Advanced Clinical Practice Week

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Advanced Clinical Practice is a level of practice that is performed by a range of roles and professions. Roles deliver an expert level of clinical knowledge, as well as leadership, educational and research skills. 

In NWAngliaFT there are 62 Advanced Clinical Practitioners who use a wide range of knowledge, skills and experience, as well as a holistic approach, to efficiently deliver high levels of quality and exceptional care to patients. As part of Advanced Clinical Practice Week we have been chatting to some of the Trust’s Advanced Clinical Practitioners.

Elizabeth Gillham, Advanced Clinical Practitioner at Hinchingbrooke 
“I’m a trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioner working within Acute Medicine at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.  I currently work within the Ambulatory Care Unit which accommodates patients referred for Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) services from general practice as well as referrals from the Emergency Department.  The unit also accommodates elective patients for various procedures including pleural aspirations, ascitic drains and various infusions.  My role within the unit is to assess, diagnose, treat and refer or discharge patients presenting with an acute medical need.  I also undertake procedures for diagnostic purposes and to help with relief or symptoms associated with their condition. 
“One of my aspirations from early on in my career was to remain in a clinical role but to work at an advanced level.  Seeing advanced clinical practice roles evolve, crossing traditional professional boundaries and seeing the benefits of these roles has been really inspiring.  I recently attended the first HEE East of England ACP Conference in Cambridge which confirmed how much the role has grown.  It was great to talk to other ACPs from varying professions working within varying specialties, showing how versatile and essential the role is to meet the ever-increasing demands on healthcare services. 

“I qualified as a nurse in 2004 and since, have spent most of my career working within specialties including general medicine, pleural services and acute medicine.  My nursing background is integral to my current role and I rely heavily on this experience to inform my practice.  I consider myself a hybrid clinician, able to provide high quality, patient-centered, holistic care.” 

 Haleema Zaman, Orthoptist and a Trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioner

“I’m Haleema and I am an Orthoptist and a Trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) in Ophthalmology. My main role as an Orthoptist involves autonomously diagnosing and managing a variety of patients with defects in eye movements and problems with how the eyes work together.   

“My initial inspiration to become an ACP came from spending time in the emergency eye clinics with one of our speciality trainees; his enthusiasm and encouragement, alongside the emergency clinic's variety of conditions and fast-paced environment, piqued my interest in advanced practice. I am incredibly grateful for all the support I have received along my Trainee ACP journey thus far and the next step involved recently starting my MSc qualification in Advanced Practice.

“Going back to University was something that required some initial adapting to, however, I am thoroughly enjoying learning new things every day! In my protected sessions, I am beginning to take a more patient-centred approach to develop my ophthalmic history-taking skills, improving my slit-lamp examination skills, and have begun diagnosing and managing patients under supervision in the emergency clinics. 

“I am showcasing that as an Allied Health Professional (AHP), I can take my Orthoptic knowledge and skills to further my academic and clinical potential. I am passionate about AHPs building on their strengths and upskilling to implement new pathways to meet the demand on the hospital eye service, whilst still proving gold-standard care to all our patients.”  

 Jeffrey Mercer, Emergency Medicine Advanced Clinical Practitioner 

“I have been a nurse in emergency medicine for 26 years, started as a band "D" nurse at Addenbrookes Hospital's Accident and Emergency (for those who can remember before Agenda for Change). I trained up to charge nurse level, then as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner. This is when I felt I need to challenge myself and expand my knowledge in Advanced Practice. I joined PCH Emergency Department as a trainee ACP in 2016 and started my MSc in Advanced Practice at Warwick Medical School. I completed my MSc in 2019 and passed my "in department" ESLE's and OSCES with the Emergency Department Consultants allowing me to progress into the role of a qualified ACP. This role has allowed me to develop skills beyond my dreams, from ultrasound, leading trauma calls and teaching in and out of the department. 

“I was blessed with the opportunity to teach on the MSc for Advanced practice at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, I now teach on Non-Medical Prescribing, Advanced Clinical Assessment Skills and became the module lead for the Advanced Practice in Context course. I am so passionate in developing the next generation of Advanced Practitioners and strive to encourage MDT working and education to provide effective, compassionate and holistic care for our patients. 

“The journey in Advanced Practice is constantly pushing forward, every day is a school day and I have been lucky in being given the opportunity to work clinically and in a teaching role within NWAngliaFT.”