based healthcare.

    • Evidence-Based Practice (15 credits) – This module extends critical application of research activities at postgraduate level into healthcare practice. This module continues the opportunities to embrace inter-professional learning across multiple disciplines, and
    develops the students’ understanding of the role of evidence-based practice. The module enables the student to select and implement strategies for gathering and evaluating evidence, and encourages the student to analyse the practical and political ramifications of
    evidence-based healthcare in the contemporary healthcare arena.

    • Health Assessment in Clinical Practice (30 credits) – This module will facilitate the acquisition of higher level skills underpinned by advanced knowledge and understanding of health assessment in clinical practice. Utilising multi-professional teaching and facilitation,
    this module aims to critically enhance/advance a range of clinical assessment skills essential to the effective fulfilment of the student’s clinical role, relevant to their specific practice discipline.

    • Clinical Management (30 credits) – To provide students with the opportunity to pursue a core module in exploring broad spectrum of NHS managerial strategies both at national and local levels. To critically evaluate local and national healthcare strategies in the
    delivery and management of safe and ethical care for the patient.

    Option Modules (must select at least 15 credits)

    • Contemporary Issues in Nursing Practice (15 credits)
    • Diversity in healthcare (15 credits)
    • Developing work process knowledge for workplace learning (15 credits)
    • Physiological responses to critical injury and illness (30 credits)
    • Dissertation (60 credits)

    The MSc includes the opportunity to undertake a research dissertation on a topic associated with the course which will be agreed with the student’s personal tutor. Pre-dissertation tutorials will be provided to prepare students for undertaking research and the student’s personal tutor will undertake the role of research supervisor during the course of the dissertation.


    Assessment will be based on a variety of methods, principally written assignments. Students must obtain a minimum of 50% in each module to pass. Assessments in clinical practice will be undertaken by University staff and senior clinicians as determined by modular outcomes and students will require support from their managers to undertake assessments in practice.


    Students will normally be funded by their employer. Where this is not possible, students may need to seek alternative funding opportunities including self-funding.

    Career Destination information

    Students successfully completing this course will be in a good position to continue to lead a higher level of clinical practice subject to their professional role whilst demonstrating effective continuing professional development.

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