Recruitment to ICM - ACCPs
The Advanced Critical Care Practitioner role is a new way of working for health professionals working in critical care.
ACCPs are experienced healthcare professionals in the critical care team. They are able to take histories, examine patients, undertake investigations, diagnose pathologies and treat all manner of adult patients within a Critical Care setting. They perform high level clinical decision making, liaise with specialist teams and work as an integral part of a consultant led service.
It is acknowledged that the role described crosses the professional boundaries of many functions within critical care, including medicine, nursing, technical, physiotherapy and clinical pharmacology.
The ACCP Sub-Committee have published an information leaflet for patients and relatives to outline the role You can download a copy here.
Who can train as an ACCP
Any UK registered professional can train as an ACCP i.e. nurses and AHPs. Currently this would exclude ODPs and Paramedics as non-medical prescribing is a fundamental part of the ACCP role; being ineligible to undertake this aspect of the course would at this point preclude them from applying for a FICM recognised ACCP programme.
The ACCP Sub-Committee have produced a document which aims to provide information from selection through to qualification for Advanced Critical Care Practitioners (ACCPs) leading towards FICM Associate Membership which can be found here https://www.ficm.ac.uk/accps/accp-programme-specification
Section one details the trainee ACCP selection requirements;
- Trainees must be a NMC or HCPC registered professional, eligible to undertake Non-Medical Prescribing qualification*As current legislation stands, this would not include Paramedics or ODPs
- Trainees must have appropriate recent Critical Care experience
- Trainees must be able to demonstrate evidence of continuing professional development in Critical Care
- Trainees must have a bachelor-level degree or be able to demonstrate academic ability at degree level
- Trainees must have successfully completed a robust selection process which includes a clinical and academic assessment
- Trainees must be in a substantive, recognised ACCP post, having successfully met individual trust selection procedure in terms of skills and relevant experience
- Trainees must be entered into a programme leading to an appropriate Postgraduate Diploma/Masters degree with a Higher Education Institution. This programme must include Non-Medical Prescribing
- It is recommended the interview and selection process includes the following:
a) Clinical interview b) HEI academic interview c) SIM / OSCE based selection
This sounds like it’s for me – What are the next steps?
If you wish to explore the ACCP role further we would recommend you do the following;
- Talk to existing ACCPs in your Hospital, either those already qualified or trainees working through the programme.
- Talk to the ACCP Lead locally
- Contact the ICM Regional Advisor for further information on ACCP roles within the region https://www.ficm.ac.uk/ras-fts/ras
- Contact local HEI’s for further details of suitable courses in your area and the application process – A list of can be found here on the website, but this is not exhaustive and more HEI’s may operate in your area https://www.ficm.ac.uk/accps/training
I am currently in my second year as a qualified ACCP based in Morriston hospital in Swansea, a large tertiary centre with a 28 bed general Critical Care unit. My background is predominantly in Critical Care nursing and Critical Care Outreach.
Prior to commencing my ACCP training, my opportunities to progress my clinical career were limited and like many senior nurses, was faced with an increasingly managerially based career direction if I wanted to continue to progress. The ACCP training offered an opportunity to progress my career, whilst remaining within the clinical domain.
This was an opportunity to utilize the knowledge and experience that I had gained through my nursing role and apply these as an autonomous practitioner. As a senior nurse, we often will know what normally needs to be done, but not necessarily why or, in some instances, why not. The ACCP career pathway offered an opportunity to provide the training to fill this knowledge gap as well as facilitating a personal desire to continue learning.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Advanced Critical Care Practitioners since 2009. They are invaluable members of the team and contribute greatly to the high standard of care provided in Critical Care at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
Given my role in postgraduate medical training, I am particularly appreciative of how supportive ACCPs are towards our junior medical staff, many of whom have little or no prior experience of Critical Care. ACCPs have a very active role in helping medical trainees settle in to the critical care environment and assisting the development of their clinical skills and knowledge base-particularly in areas such as organ support and the daily assessment of critically ill patients. I frequently receive very positive feedback from junior Drs at the end of their attachment, detailing both how much they have learned from the ACCPs and enjoyed working with them.
From a Clinical perspective; ACCPs have been an asset to our department and this has become even more apparent as they develop their skills in areas such as patient transfer and practical procedures. I cannot imagine how the unit would function without them, particularly during peak periods of activity and nights shifts/weekends. Many have excellent clinical skills and I often value their opinion in deciding how to manage patients.
I am very grateful to the contribution ACCPs have made to our department and feel very privileged to work with such a committed and professional group of individuals.
Dr Monika Beatty FRCA FRCPE MA FFICM
Consultant in Critical Care
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was one of the first centres in the UK to introduce ACCPs into critical care units and we now have over 5 years’ experience and 14 full time ACCPs deployed across four adult units. This process has been overwhelmingly positive and for a number of reasons.
Quality of Clinical Care.
Our applicants have been a self-selecting group of highly motivated professionals from other disciplines. Following a stringent training programme and with evolving development of skills and knowledge under clinical supervision, after commencing clinical practice our ACCPs now deliver outstanding clinical care in the areas of clinical assessment, practical procedures, the running of a unit and with developing skills in decision making and diagnostics. A number of our most experienced cohort is clearly operating at a standard equivalent to mid-level specialty trainees. Part of our success has been allowing ACCPs to develop and expand their competencies rather than restrict them to a smaller set needed for basic unit functioning.
Continuity of Clinical Care.
A major advantage has been the long (12-18 month) attachments to clinical areas. In comparison with much shorter attachments by trainees this brings enormous benefit. They come to know the unit, its patients and staff extremely well which informs and improves practice. The stresses that high turnover rotations bring to a unit and its staff (constant induction, new staff necessarily becoming familiar over time etc) are ameliorated.
Dr Angus Vincent FRCA FFICM,
Royal Victoria infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Our ACCP is easy to work with and a great team member. She has been very supportive as I am new to critical care and has helped me clinically when I have been unsure of best course of action.
- Our ACCP is a hard working member of the team. It has been great having her on the ward and she epitomizes the value of the ACCP programme. It is great to see her continuing to build on her skills, in particular her interest in point of care ultrasound.
- I find the ACCP to be highly approachable and professional at all times. I feel confident sharing knowledge and skills regarding patient care. In particular, I would be very happy for her to be involved in the care of myself or a relative.
- An excellent colleague and team member. The ACCP represents the gold standard ICU resident and has outstanding all round abilities. Working with her is a pleasure and I have no doubt she will continue to develop into an excellent senior resident.
- It’s been ace working alongside you and seeing how you slowly but surely break down barriers, stereotypes and preconceptions as you go. I know you are a massive inspiration to the nursing and medical staff on the unit, as a trainee I have found it invaluable working alongside you and have learnt so much from you.
Since being admitted to ICU, I have seen many people in the environment and also lots of people involved in my care, including physiotherapists, nurses, doctors, practitioners and many more. There has been an excellent level of care provided by the nurses for care needs and lots of support by the practitioners and physiotherapists. The medical staff have been good at advising what was wrong with me and are very clever, however it has been the practitioners who have sat down and explained things to myself and my partner in a way we could both understand. Each time the practitioner came to carry out a task like taking blood or putting a new drip in (central line/cannula) they explained the procedure well, put me at ease and talked me through the whole thing. They seem to understand better than the medical staff that I am a patient and I am scared of what is going on and being so poorly. The medical staff have been very clever and found out what was wrong with me, but having been to other ICUs in the past for my condition I have never come across these practitioners who have the skills of medical staff but also the compassion of nursing staff. I am very impressed and would like to ensure people know about this role and how good it has been for me during my stay to have these people present. When I am well again, I intend on writing to the hospital formally to express my gratitude for the care received and also the importance of their practitioners within ICU and how much they are a credit to the team.
Comments typed have been checked and agreed by the patient providing feedback