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.

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

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home £5,200 To be confirmed
International N/A To be confirmed
Part time (Home) N/A To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Additional costs

Please be aware that there may be additional costs to undertaking your studies relating to printing of course materials, parking charges if you are studying at PAHC, and requirement for an initial outlay for travel and accommodation in respect of practice placement. If you have any questions regarding these costs please contact

If you are studying on a programme where placements are integral to your study there are costs associated with travel and accommodation. Please speak with the programme admissions tutor to find out more.

Tuition fee discount for University of Plymouth graduates

If you studied your undergraduate degree at Plymouth, you may be eligible for a fee discount if you complete your postgraduate studies here as well.

  • 20% discount on tuition fees for home students
  • £2,000 discount on tuition fees for international students
Read our fees policy

Postgraduate Merit Scholarship for international students

Scholarship value: £2000 off your tuition fees in year one.
You may also receive:

  • 10% off the successive years tuition fee if an overall grade of 60% or above is maintained
To be eligible you must:

This scholarship will be offered automatically, providing you meet the eligibility criteria. A separate application will not be required.

Further information about Scholarships for international students

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.

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