Advanced Practice course is already benefitting my nursing practice

Angela Downward, MSc Advanced Practice student

Angela Downward, from Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, is studying the MSc Advanced Practice course. Angela is the Critical Care Sister and Senior Lead Outreach Practitioner at ABUHB’s Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny.

Your background
I trained as an SEN many years ago then converted to RGN, having worked in the field of Critical Care for many years. I then moved into the field of Outreach providing educational support for the MDT, and clinical review and support for deteriorating patients in general ward-based settings.

What influenced you to do the Advanced Practice course?
I wanted a course that was more open and challenging that the usual, academically structured format of being in a classroom ‘being taught’. This postgraduate course encourages reflective practice, deconstruction of practice and promotes debate and discussion through a group process of inquiry. I already knew about this course as several colleagues have undertaken it in the past. Not having a degree was a significant hurdle to overcome, however having met the RPL process and with the support of the course leaders, I was successful in my application and interview process.

What do you hope to gain from the course?
More knowledge, obviously, but also a better understanding of my clinical practice and what I draw on to support me in my clinical role. Plus, once I have completed my Master course in Advanced Practice, there are opportunities for further professional progression within healthcare.

Are you enjoying it?
Very much! It has made me realise that I am capable of working at a higher level of education. I enjoy the academic experience too. My fellow students comes from a variety of clinical specialities which brings so much to the group in relation to clinical practice and life experience - plus we all get on really well which is a huge bonus.

The highlights
Learning more about myself in practice. This course unpicks what I do, day in, dayout, in the clinical field. Often as practitioners, we do things without giving it a second thought; the course channels us all to examine the what, why and how.

How is the course benefiting your practice?
The Advance Practice course has made me realise how complicated my role and clinical activities are at ward base, and that my practice is supported by a very sound knowledge base. But what this course seeks to unravel is how I come to the clinical decisions I make, how I engage with the MDT and the most important aspect, how I provide holistic and safe care to the patients I review through the Outreach Service.

Would you recommend it?
I would recommend the Advanced Practice course, but I don’t think it would suit everybody due to the structure and process of co-operative inquiry within it. As an advanced practitioner who often works alone, this course has promoted greater investigation and analysis of me as a person, and as a nurse. You have to be open to discussion and critical examination - not all people like that!