Post Graduate Certificate Advanced Critical Care Practitioner

For any queries regarding admissions or enrolments, please contact the Professional Development Unit Admissions team

Visit: Professional Development Unit, Level 4 Rolle Building, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, United Kingdom.

Opening hours: 

Monday - Thursday 08.30 - 17:00

Friday 08:30 - 16:30.


This is an exciting and innovative full-time programme of study at masters level, where the trainee will exit after completion of the programme with 60 masters level credits. This course will train clinicians to become competent advanced critical care practitioners over a one year period. 

Trainee practitioners will be embedded in their own intensive care units and will be supplied with learning resources online to be delivered by clinicians in their own units. 

The programme has been developed to meet identified specific workforce needs in the development and delivery of a high quality patient led service. 

The programme has been developed by the University of Plymouth with Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust as the lead Intensive Care Unit and is delivered using a blended learning approach.  

It has been developed to meet identified specific workforce needs in the development and delivery of a high quality patient led service and enables practitioners the opportunity to enhance, and develop mastery in a range of advanced clinical skills and knowledge at the cutting edge of clinical care.

The programme is based on the National Curriculum and Syllabus for ACCPs published by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM).

Key features

  • Successful completion will lead to FICM membership.
  • A student-centred approach to the programme.
  • The development of the programme has been through a dynamic collaborative working relationship between the University of Plymouth, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and other local NHS Trusts.
  • A contemporary and dynamic programme responsive to the changing health care environment.
  • Research informed teaching embedded throughout curriculum.
  • The programme is delivered by a team with extensive experience in the delivery of masters level modules and a diverse range of health and social care experience.
  • Close partnership working with clinicians contributing and leading on the teaching and assessment strategy.

The programme

The programme has an integrated approach to the development of clinical skills, knowledge and competence by trainees, all of whom will be supervised by Consultant Intensivists whilst in the clinical area. This integrated approach, implemented in the curriculum through the delivery of a single 60 credit level 7 module over an academic year encompassing the core competences for advanced critical care practitioners.

The module is delivered over one academic year and comprises 400 taught theory hours and twenty-seven weeks of associated clinical practice. All theory hours are undertaken in the clinical setting, taught by a range of expert consultants and advanced practitioners .The theory consists of key lectures, seminars self-directed learning, workshops, e learning and is delivered over via the DLE and facilitated by clinicians. Practice learning takes place in the trainees place of work and is supported by clinical supervisors, mentors and educational supervisors.

For the practice experience trainees will be integrated into their seconding trusts clinical teams from week one of the programme and undertake supervised practice learning under direct supervision of consultant intensivist, in conjunction with experienced clinical mentors and educational supervisors.

As part of the range of practice assessments trainees will be expected to undertake a number of activities. These activities include presenting case histories to their clinical teams. Undertaking relevant clinical audits in their own area and presenting their findings to the clinical directorate medical, nursing and management teams and undertaking a number of triggered assessments to test a range of advanced and complex clinical skills. Trainees will be formatively assessed on the development of their individual skills and competence every month whilst on a practice placement.

Programme aims

The programme aims to: 

  • Develop independent advanced critical care practitioners who are fit for practice and purpose to work within the varying critical care environments.
  • Develop critical thinking, critical reflection skills, autonomy and authority to make clinical decisions and prescribe within the guidelines of the ACCP role.
  • Facilitate the development of study at postgraduate level to search, retrieve, critically evaluate and synthesise current evidence base underpinning critical care medicine.
  • Enable students to function as a valued member of the critical care team and provide training and supervision for others.
  • Enable the ACCP to demonstrate to the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) completion of appropriate training and study to allow them to apply for membership of FICM.

Knowledge and understanding

  • A comprehensive and critical understanding of theoretical knowledge and requisite professional judgement when caring for the patient with critical illness.
  • A critical understanding of research methodologies and clinical audit, and the implications of their findings for critical care practice.
  • Systematic and critical understanding of the legal and ethical implications of advanced professional practice.
  • A systematic and critical understanding of clinical decision-making in relation to the holistic care of the critically ill patient.
  • Advanced problem-solving skills, intellectual flexibility and judgement in complex and diverse clinical situations in critical care.  
  • An ability to appraise and critically evaluate the clinical significance of a patient history, physical examination findings and diagnostic information.  

Course details and entry requirements

This course is subject to approval. 

Duration: One year.

Delivery method: 400 taught theory hours and twenty-seven weeks of associated clinical practice.

Trainees of this programme will be employed by participating trusts as trainee ACCPs, and must demonstrate and fulfill the following criteria as part of the application process: 

  • Evidence of employment from their home trust.
  • A named Consultant Intensivist who will be the Clinical Supervisior.
  • A current live registration with either the Nursing and Midwifery Council (Part 1 or 2) or The Health & Care Professions Council.
  • Three years post qualifying experience in intensive care.
  • Registered Non-Medical Prescriber.
  • A satisfactory Enhanced DBS check - Checked by employer and within three years.
  • A satisfactory Occupational Health Clearance- checked by employer.

The trainee must also meet the University entry requirements for study at post graduate level. This is a first degree of 2.1 or above, in exceptional circumstances a candidates experince will be taken into consideration. They will have completed a minimum of a PGCert in Clinical Practice / Professional Practice and will be a registered Non-medical Prescriber and will have at least two years of critical care experience post primary registration.

Fee: to be confirmed

Programme Lead: Rachel Pascoe

Further information: Contact the Professional Development Unit. 

You can contact the Professional Development Unit with any queries

Prospective student enquiries:


Phone: +44 1752 586951

Current student enquiries:


Professional Development Unit, Level 4 Rolle Building, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, United Kingdom.

Monday–Thursday 8:30–17:00 and Friday 8:30–16:30.