School of Nursing and Midwifery

PgCert Advanced Critical Care Practitioner

Enhance, and develop mastery in a range of advanced clinical skills and knowledge at the cutting edge of clinical care. This programme has been developed by the University of Plymouth with Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust to meet identified specific workforce needs in the advancement and delivery of a high quality patient led service, and is delivered using a blended learning approach.

This is an exciting and innovative full-time programme of study at masters level, where trainee practitioners are embedded in their own intensive care units and will exit, after completion of the programme, with 60 masters level credits. The programme is based on the National Curriculum and Syllabus for ACCPs published by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM).

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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.

Course details
  • Programme overview

  • 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.

    Core modules

    • Principles for Advanced Critical Care Practitioners (ACCP703)

      This module aims to equip the Advanced Critical Care Practitioner trainees with the core skills in clinical history taking, examination and applied anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of critical illness. Concepts of specialist intensive care and dealing with complex patients with multiple pathologies will be acquired. The ACCP will develop decision-making and diagnostic skills, to enable independent autonomous practice.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

PG Cert Advanced Critical Care Practitioner Programme Specification 2022 23 6968

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements

You will normally have a first degree, BSc (Hons) at 2:1 or above, in exceptional circumstances a candidate's experience may be taken into consideration. You will have completed a minimum of a PGCert in Clinical Practice / Professional Practice and will be a registered Non-medical Prescriber with at least two years of critical care experience post primary registration.

Trainees of this programme will be employed by participating trusts as trainee ACCPs, and must demonstrate and fulfil 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.

If English is not your first language, you will also need to provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English in accordance with the University’s Admissions Code of Practice i.e. IELTS of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each part. Further information on English language requirements.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2022-23  2023-24
Home £5,200 £6,300
International NA NA

How to apply

Applying for this programme

Please visit our PDU admissions homepage for full details on the application process and to download the relevant forms.

Please return your completed forms to:


Professional Development Unit
4th floor, Rolle Building
University of Plymouth
Drake Circus
Plymouth, PL4 8AA

Tel: +44 (0)1752 586951

What happens after I apply?

After your application is received by the PDU Admissions team, it will be processed and sent to the Programme Lead for a decision to be made on your suitability to study. You may be asked to provide additional information or to take part in an interview (for overseas students this may be by telephone or video conference). Once this decision has been made, you will be sent an email either confirming your place on the programme, or rejecting your application and giving the reasons for this decision (you may request further feedback in order to improve your chances of selection at a later date).

Please note that you will be enrolled on the full MSc programme. You may choose to exit with the qualification of PgCert upon completion of an appropriate 60 credits, or a PgDip upon completion of an appropriate 120 credits. More information is contained within the programme specification.

The deadline for the receipt of international applications is 31 May 2023 for entry in September 2023.

For applicants with disabilities

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by the University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services webpage.

Applying for this programme

Please visit our PDU admissions homepage for full details on the application process and to download the relevant forms.

Please return your completed forms to:


Professional Development Unit
4th floor, Rolle Building
University of Plymouth
Drake Circus
Plymouth, PL4 8AA

Tel: +44 (0)1752 586951

University graduate working as an operating department practitioner at Derriford Hospital

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.  

Stethoscope on form, courtesy of Shutterstock