Combining academic and practice-based learning to develop person-centred cultures and professional practice using practitioner inquiry.
Study Developing Practice in Healthcare at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.
The ethos behind this programme is the development of person-centred cultures, using a professional practice-based learning model that embraces practitioner inquiry and practitioner research, thereby contributing to the development of knowledgeable and dynamic person-centred practitioners who are sensitive to the needs of people who use healthcare services. The programme values knowledge gained through critical reflection on practice experience used in conjunction with the range of knowledge sources. The delivery of person-centred practice (McCormack and McCance 2010) requires practitioners to know and understand self in the context of their practice. Critical reflection is one means to achieve this. Consequently, within the DPHC the focus is on the practitioner learning from practice, understanding the theory underpinning their professional practice-based learning through critical reflection and applying this learning to practice. Many of the modules require students to provide evidence of their learning and development in practice through an academic portfolio mapped to learning outcomes.
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About this course
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The programme combines formal and practice based learning. Outcomes from the DPHC programme link closely with personal and professional practice based objectives, identified through staff appraisal. This provides the opportunity for practitioners to simultaneously achieve personal growth, reward and achievement while contributing to organisational and practice development.
Although some elements of the programme are taught or delivered online, most of the learning is achieved in and from practice, where the practitioner works with a practice based facilitator (who is a recognised teacher with the Ulster University) and completes a portfolio of their learning. Practice based facilitators enable the practitioner to select the most appropriate modules to match their needs and to meet the requirements of the award.
The facilitator role is pivotal as they provide the contact or 'teaching time' for practitioners to learn. This time equates to 6 hours in total/practitioner/module. Additional support is offered to students through taught sessions in the University and through Blackboard Learn.
The programme combines formal and practice based learning and is offered on a part time basis.
Although some elements of the programme are taught in the University or delivered online, most of the learning is achieved in and from practice practitioners area of practice. The practitioner works with a practice based facilitator (who is a recognised teacher with the Ulster University) and completes a portfolio of their learning. Practice based facilitators provide the contact or 'teaching time' for practitioners to learn. This time equates to 6 hours in total/practitioner/module. Additional support is offered to students through taught sessions in the University and through Blackboard Learn.
Students are expected to attend all classes associated with the taught elements of the
programme and be punctual and regular in attendance.
- September 2017
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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Enhancing Person-centredness Through Practice Development
This level 7 module focuses on person-centred practice as a form of practice that holds central the personhood of everyone involved in health and social care ? staff, people who use healthcare services and care partners. This module focuses on how person-centred concepts and theories are applied in the variety of health and social care contexts through the use of Practice Development and reflective practice. The module will be underpinned by the Person-centred Nursing Framework of McCormack & McCance (2010), the Practice Development Framework and models of reflective practice.
Applying Evidence Informed Practice
This module is optional
This Level 7 module enables health and social care professionals to demonstrate learning within their sphere of practice. It uses practice-based learning opportunities to explore ways in which evidence can inform and enhance practice. This is achieved through the progression of critical reflection and two practice-based outcomes.
Innovation in Developing Practice
This module is optional
This Level 7 module enables health and social care professionals to expand their career roles/goals, through exploration of the concepts of academic enterprise through innovation and change. It includes learning skills needed to obtain maximum benefit from critical reflection of practice-based practice, with a view to introducing new ways of working. This is achieved through the progression of two practice-based outcomes.
Facilitation and Leadership in Developing Practice
This module is optional
This level 7 module enables students to demonstrate through practice-based learning, the development if facilitation and leadership skills and knowledge. This is undertaken through the progression of two practice-based outcomes.
Enhancing Expertise in Practice
This module is optional
This Level 7 module enables health and social care professionals to critically engage with opportunities for developing their practice expertise, within their sphere of practice, noting the co-dependency between levels of action and reflection. It includes learning skills needed to obtain maximum benefit from critical reflection of practice-based practice, with a view to enhancing expertise in practice. This is achieved through the progression of two practice-based outcomes.
Advanced Methods in Research and Development in Health and Social Care
This module builds upon previous study of research methods and enables students to develop and apply theoretical and scientific knowledge and problem solving skills, extending their understanding of the philosophical and practical aspects of research, service evaluation and practice development. In particular, it examines quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research designs for collecting, recording, analysing and interpreting data with the ultimate goal of further developing their research and development skills.
MSc research project
This is a required component of a programme leading to a MSc. The student completes, under supervision, a research proposal with successful submission to appropriate ethics committee/s and completes a research project which makes a contribution to the knowledge base for professional practice. This is assessed by coursework.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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(a) have gained
(i) an Honours or non-Honours degree from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard;
(ii) an equivalent standard in a Postgraduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate or an approved alternative qualification;
(b) have successfully completed an undergraduate research module (or equivalent learning);
(c) Applicants should normally satisfy the following:
Hold an appropriate professional qualification (i.e):
A degree in Nursing, Health or Social Care, or equivalent standard in a PG Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate or approved alternative qualification OR Exceptionally, provide evidence of achievement of graduate qualities through APL (see Regulations for detail).
Be employed within health and social care organisations with whom a Memorandum of Understanding has been reached.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.5 with no band score less than 6.5.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Teaching and learning assessment
Learning and Teaching Methods:
A range of learning and teaching methods are used to enable students to develop knowledge and understanding related to these learning outcomes and to provide the foundation for other learning. There is a continuous focus upon how theory is linked to and is informed by practice. Methods used include: facilitation in practice, critical reflection, portfolio development, workshops, lectures, seminars/discussions, e-learning, guided reading, teacher and peer observation, presentation, creative methods and debate. Multi-media and other material may be used to support this.
Self, peer and teacher/facilitator assessment will be used throughout the course to assess the achievement of learning outcomes and will require students to demonstrate the blending of theory with practice through participation, critical reflection and by production of coursework, an assignment or portfolio of evidence. A combination of formative and summative assessment will be employed to demonstrate student learning. Students will be expected to note where the feedback gained from formative assessment influenced their summative submissions to demonstrate development and achievement of learning outcomes.
Students are also required to complete a Post Feedback Action Plan reflecting on the feedback received from summative coursework, what can be improved on and how they plan to achieve this. The identified areas for action are: specific focus of feedback, outcome measure for achievement, resources required to achieve identified action, realism of identified actions and when it should be completed. They may then use this for future development in consultation with the practice-based facilitator.
Exemptions and transferability
Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the
University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the
accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from
part of the course provided that:
(a) they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at
least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level in respect
of a Master’s award and at least 50% of the credit value of the award in respect
of a Postgraduate Diploma [or Cert] award
(b) no exemption shall be permitted from the research project.
Careers & opportunities
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Students within the programme come to us with an existing employment background within health and social care. On completion of this programme we expect students to continue their employment in health and social care organisations with an enhanced range of transferable knowledge and skills to benefit their communities, individual patients/families and their carers and employer. We also expect graduates to achieve a higher professional and personal profile within their organisation, enhancing their prospects of promotion. Additionally, we expect a number of postgraduate students to progress to undertaking research studies within the Institute of Nursing and Health Research at the Ulster University and other institutions.
Work placement / study abroad
Students will be already employed in Health and Social Care Organisations (either NHS or independent sector).
Person-centred practice and practice development are underpinned by a robust and dynamic research base. Members of the academic teaching team are associates of the International Practice Development Collaborative and the Person-Centred Practice International Community of Practice forums that are committed to researching and working together to develop person-centred cultures.
Students wishing to apply for a Department of Health (DoH) Commissioned place will need to discuss their application with their line manager in their Health and Social Care Trust. The HSCT will manage your application.
Those who are not eligible for DoH Commissioned places, must apply via the University online application system. (known as the self-funded route) and should contact the Course Director for more information.How to apply
- September 2017
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
View Ulster University’s 2017 fees policy
- Northern Ireland & EU:
Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Master’s), please note that the price displayed is for the complete master’s programme. Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis. Find out more
Scholarships, awards and prizes
Students can compete for the Institute of Nursing and Health Research Mona Grey
Post-Registration Nursing Research Award.
This award, sponsored by the Institute of Nursing and Health Research in the School of Nursing, recognises excellence in nursing research in postgraduate students. Postgraduate Nursing students [Registered Nurses] from the School of Nursing who have achieved a minimum of 65% will be invited to apply for this award.
Additional mandatory costs
There are no additional mandatory costs associated with this programme
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them in the online prospectus. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
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 wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Course Director: Dr Donna Brown
T: +44 (0 )28 9036 8512
I think the way the modules are designed lets me as the student have the autonomy to choose how to enhance my own learning and I have a good support structure to do that.
Although I found the work challenging, I welcomed the opportunity to explore and expand my own knowledge base. This approach has enabled me to transfer new knowledge into my every day practice and to share this knowledge in a variety of different situations. I would recommend this approach to accreditation of learning to anyone considering undertaking an academic award. Thank you to my skilled facilitators who demonstrated considerable knowledge of the DPHC programme while challenging my own thinking in exploring new and tacit knowledge.