What is an Associate Practitioner
An Associate Practitioner, also known as an Assistant Practitioner, is a role with more responsibility than that of a health care assistant or support worker, but also has work often delegated and overseen by a registered nurse or other registered practitioner.
Associate practitioners work within defined local policies and parameters and are accountable for their practice, to their employer, their patients and the law.
Kevin’s role involves working with the community nursing team and the community specialist nurse practitioners (CSNP) within the community and nursing homes. He provides care to people where they live, including supporting them to wash and dress, doing wound dressings and helping them to manage their diabetes. He also liaises with hospital teams to support the prevention of hospital admissions wherever possible.
How do you make this change
Kevin knew that he would have to undertake additional education and training to achieve his goal to become an Associate Practitioner. He successfully completed NVQ level 2 and 3 in health and social care. Kevin is always keen to undertake courses offered by his employer over and above the mandatory training.
Kevin undertook the RCN First Steps programme which he found to be a very useful grounding to the further education that he undertook
To become an Associate Practitioner Kevin undertook a foundation degree at a higher education institution which took 2 years to complete.
What do you need to do to become an Associate Practitioner
Kevin spent time talking to colleagues already in the role and his managers about his prospects of moving into this particular role within the organisation. He spoke to the education team about the education he would need to help him to achieve this role. He researched the role on the Health Careers website and also spoke to human resources in his organisation.
By doing this, he learned what opportunities were available to him and what additional education he would need to compliment his experience and meet the essential criteria for a future position.
From there, he was able to make a plan and set goals to achieve his ambition.
What does leadership mean to you?
As an Associate Practitioner, Kevin leads the delivery of care for some of his patients. He has the knowledge, experience and confidence to mentor new and junior staff, supporting and guiding them in their roles. Kevin has grown in confidence and feels able to share ideas with the whole team, and to put them into practice within the scope of his role.
Education and training
Maths and English at either GCSE grade C/4 and above and a minimum of NVQ Level 3 in a health related subject to be accepted on to practice.
There are 2 education routes to becoming an Associate Practitioner:
- a foundation degree (SCQF Level 8), delivered by higher education institutions or further education colleges
- a foundation degree apprenticeship (in England), gained by working and learning at the same time.
Trainee Associate Practitioners maintain a portfolio, complete competencies, written exams, academic essays and give presentations as part of their education and training.
Kevin prides himself on being professional at all times and a bit of a perfectionist. He likes meeting and engaging with lots of different people and considers himself to be a real team player. He also loves to sing and have a laugh with his patients. He finds this to be beneficial to those he works with.
Where the role can lead
Associate Practitioners can undertake further study to become a Registered Nurse. Using their previous academic and experiential learning (a process called accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL)) from any of the above level 5 academic qualifications to undertake a shortened Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship.
Associate Practitioners can work roles related to education, governance, research or different clinical areas.