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Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing

Start date
September, January, March
Duration
6 months
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
Fees

2022/23
September 2022, January 2023 and March 2023: £2,180
More details on fees and funding

A multi-professional course to enable you to develop the consultation and prescribing skills required to qualify as an independent prescriber within your area of practice.

The structure of the NHS, healthcare and service delivery is changing at a fast pace. New roles across healthcare services are developing and supporting a multi-disciplinary team approach to improving patient outcomes. This includes supporting patients to access a range of healthcare professionals with the ability to prescribe appropriately and safely within their scope of practice.  

This 40 credit Masters course (level 7) is delivered part-time over six months and comprises two compulsory 20 credit modules, which are taken consecutively, and an overarching non-credit bearing module that includes the period of supervised learning in practice and portfolio. All modules must be passed to be awarded the Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing. 40 credits is approximately 400 hours of student endeavour.

This course is currently open to pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, nurses, midwives, paramedics and therapeutic radiographers.

At Masters level you are expected to act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks. You will need to demonstrate that you are able to systematically deal with complex issues and make sound judgements, sometimes in the absence of incomplete data.

The course adopts a blended learning approach including interactive face-to-face study days, case studies, discussions and online learning. Teaching also includes working with simulated patients to develop communication and clinical skills.  Your development is supported by learning in practice under the supervision of your Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP). NMC registrants will require the support of a practice supervisor in addition to the DPP.  You should be spending at least 50% of your supervised learning in practice time with your DPP. Time with any other practitioners can support your learning and should be agreed in advance with your DPP.

There is a strong emphasis on self-directed learning to ensure that the content is contextualised to your area of practice. The blending learning approach allows flexibility in managing your learning to support professional and personal commitments.

There are a variety of assessment methods to ensure safe and effective practice. These include a case presentation, pharmacology-based assessment, calculations assessment, Significant Event Analysis, OSCE (objective structured clinical examinations), 24 mandatory SCRIPT modules and completion of a structured learning and reflective portfolio.

Please note as you are qualified, registered and practicing professionals, you are subject to the fitness to practice procedure for your professional regulator.

Why study this course?

  • There is 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 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 holistic care of the patient as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Role-play scenarios with the use of expert patient actors facilitates development of strong communication and clinical skills, vital for positive interaction with patients and fellow healthcare professionals. Further learning and development of prescribing competencies is supported through lectures and distance learning via a virtual learning environment.
  • You will have access to our Clinical Skills Suite with state of the art equipment and facilities. 
  • On successful completion of the course, you will be awarded the Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing.

Modules

This multi-professional blended learning course takes place over 6 months including 10 face-to-face study days (13 for NMC students). Attendance at the University for these dates is mandatory. There are an additional 3 days which are compulsory attendance for NMC students and optional for HCPC and GPhC registrants. These study days form part of module 3. 

There are an additional 1.5 days for completion of face-to-face assessment days.

You will be required to arrange a minimum of 90 hours (12 days) placement, in practice under the clinical supervision of an approved Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP). 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.

September 2022

  • Induction day: Friday 16 September 2022
  • Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) welcome event: Monday 3 October 2022 (evening, virtual)

Module 1 - Prescribing: Scientific Principles and Practice

  • Study day 1: Monday 19 September 2022
  • Study day 2: Monday 10 October 2022
  • Study day 3: Tuesday 1 November 2022
  • Study day 4: Monday 14 November 2022
  • Case presentation: Wednesday 23 November 2022
  • Assessment day: Monday 5 December 2022
  • Interim portfolio submission: Tuesday 3 January 2023
  • Module 1 Resit Day: Monday 16 January 2023

Module 2 - Prescribing: Safe Effective Practice

  • Study day 1: Monday 9 January 2023
  • Study day 2: Tuesday 10 January 2023
  • Study day 3: Monday 6 February 2023
  • Study day 4: Tuesday 7 February 2023
  • Study day 5: Monday 13 February 2023
  • Assessment day: Monday 6 March 2023
  • Final portfolio submission: Tuesday 11 April 2023 at 4pm
  • Module 2 resit day: Monday 17 April 2023
  • Portfolio results due date: Thursday 11 May 2023

Module 3 - Prescribing: Structured Reflective Portfolio

  • Study day 1: Monday 17 October 2022
  • Study day 2: Monday 23 January 2023
  • Study day 3: Tuesday 14 February 2023

January 2023

  • Induction day: Monday 16 January 2023
  • Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) welcome event: Tuesday 17 January 2023 at 6pm (virtual)

Module 1 - Prescribing: Scientific Principles and Practice

  • Study day 1: Monday 30 January 2023
  • Study day 2: Monday 27 February 2023
  • Study day 3: Monday 13 March 2023
  • Study day 4: Monday 27 March 2023
  • Case presentation: Wednesday 12 April 2023
  • Assessment day: Monday 24 April 2023
  • Interim portfolio submission: Friday 12 May 2023
  • Module 1 Resit Day: Wednesday 24 May 2023

Module 2 - Prescribing: Safe Effective Practice

  • Study day 1: Monday 15 May 2023
  • Study day 2: Monday 22 May 2023
  • Study day 3: Tuesday 23 May 2023
  • Study day 4: Monday 5 June 2023
  • Study day 5: Tuesday 6 June 2023
  • Assessment day: Monday 26 June 2023
  • Final portfolio submission: Friday 14 July 2023 (does not require attendance on campus)
  • Module 2 resit day: Monday 24 July 2023
  • Portfolio results due date: Monday 14 August 2023

Module 3 - Prescribing: Structured Reflective Portfolio

  • Study day 1: Monday 20 March 2023
  • Study day 2: Tuesday 16 May 2023
  • Study day 3: Monday 12 June 2023

March 2023

  • Induction day: Tuesday 7 March 2023
  • Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) welcome event: Monday 27 March 2023 (virtual)

Module 1 - Prescribing: Scientific Principles and Practice

  • Study day 1: Tuesday 28 March 2023
  • Study day 2: Monday 3 April 2023
  • Study day 3: Tuesday 4 April 2023
  • Study day 4: Tuesday 25 April 2023
  • Case presentation: Tuesday 2 May 2023
  • Assessment day: Monday 8 May 2023
  • Interim portfolio submission: Friday 26 May 2023
  • Module 1 Resit Day: Monday 12 June 2023

Module 2 - Prescribing: Safe Effective Practice

  • Study day 1: Tuesday 30 May 2023
  • Study day 2: Tuesday 13 June 2023
  • Study day 3: Monday 19 June 2023
  • Study day 4: Tuesday 20 June 2023
  • Study day 5: Monday 3 July 2023
  • Assessment day: Monday 17 July 2023
  • Final portfolio submission: Monday 4 September 2023 (does not require attendance on campus)
  • Module 2 resit day: Monday 4 September 2023
  • Portfolio results due date: Monday 2 October 2023

Module 3 - Prescribing: Structured Reflective Portfolio

  • Study day 1: Tuesday 18 April 2023
  • Study day 2: Wednesday 31 May 2023
  • Study day 3: Monday 10 July 2023

Fees

2022/23
September 2022, January 2023 and March 2023: £2,180 (UK students)

How To Apply

Application deadlines

  • For September 2022 entry, the deadline for applications is Monday 15 August 2022 
  • For January 2023 entry, the deadline for applications is Monday 31 October 2022
  • For March 2023 entry, the deadline for applications is Tuesday 3 January 2023

Please note

  • All applicants are required to complete the online application. In addition, you will need to complete a supplementary application form:
  • You will also need to complete the admissions checklist.
  • Once completed, please send your form and requested documents as per admissions checklist to prescribing@contacts.bham.ac.uk. Please note that this is an essential part of the process and your application cannot be considered without this supplementary form and required documents.
  • The course is only available to applicants who are registered with the following: the General Pharmaceutical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, or the Health and Care Professionals Council.
  • The running of the course is subject to minimum numbers.
  • We are proud to announce that the University of Birmingham are listed as an institution providing course provision for Health Education England (HEE) funded pharmacist applicants. Please ensure that you send the appropriate funding documentation alongside your application form for the course following the process highlighted above.

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

Our Standard 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 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 of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) may be considered for NMC and HCPC registrants who demonstrate certified and experiential learning equivalent to the module outcomes and which maps to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) (2021) ‘Competency Framework for all Prescribers’.

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

Please note as you are qualified, registered and practicing professionals, you are subject to the fitness to practice procedure for your professional regulator.

Pharmacists

  • 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 Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) who meets the eligibility criteria for medical supervision of pharmacist prescribers and who has agreed to provide the required term of supervised practice.
  • Submit an up to date record of immunisations.
  • A satisfactory current enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) statement.
  • Have self-declaration of health and character.  

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

Nurses

To study on this course, you will need to have studied an Honours degree and achieved 2:2 upwards, or be able to evidence recent level 7 studies, demonstrating an ability to work at this academic level.

  • Be a registered nurse (level 1), a registered midwife or a specialist community public health nurse (SCPHN)
  • Current registration for Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Provide supporting evidence of safe and effective practice in their intended area of prescribing practice and at the appropriate level in the following areas:

-          Clinical/health assessment

-          Diagnostics/care management

-          Planning and evaluation of care

  • Have been registered with the NMC for a minimum of one year prior to application for entry onto the programme
  • Evidence of satisfactory health declaration and immunisation record.

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

Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Paramedics, Therapeutic Radiographers

  • 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.
  • Be professionally practising in an environment where there is an identified need to regularly use independent prescribing
  • Provide evidence of at least 3 years’ experience post qualification of working within the clinical area in which you will prescribe.
  • Be working at an advanced practitioner or equivalent level
  • Be able to demonstrate how you reflect on your own performance and take responsibility for your 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 confirm support for application and to provide appropriate supervised practice in the clinical area where they are expected to prescribe.
  • Have a named and approved Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) who has:
  • experience of the relevant field of practice; training and experience in supervision support and assessment of trainees; agrees to provide student with opportunities to develop competences in prescribing, and supervise, 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.

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

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

During attendance at the University you will undertake key lectures, small group work, workshops and problem based learning. Core clinical assessment skills will be developed as part of the course study days including consultation and examination skills. 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 51 modules designed to improve prescribing competency and is developed in partnership with Health Education England – West Midlands and OCB media. 24 of these modules are mandatory. 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 your 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 Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) to supervise the minimum 12 days (90 hours) learning in practice.

Nominated DPPs must be a registered medical or non-medical practitioner who must fulfil the following eligibility criteria, which underpin the competencies within the 'A Competency Framework for Designated Prescribing Practitioner' (RPS 2019) , and should be met by all DPPs: 

1. Regulatory requirements: 

  • Any prescriber taking on the DPP role must be registered with their professional regulator.
  • All Non-Medical Practitioners undertaking the DPP role should have the necessary annotation for a prescriber as required by their regulator. 

2. Prescribing competency framework requirements:

Suitability of the role will be determined at the application stage.  DPPs must be fit to undertake the role and must have experience of teaching and supporting students within the clinical area.

Assessment Methods

Module 1:

  • Case presentation
  • Written pharmacology-based assessment 
  • Calculations Examination (must pass at 100%)

Module 2:

  • Three station OSCE
  • Significant event analysis with clinical management plan

Module 3:

  • Structured reflective portfolio
  • Satisfactory completion of 90 hours supervised learning in practice, validated and signed off by DPP
  • Completion of 24 mandatory SCRIPT modules

Graduate destinations include: GP surgeries, mental health services, addiction services, pain management, and specialist secondary care services e.g. paediatrics, oncology, HIV.

Careers Support for Postgraduate Students

Careers Network – We can help you get ahead in the job market and develop your career

We recognise that as a postgraduate student you are likely to have specific requirements when it comes to planning for your next career step. Employers expect postgraduates to have a range of skills that exceed their subject knowledge. Careers Network offers a range of events and support services that are designed for all students, including postgraduates looking to find their niche in the job market.

Here are just a few ways in which we can help postgraduates to get ahead:

  • Careers Networking opportunities
  • Effective careers strategy toolkit
  • Year planner for all postgraduate students
  • Masters Career Coaching Workshops
  • One to one careers guidance

The Careers Network also have subject specific careers consultants and advisers for each College so you can be assured the information you receive will be relevant to your subject area. They also have a dedicated careers website for international students where you can find useful resources and information.

For more information visit the Careers Network website.

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