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MSc in Advancing Professional Practice

This MSc course is designed to equip practitioners with knowledge and skills, as well as the personal, professional and inter-professional insights and qualities you need to function as a successful change agent, skills analyst and researcher or practice innovator in the advancement of your own field of practice. Throughout your study you will explore module themes with regard to your own practice situation.

The qualification comprises a series of modules, each with its own investigations or activities that enable you to explore your work as a place of learning and to further your enquiries using the study group, print and electronic resources of the qualification. As a graduate of the MSc in Advancing Professional Practice you will be equipped to lead others in measures designed to improve practice, to conduct your own or group practice projects, to design and conduct research and to make cogent recommendations for practice improvement, those based upon evidence, practice experience, skill analysis, policy and a close attention to the objectives and mission of the health or social care organisation or team.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

The need for creative, innovative and entrepreneurial practitioners within professional caring services has been recognised by healthcare departments across the world and it is widely agreed that many roles are best supported by masters graduates with a qualification in advancing practice. You will therefore typically aspire to senior and influential roles, as consultants, practice development directors, practice change agents and designers of innovative services. The qualification is well suited to those with a developing vision for the future of services and who wish to influence and lead others.

The programme is suitable for healthcare professionals from medical, nursing, midwifery, health visiting and allied health backgrounds in public and private healthcare systems, and within the community and the voluntary sector. It is suitable for professionals working to promote the health of others working within public health or schools. Practitioners working within technical areas of healthcare (e.g. laboratories) may also find it valuable, although it is emphasised that the qualification focuses upon themes valuable to all service improvement and delivery. The qualification is valuable to project officers working within or with healthcare charities or patient support groups and services.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Modules

For this 180-credit masters degree you require:

180 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Leading healthcare improvements (K827)

This course will help you develop leadership skills in relation to healthcare service improvements, innovation and policy.

See full description.

60 Oct
Researching and evaluating healthcare practice (K828)

This course assists you to play a leading role in service improvements through an appreciation of healthcare quality, research, evidence evaluation and skill analysis.

See full description.

60 Oct
Transforming professional practice (K829) NEW

You will undertake a guided enquiry into advanced professional practice enabling you to demonstrate your scholarship and to make recommendations for improvement in your workplace.

See full description.

60 Oct

If you started your studies in February 2010 or earlier

For this 180-credit masters degree you require:

120 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Conducting healthcare research (K825)

Transform a preliminary research proposal into a comprehensive research project plan, in this second of two courses preparing you for ethical and effective healthcare research.

See full description.

20 Sep FINAL

and the discontinued modules K821, K822, K823, K824, K826

And 60 credits from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Dissertation: a research project (K800)

This one-year research dissertation project completes the Masters in Advancing Professional Practice, deepening and diversifying your understanding of advancing practice, project planning and decision-making.

See full description.

60 May

Or the discontinued module K801

Or if you have already completed, or are working towards completing, the Postgraduate Certificate in Advancing Healthcare Practice or the Postgraduate Diploma in Advancing Healthcare Practice under the previous structure, you may complete your MSc Healthcare pathway as follows:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Researching and evaluating healthcare practice (K828)

This course assists you to play a leading role in service improvements through an appreciation of healthcare quality, research, evidence evaluation and skill analysis.

See full description.

60 Oct
Transforming professional practice (K829) NEW

You will undertake a guided enquiry into advanced professional practice enabling you to demonstrate your scholarship and to make recommendations for improvement in your workplace.

See full description.

60 Oct

and the discontinued modules K821, K822, K826

Educational aims

The aim of the MSc in Advancing Healthcare Practice is to equip healthcare practitioners with the knowledge, skills, personal and professional insights and qualities necessary to function as a successful change agent, skills and evidence analyst, practice developer and scholar of healthcare science.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Of:

  • Strategic concepts in the design and implementation of healthcare projects (e.g. policy implementation, practice innovation, research design).
  • Complex ways in which context and healthcare change or project may interact, affecting the work of the practitioner who is advancing healthcare practice.
  • Available, relevant and best fit approaches and techniques that might be chosen to further a desirable healthcare change.
  • Complex ways in which ideology, values, beliefs, paradigms or norms contribute to or interfere with healthcare initiatives.
  • Ways in which different resources and sources of information can be combined in order to conduct and disseminate a project that is ethical, robust, and coherent.

Cognitive skills

  • Synthesise different cues to action, options, drivers, agendas and expectations before electing an appropriate stance or course of action that advances healthcare practice.
  • Articulate the ways in which the students own advancing healthcare practice ideas, plans and action work creatively, effectively, and sympathetically with the concerns of others, team and organisational goals.
  • Critically evaluate current personal progress relating to entrepreneurial healthcare leadership, practice innovation, and practice skills achievements, identifying challenges that remain and appropriate improvement strategies.
  • Articulate the ways in which critical thinking, reflection and collaboration contribute to the success of complex,vision guided and goal oriented, strategic healthcare initiatives.
  • Demonstrate a measured, analytical, strategic and well balanced evaluation of project achievements, insights, strengths and limitations, referencing these to the agreed project parameters.

Practical and/or professional skills

  • Identify and collaborate strategically with key stakeholders in the analysis of current practice and ways in which health care change might be changed.
  • In association with activities or investigations planned or conducted, demonstrate a sophisticated appreciation of client or patient concerns and needs, proceeding in ways that promote respect and dignity.
  • Conduct observations, discussions and reflections in practice, interrogating these as different expressions of experience and determining what this contributes alongside theory and evidence towards the advancement of healthcare practice.
  • Prepare a scholarly discourse on a chosen practice or research work completed and insights gained there, arranging the resultant report in ways that enable the reader to audit trail your reasoning and to interrogate the case that you then make.

Key skills

  • Articulate the ways in which theoretical concepts and frameworks taught within the qualification operate in practice, dealing successfully with the questions that then arise, either about the fit of theory to practice or the clarity and complexity of healthcare.
  • Using a variety of media and different discussion forums, conduct key enquiries necessary to formulate a clear understanding of current knowledge and philosophy of healthcare.
  • Through working with colleagues in practice, accessing relevant literature and related resources and a questioning approach to the status quo, develop alternative ways of conceptualising healthcare delivery that are relevant and visionary.
  • Strategically manage a substantial, practice-based project in such a way that it does not impinge on the rights and concerns of others, works to schedule, in close consultation with relevant stakeholders and to agreed standards.

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