The MSc Advanced Nursing Practice programme is aimed at students who wish to develop a career as an advanced nurse practitioner. It is underpinned by the Advanced Nursing Practice Framework for Northern Ireland (DoH 2016). This co-produced programme has been designed to equip registered experienced nurses with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and competencies to make a meaningful contribution to patient care in a safe and professional manner.
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The MSc in Advanced Nursing Practice is undertaken over two academic years. Via the commissioning process, students are appointed to full-time ANP trainee posts within the HSCTs or GP Federations in NI and undertake the course on a part time basis. To achieve the academic award of MSc Advanced Nursing Practice, students must complete 180 credits of academic study at level 7, plus a practice learning component and portfolio. The academic study is comprised of two 30 credit modules in Advanced Research Methods and Development in Health and Social Care (NUR857) and Transforming Practice Through Person-centred Collective Leadership (NUR878), two 30 credit pathway specific modules, and the MSc Project (NUR836) worth 60 credits. Students must also pass a non-credit bearing practice-based module to evidence achievement of the competencies set out within the ANP Framework for Northern Ireland (DoH 2016). During Year 1 Semester 1, students will commence two modules, Advanced Methods in Research Methods and Developement in Health and Social Care, and the first pathway specific module. In Year 1, Semester 2, students will continue their first pathway module, and will also complete NUR878 Transforming Leadership Through Person-centred Collective Leadership. Alongside this, they will complete practice learning. In Year 2, Semester 1 and 2, students will study their second pathway module, and will concurrently undertake their MSc Project across semesters 1, 2 and 3. Simultaneously they will complete the practice learning component, totalling 258 days over the whole course. The design of the course means that:
• Students are introduced to research concepts at the start of the course so that this embeds their critical and evidence-informed thinking from the outset and allows them the maximum time to formulate and develop their research idea and gain any necessary ethical permissions in a timely way
• Concepts of leadership are introduced in semester 2 once students have settled into their ANP trainee role The MSc project is divided across 3 semesters, allowing students to pace their project work across the whole of the second year.
Practice learning and portfolio development run the full length of the programme, allowing students to develop as theory is applied to practice, demonstrating their increasing independence as the course progresses.
The ANP PAD module is a non-credit bearing practice-based module. It has been designed to allow students to demonstrate progression of competence across the 258 days of practice learning. Students are guided by a practice portfolio and a practice learning handbook. The structure of the course and module content ensures that professional knowledge and skills are underpinned by current evidence based approaches.
Attendance will be at the Jordanstown campus (dependent on availability).
The MSc in Advanced Nursing Practice is undertaken over two academic years. Via the commissioning process, students are appointed to full-time ANP trainee posts within the HSCTs or GP Federations in Northern Ireland and undertake the course on a part time basis. They will complete the practice learning component, (totalling 258 days), by working as a trainee ANP for 3 days per week in practice under the supervision of a Clinical Practice Supervisor and spend 2 days per week with university learning.
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Teaching, learning and assessment take a variety of forms across the suite of modules in this course. The strategies used are based on principles of adult learning such as self-direction and a capacity to draw upon experience.
Teaching strategies are selected by the nature of the intended learning outcomes. The learning experience is designed to encourage students to become active and motivated learners, who can seek information, question and analyse its validity and draw appropriate and logical conclusions. Students are encouraged to make connections between theoretical content and clinical and professional experiences and this facilitates their ability to move from understanding practice and applying skills taught, to questioning and critiquing practice.
Teaching methods on the course include:
Lectures will be used to deliver key content and class discussions and seminars will be used to analyse topics and case studies.
Seminars that encourage students to take responsibility for leading discussions on practice based issues and reviewing the current literature in their field
Tutorial group work sessions enable students to examine a specific focus. Small group working is encouraged throughout the course to enable students to engage with problem based learning
Creativity is encouraged to enable students to develop a flexible approach to learning and some pathways will undertake a verbal presentation and poster that will also provide enhanced learning.
Alongside university based learning, students will be undertaking practice learning and this will provide rich experiences for discussion, analysis and reflection.
Assessment throughout the course has been constructively aligned to the learning outcomes of each of the modules and all contain a combination of formative and summative components. Ongoing formative assessment occurs throughout the course and students are encouraged to discuss their progress and actively plan to address identified learning needs. Summative assessment of student performance and progression is carried out through coursework and all pathways will undertake an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Assessments include essays, presentations, literature reviews and reflective analyses. These are designed to test knowledge and understanding, to allow students to integrate and apply information, and encourage the development of critical thinking skills.
The ANP PAD module is a non-credit bearing practice-based module. It has been designed to allow students to demonstrate progression of competence across the 258 days of practice learning. All students will complete the same PAD module regardless of pathway, but may use a variety of pathway specific evidence to demonstrate how they have met the ANP competencies for NI (DoH 2016). Students are guided by a practice portfolio and a practice learning handbook.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Each pathway is led by its own specific Pathway Leader, details of whom are below:
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.
High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.
Applicants must hold a degree [with at least 2:2 Honours standard for Master's only programmes] or equivalent or demonstrate their ability to undertake the programme through the accreditation of prior experiential learning. Students undertaking this course will normally be commissioned by a Health and Social Care Trust, GP Federation, or similar organisation. Students will be working in a clinical area which will facilitate their achievement of the advanced nurse practitioner competencies. And
Have live registration as a nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in a relevant field of practice
Have successfully completed a non-medical prescribing / nurse and midwife prescribing (v300) course
Provide confirmation of an Access NI check within the last three years
Have agreement of their employing organisation to ensure that appropriate governance arrangements are in place
Provide confirmation of the availability of an appropriately qualified clinical practice
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Accreditation of Prior Learning may be considered through the School of Nursing APL process for the Advanced Methods in Research and Development in Health and Social Care module only. Students are encouraged to discuss this with the Course Director. There are no exemptions from the other modules. Because of the clinical specificity of each area of practice, students will complete all core modules and both modules on their particular pathway, in addition to the MSc project and the ANP PAD.
The unique commissioning arrangement within Northern Ireland means that students undertaking the MSc Advanced Nursing Practice are commissioned by their employer to a Band 7 Advanced Nursing Practice Trainee post. On successful completion of this course, they are eligible to apply for a Band 8a Advanced Nursing Practitioner post. Graduates of this course are also eligible to apply for PhD study.
Work placement / study abroad
Students are appointed to full-time ANP trainee posts within the HSCTs or GP Federations in Northern Ireland and undertake the course on a part time basis. They will complete the practice learning component, (totalling 258 days), by working as a trainee ANP for 3 days per week in practice under the supervision of a Clinical Practice Supervisor and spend 2 days per week with university learning.
Fees and funding
Fees (total cost)
The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.
For modules commenced in the academic year 2022/23, the following fees apply:
NB: A standard full-time PGCert is equivalent to 60 credit points per year. A standard full-time PGDip is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.
Scholarships, awards and prizes
There are several awards available to students during this course. Students with outstanding performance in the leadership module may be considered for the Professor Robert Bowman Award. Outstanding students in MSc research project module may be eligible to apply for the Mona Grey Award.
Additional mandatory costs
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.