Prior to starting the MSc Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) programme, I have worked in a variety of healthcare roles, including as a Primary Care Network (PCN) Clinical Pharmacist for the Sunderland GP Alliance and a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy and Honorary Clinical Pharmacist for the University of Sunderland.
In my current roles as a Clinical Pharmacist and trainee ACP at the Hetton Group Practice and Advanced Clinical Pharmacist in Paediatric Oncology at The Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, I provide advice and information to clinicians and patients alike. I am also supporting nurses through their prescribing qualification and performing many face to face assessments on patients while making diagnoses and developing management plans. In the hospital setting, I assess patients as part of their Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) cancer treatment, interpret blood results and make decisions based on these. I perform physical examinations and also prescribe chemotherapy and supportive care for patients.
I started studying at Sunderland in 2012, studying Independent Prescribing for Pharmacists. Before this, I had received my Pharm degree from the University of Bradford in 2007 and a Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy from the University of Derby in 2009. At Sunderland, I continued my studies and have obtained a PG Certificate in Academic Practice in 2019, an MSc in Clinical Pharmacy in 2020, and am currently undertaking MSc Advanced Clinical Practitioner programme which is set to complete in 2024.
I have managed the balance between work and study by utilising my ‘off-the-job’ learning time and ensuring that I am taking feedback from patients and clinicians to ensure I am providing the best care for all the patients I see. I have overcome the challenges in my apprenticeship by working to schedule time with my supervisor despite it sometimes being difficult to schedule in. However, I do feel very supported by all of the GP’s in the practice and know they will listen to my thoughts and let me bounce my ideas off them and provide me with constructive feedback.
I think the apprenticeship has allowed me to develop at my own pace and also to push myself to learn and understand more about the patient population I see, both in practice and hospital. The apprenticeship has also benefited and progressed my career, as I have gone from a traditional clinical pharmacist role to a practitioner, able to see and assess patients independently, with support if needed. Within my organisation, my developed skills and role has opened up more appointments to patients as well as looking at what the PCN pharmacy team can offer the practice and how this should be implemented.
In the future, I would like to look at more options within the practice with regard to the education of staff and looking at how the ACP role can be further developed into primary care for healthcare practitioners other than nurses.
If you’re looking to study an apprenticeship at the University of Sunderland, I would recommend any health professional to consider the ACP course. I feel it has certainly made me a more rounded practitioner and has allowed me to develop to a level I never thought possible when I initially qualified. While there is work to do, if you are organised and use your off the job learning, it is doable and very enjoyable. I have really enjoyed the face to face teaching and the staff on the module are very friendly and approachable, which makes the studying a lot easier."
Published 13 November 2023