Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing

The Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing will enable you to develop the consultation and prescribing skills required to qualify as an independent prescriber within your area of practice.  

This multi-professional course is currently open to pharmacists, physiotherapists, nurses and midwives
The course adopts a blended learning approach including interactive face-to-face study days, teaching with simulated patients to develop communication and clinical skills, distance learning and completion of a structured learning and reflective portfolio and learning in practice under the supervision of your designated medical practitioner (DMP).

This 40 credit Masters (level 7) course is delivered part time over 6 months and comprises two compulsory 20 credit modules which are taken consecutively.

The course adopts a blended learning approach which includes face-to-face teaching, case studies, discussion and on-line learning. There is a strong emphasis on self-directed learning to ensure the content is related to your area of practice.  This approach allows you the flexibility to manage your learning, practice elements of the programme as well as work and personal commitments.

Both modules must be passed to be awarded the Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing

The course aims to equip pharmacists, nurses, midwives, physiotherapists and podiatrists with the skills required to manage and prescribe for patients safely and effectively. 

Why study this course

Throughout the course there will be an emphasis on linking theoretical knowledge to practical skills.  The course is designed around the core principles of safe and effective prescribing practice for application across therapeutic areas and clinical specialities in a variety of settings. 

Interactive face to face teaching activities will include the use of real-life and simulated scenarios with case studies to develop competence in prescribing practice.   You will develop clinical management plans and consider the care of the patient as part of a multi-disciplinary team.  

Role-play scenarios with the use of expert patient actors will facilitate development of strong communication and clinical skills, vital for positive interaction with patients and fellow healthcare professions.  Further learning and development of prescribing competencies will be supported through lectures and distance learning via a virtual learning environment. 

On successful completion, you will be awarded the Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing.

Modules

This multi-professional blended learning course takes place over 6 months including 8 face-to-face study days with a further 1.5 days to complete course assessment.  Attendance at the University for these dates is mandatory and will need to be repeated if missed. 

A further 16.5 days learning is provided through online activities and independent learning. 

You will be required to arrange a minimum of 90 hours (12 days) placement, in practice under the clinical supervision of an approved Designated Medical Practitioner (DMP). This is necessary in order to complete the programme. Should your working circumstances or placement arrangements change and you are therefore not able to successfully complete the required clinical supervision you will not be able to complete the programme.   

The course comprise of two modules and an induction day: 

September 2017

Induction day - Friday 22 September 2017

Module 1 – Prescribing: Scientific Principles & Practice (20 credits)

  • Study day 1 - Monday 25 September 2017
  • Study day 2 - Monday 23 October 2017
  • Study day 3 - Monday 13 November 2017
  • Assessment day - Monday 4 December 2017
  • Interim portfolio submission - Wednesday 3 January 2018, 4pm
  • Resit day - Monday 22 January 2018

Module 2 – Prescribing: Safe & Effective Practice (20 credits)

  • Study day 1 - Monday 8 January 2018
  • Study day 2 - Tuesday 9 January 2018
  • Study day 3 - Monday 5 February 2018
  • Study day 4 - Tuesday 6 February 2018
  • Study day 5 - Monday 19 February 2018
  • Assessment day - Monday 12 March 2018
  • Final portfolio submission - Thursday 12 April 2018, 4pm
  • Resit day - Monday 16 April 2018

March 2018

Induction day - Monday 5 March

Module 1 – Prescribing: Scientific Principles & Practice (20 credits)

  • Study day 1 - Tuesday 6 March 2018
  • Study day 2 - Monday 9 April 2018
  • Study day 3 - Tuesday 10 April 2018
  • Assessment day - Monday 14 May 2018
  • Interim portfolio submission - Friday 1 June 2018, 4pm
  • Resit day - Monday 18 June 2018

Module 2 – Prescribing: Safe & Effective Practice (20 credits)

  • Study day 1 - Monday 11 June 2018
  • Study day 2 - Tuesday 12 June 2018
  • Study day 3 - Monday 25 June 2018
  • Study day 4 - Tuesday 26 June 2018
  • Study day 5 - Monday 9 July 2018
  • Assessment day - Monday 23 July 2018
  • Final portfolio submission - Monday 3 September 2018, 4pm
  • Resit day - Monday 3 September 2018

Related staff

Fees and funding

£1750

Entry requirements

Admissions to the course are undertaken through a process of a university application followed by a supplementary course application form. You will be required to submit confirmation of your prior experience in relation to your intended prescribing role. Your application will need to be supported by your line manager/employer(s) and where relevant agreement of your organisation's non-medical prescribing lead.

Due to the nature of teaching and learning on this course the number of places in each cohort is controlled. Admissions to the Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing may therefore be competitive. In the circumstance that there are more applicants than the available number of places on the course, offers will be recommended based on the following: 

  • Students on the University of Birmingham's MSc Advanced Clinical Practice/MSc Advancing Physiotherapy Practice where prescribing is included as part of the course 
  • Priority need and support for prescribing role demonstrated in the application  

If your application meets the criteria (subject to conditions placed on the application) but the immediate cohort is full, a conditional offer will be recommended for the next available entry. 

Accreditation Prior (Experiential) Learning (APEL) will not be considered for any part of this course.

All candidates will be subject to an interview.  Offers to the course will be conditional on satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) statement.

Pharmacists

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) sets learning outcomes for independent prescribing courses.  Courses are underpinned by A Competency Framework for all Prescribers.

By the end of the course you must provide evidence that you meet the learning outcomes and prescribing competencies.

  • Current registration for Pharmacists with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).
  • Minimum of 2 years post-registration patient orientated experience in the UK, in an identified area of clinical practice.
  • Experience post qualification of working within the clinical area in which you will prescribe.
  • Honours degree or evidence of ability to study the prescribing qualification at Level M (MPharm or equivalent professional qualification).
  • Supporting evidence of up-to-date clinical, pharmacological and pharmaceutical knowledge relevant to the intended area of prescribing practice.
  • Provide written confirmation from your employer/sponsor of their support for you to undertake the course and to provide appropriate supervised practice in the clinical area where you are expected to prescribe.
  • Supporting evidence of appropriate continuing professional development during this experience will also be required.
  • Have an identified Designated Medical Practitioner (DMP) who meets the eligibility criteria for medical supervision of pharmacist prescribers and who has agreed to provide the required term of supervised practice.
  • A satisfactory current enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) statement.
  • Have self-declaration of health and character.  

Nurses

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) sets learning outcomes for independent prescribing courses. Courses are underpinned by A Competency Framework for all Prescribers.

By the end of the course you must provide evidence that you meet the learning outcomes and prescribing competencies.

  • Be a first level registered nurse, midwife or specialist community public health nurse and be deemed by your employer to be competent to undertake the course.
  • Hold an Honours degree or have evidence of the ability to study the prescribing qualification at Level M (BSc/BA Honours degree or equivalent professional qualification).
  • Supporting evidence of up-to-date clinical, pharmacological and pharmaceutical knowledge relevant to the intended area of prescribing practice.
  • Written confirmation from your employer of their support for you to undertake the course.
  • Have an identified Designated Medical Practitioner (DMP) who meets the eligibility criteria for medical supervision of nurse prescribers and who has agreed to provide the required term of supervised practice.
  • A satisfactory current enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) statement.
  • Have self-declaration of health and character.
  • Confirmation from employer that all course attendance will be supported plus a minimum of ten protected learning days for the course.

Physiotherapists and Podiatrists

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) sets learning outcomes for independent prescribing courses. Courses are underpinned by A Competency Framework for all Prescribers.

Outline Curriculum Framework for Education Programmes to Prepare Physiotherapists and Podiatrists as Independent/Supplementary Prescribers and to Prepare Radiographers as Supplementary Prescribers (PDF).

By the end of the course you must provide evidence that you meet the learning outcomes and prescribing competencies.  

  • Current registration with the Health & Care Professions Council and professional group e.g. CSP (includes professional indemnity).
  • A BSc/BA Honours degree or equivalent. (Evidence of equivalence of your qualification(s) to the UK educational system of awards can be found at www.naric.org.uk). The degree should normally be a first or upper second class Honours degree.
  • You must provide evidence of at least 3 years’ experience post qualification of working within the clinical area in which they will prescribe.
  • Be able to demonstrate how they reflect on their own performance and take responsibility for their own Continuing Professional Development (CPD) including development of networks for support, reflection and learning.
  • Supporting evidence of appropriate continuing professional development during this experience will also be required.
  • Be able to demonstrate medicines and clinical governance arrangements are in place to support safe and effective supplementary and / or independent prescribing.
  • A letter from employer/sponsor to support application and to provide appropriate supervised practice in the clinical area where they are expected to prescribe.
    1. A named and approved (designated) medical practitioner (DMP) who has experience of the relevant field of practice;
    2. training and experience in supervision
    3. agrees to provide student with opportunities to develop competences in prescribing, and support and assess the student during their clinical placement.
  • Evidence of satisfactory current Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check within last 3 months.
  • Evidence of satisfactory health declaration and immunisation record.

How to apply

Please note: 

  • the closing date for the September 2017 start date is the 3rd July 2017
  • the closing date for the March 2018 start date is the 11th December 2017

All applicants are required to complete the online application, once this has been reviewed you will be sent a further supplementary application form for completion.

The running of the course is subject to minimum numbers.

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

During attendance at the University you will undertake key lectures, small group work, workshops and enquiry based learning.  Core clinical assessment skills will be developed as part of the course study days including consultation and diagnostic skills relevant to a range of specialties.  Role-play scenarios including the use of expert patient actors will facilitate the development of effective communication and clinical skills. 

The virtual learning environment CANVAS will support directed and independent learning.  You will use the web-based SCRIPT e-learning programme.  This comprises of 44 modules designed to improve prescribing competency and is developed in partnership with Health Education England – West Midlands and OCB media.  SCRIPT offers a range of modules including Fundamentals of Pharmacology, Dosing and Calculations and modules related to specific therapeutic areas. 

You will develop the knowledge required to support their clinical decision making and prescribing practice.  You will prepare for and reflect upon the key learning within the University and undertake the full range of portfolio activity to evidence your achievement of learning outcomes and prescribing competencies. 

During the period of supervised learning in practice you will develop your prescribing competencies and evidence achievement of learning outcomes. 

You will require an identified Designated Medical Practitioner (DMP) to supervise the minimum 12 days (90 hours) learning in practice.  Nominated DMP’s must meet the Department of Health eligibility criteria for supervision: 

  • Registered medical practitioner with at least three years recent clinical experience for a group of patients in the relevant area of practice.
  • Works within a GP practice* OR is a specialist registrar*, clinical assistant* or consultant* within a NHS Trust or other NHS employer .
  • Has the support of employing organisation to act as the DMP to provide supervision, support and opportunities to develop competence in prescribing practice.
  • Experience of training in teaching and/or supervising in practice.
  • Normally works with the trainee independent prescriber.

Assessment methods

Module 1:

  • Structured learning and reflective portfolio
  • Virtual scenario-based assessment
  • Group presentations of set prescribing scenarios
  • Calculations Examination (must pass at 100%) 

Module 2:

  • Structured learning and reflective portfolio
  • Five station OSCE
  • One hour Extended Matching MCQ examination + short answer examination
  • Completion of 90 hours supervised learning in practice, validated and signed off by DMP (to be completed by the end of module 2)

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For more information visit the Careers Network website.

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