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Advanced Clinical Practitioners Conference success

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Published on 08 September 2022

Programme lead Victoria Duffy with senior lecturer Gemma Stidolph
Programme lead Victoria Duffy with senior lecturer Gemma Stidolph

More than 200 delegates from across the UK tuned into the University of Sunderland’s first trainee-led advanced clinical practice (ACP) conference.

This virtual conference showcased the innovative work undertaken in clinical practice including lessons learned and future aims.

MSc Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) is a higher-level clinical apprenticeship programme at the University, designed and developed with local NHS trusts for healthcare professionals, working at an advanced level, to further develop their practice for the benefits of the patients and communities in which they work.

Conference speakers explored the development of the ACP role in mental health, pharmacy, orthopaedic service, prehospital care, stroke services and urology with a personal insight on their own journey. There was a discussion about the challenges and development of ACP supervision in practice from the viewpoint of both the trainee and educational supervisor. 

There were also inspirational stories from individual trainee ACPs and recent graduates about life within their area of practice.

The conference was initially the idea of the programme lead Victoria Duffy, who was keen to celebrate the success that the trainees have achieved whilst studying on the MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice apprenticeship programme.

She says: “We wanted the conference to be a celebration of their success and to demonstrate significant positive impact on patient care to inspire other trainee ACPs and professionals considering an ACP programme.

“The vision was to have a range of speakers from a variety of clinical backgrounds giving a brief overview of the inspirational work they have achieved in practice.”

She added: “To allow further exploration of the presentations, the team now plan to invite several of the speakers back to the university for a follow up podcast interview and ask some of the questions posed by delegates on the day of the event.”

The conference was the culmination of six months of planning with the deputy programme leader, Paul Thomson-Elliott, taking the lead on organising the event, offering guidance and support to all the speakers alongside taking on the logistical aspects of hosting an online conference.

Paul said: “It was important to the team that the conference was open to as many professionals as possible which supported the decision to hold the conference online, delegates attended from across the UK. Seeing nearly 200 delegates on the day of the event was extremely rewarding.”

The keynote speaker was Deputy Director of Nursing South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Elaine Coghill was keynote speaker and highlighted the development of Advanced Clinical Practice from an employer perspective.

Gemma Stidolph, senior lecturer said: “It was a privilege to host our first trainee ACP conference, the team are extremely grateful to all the speakers who give up their time to showcase their outstanding work. The team are immensely proud of all our ACP trainees, and we hope the delegates who attended can see why.”

Victoria Duffy said: “The aim of the day was to showcase the incredible work of our ACP trainees and it is evident from the positive conference feedback that this has been achieved. Due to the success of the conference we plan to host an annual ACP conference and hopefully encourage networking between budding, trainee and graduated ACPs across the United Kingdom.”