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Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing

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

2021/22:
March 2022 - £2,112

2022/23:
September 2022 - £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.

This 40 credit Masters course (level 7) is delivered part time over 6 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. Forty 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 on-line 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).  Please note that a designated medical practitioner (DMP) is still required for GPhC and HCPC registrants until the course has been reviewed by these regulatory bodies.  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 DMP. Time with any other practitioners can support your learning and should be agreed in advance with your DMP.

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

There are a variety of assessment methods to ensure safe and effective practice. These include a case presentation, written assessments, calculations assessment, OSCE (objective structured clinical examinations) and completion of a structured learning and reflective portfolio.

The calculations assessment is a ‘must pass’ component of the course.  Due to current Nursing and Midwifery Council and Health and Care Professions Council regulatory requirements the pass mark is 100%. You can access examples of the types of questions you may encounter.

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?

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.

Postgraduate Open Day - Wednesday 16 March 2022

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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 comprises of three modules and an induction day:

September 2021

Induction day - Friday 17th September 2021

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

  • Study day 1 - Monday 20th September 2021
  • DMP Welcome Event - Monday 4th October 2021
  • Study day 2 - Monday 11th October 2021
  • Study day 3 - Monday 1st November 2021
  • Study day 4 - Monday 15th November 2021
  • Module 1 case presentation - Wednesday 24th November 2021, to be uploaded onto canvas by 4pm (does not require attendance on campus)
  • Assessment day - Monday 6th December 2021
  • Bank Holiday / University Closed Days (23rd December 2021 to 3rd January 2022 inclusive)
  • Interim portfolio submission - Tuesday 4th January 2022
  • Resit day - Monday 17th January 2022

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

  • Study day 1 - Monday 10th January 2022
  • Study day 2 - Tuesday 11th January 2022
  • Study day 3 - Monday 31st January 2022
  • Study day 4 - Tuesday 1st February 2022
  • Study day 5 - Monday 14th February 2022
  • Assessment day - Monday 7th March 2022
  • Final portfolio submission - Monday 11th April 2022, 4pm (does not require attendance on campus)
  • Resit day - Monday 11th April 2021
  • Bank Holiday /University Closed Days (18th - 20th April 2022 inclusive)
  • Bank Holiday - Monday 2nd May and Monday 30th May 2022
  • Examination Board (TBC - week beginning 6th June 2022)
  • Portfolio results due date - Thursday 12th May 2022

Module 3 - Prescribing: Structured Reflective Portfolio (compulsory study days for NMC registrants, optional for GPhC and HCPC registrants, non credit-bearing)

  • Module 3 study day 1 - Tuesday 2nd November 2021
  • Module 3 study day 2 - Monday 17th January 2022
  • Module 3 study day 3 - Tuesday 15th February 2022

March 2022

Induction Day - Monday 7 March 2022

Module 1 - Prescribing: Scientific Principles and Practice

  • Module 1 Study Day 1 - Tuesday 8 March 2022
  • DMP Welcome Event - Tuesday 8 March 2022 (Virtual Event)
  • Module 1 Study Day 2 - Monday 21 March 2022
  • Module 1 Study Day 3 - Monday 11 April 2022
  • Module 1 Case Presentation - Monday 2 May 2022 (Upload to Canvas by 10am)
  • Module 1 Study Day 4 - Tuesday 12 April 2022
  • Module 1 Assessment Day - Monday 9 May
  • Bank Holidays/University Closed days - Friday 15 April 2022 - Wednesday 20 April 2022 inclusive, 2 May 2022 and 30 May 2022
  • Interim portfolio Submission - Friday 27 May 4pm
  • Module 1 Resit Day - 13 June 2022

Module 2 - Prescribing: Safe Effective Practice

  • Module 2 Study Day 1 - Monday 23 May 2022
  • Module 2 Study Day 2 - Monday 6 June 2022
  • Module 2 Study Day 3 - Monday 20 June 2022
  • Module 2 Study Day 4 - Tuesday 21 June 2022
  • Module 2 Study Day 5 - Monday 4 July 2022
  • Module Assessment Day - Monday 18 July 2022
  • Final portfolio submission - Friday 2 September 2022 4pm
  • Module 2 Resit Day - Monday 5 September 2022
  • Bank Holiday/University Closed Day - Monday 29 August 2022
  • Examination Board - TBC
  • Portfolio Results Due Date - Monday 3 October 2022

Module 3 - Prescribing: Structured Reflective Portfolio

  • Module 3 Study Day 1 - Monday 25 April 2022
  • Module 3 Study Day 2 - Tuesday 7 June 2022
  • Module Study Day 3 - Tuesday 5 July 2022

Fees

2021/22:
March 2022 - £2,112

2022/23:
September 2022 - £2,180

How To Apply

Please note: 

  • For September 2021 entry – deadline for applications 26th July 2021

  • March 2022 entry - deadline for applications 24th January 2022

  • 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 course is only available to applicants who are registered with the following:  General Pharmaceutical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, Health and Care Professionals Council

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

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) (2019) ‘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.

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

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 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

Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Paramedics, Therapeutic Radiographers

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).

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.
  • 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 medical practitioner (DMP) 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.

International Requirements


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 51 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 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 (DMP) (NMC registrants) or Designated Medical Practitioner (DMP) (DPhC and HCPC registrants) to supervise the minimum 12 days (90 hours) learning in practice.

Nominated DPP/DMP’s 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/DMP 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:

  •  Any registered health professional practitioner acting in the DPP role must be able to demonstrate they meet all competencies within the Competency Framework for all Prescribers (RPS 2016)

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

Please note that a designated medical practitioner (DMP) is still required for GPhC and HCPC registrants until the course has been reviewed by these regulatory bodies. 

Assessment Methods

Module 1:

  • Case presentation
  • Written assessment 
  • Calculations Examination (must pass at 100%) (sample questions).

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/DMP

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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