Assistant Practitioner (Nursing) FdSc

Full-time undergraduate (20 months)

Chelmsford, Cambridge

January, September

Please note: this course is open to UK and EU applicants only, as it is a work-based course.


The FdSc Assistant Practitioner (Nursing) is designed to develop healthcare assistants to develop their roles and knowledge base. You will be working in your existing role while studying and applying learning to the work environment. Completion of the course can lead to a career in nursing.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it.

Our course will let you develop in your current role and apply for Band 4 roles in healthcare, or prepare you for a career in nursing. A range of roles in health, social care and public health are available.

Modules & assessment

Level 4 modules

  • Clinical Skills for Health Care Practice
    This module is intended to equip you with the underpinning knowledge and practical clinical skills for practice as Senior Health care support workers/ Assistant Practitioners. You'll receive a combination of lectures and clinical skills sessions to link the theory of the anatomy and physiology of the body with core skills and observations. You'll apply these in clinical settings where appropriate. The module will equip you with the basic skills for managing adult, child and mental health patients within a clinical setting, including communication strategies, next of kin support, clinical intervention and acute deterioration management. Underpinning all aspects of the module will be the NHS Constitution, the 6Cs, the Recommendations from the Willis Report (2015) and the Health care Support Worker Code of Conduct (2013).
  • Fundamental Knowledge for Health Care Practice
    This theory module will be delivered at the beginning of the course to prepare you with the knowledge required to deliver fundamental and safe care. Understanding the importance of patient safety is a key strand within this module and you'll be introduced to your responsibilities in maintaining patient safety, the safeguarding of vulnerable people and the key drivers underpinning this. You'll also be introduced to the Health Care Support Worker Code of Conduct (2013) and the professional and NHS Constitution values required for health care practice. A range of communication and study skills will be central to the student experience, as will the development of knowledge in relation to human anatomy and physiology. To support your team working skills, your understanding of personal, lay and professional perspectives of health be will assessed through a team presentation. Your bioscience knowledge will be assessed through a multi-choice exam.
  • Knowledge and Values for Health Care Practice
    This module will support you to develop an understanding of the professional values and attributes expected of a health care worker. Professional and NHS Constitution values will be explored from a range of perspectives and you'll have the opportunity to consider the concept of professionalism itself. You'll be supported to understand the significance of prioritising patients as central to the role of a health care worker. Person-centered care will be further addressed through the exploration of patient autonomy and patients’ rights. The concepts of advocacy (including raising concerns) and candor will also be studied to provide you with an understanding of the legal and ethical parameters that support the delivery of safe care. The module will build on knowledge of bioscience and clinical skills to further enhance delivery of safe and fundamental care. Communication skills are also important in this and will be considered across a range of service user groups including those with sensory impairment, learning difficulties and dementia. Exploring health inequalities and health behaviors will further provide you with insight into the challenges faced by individuals in managing their health. Your understanding of values based health care and the professional knowledge used to deliver safe care will be assessed through a written reflection, and bioscience knowledge will be assessed through a multi-choice exam.
  • Fundamental Skills for Health Care Practice
    This work-based learning module will be delivered to support you to acquire the skills required to deliver fundamental and safe care. The module focuses on the five cluster skills: - Care, compassion and communication - Organisational aspects of care - Infection prevention and control - Nutrition and fluid management - Medicines management You will be assessed on their inter-personal and professional attributes reflecting the 6Cs: Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment. In addition you will complete a student pledge linked to the 6Cs and supervisors will approach service users for feedback on your performance. As part of the practice element, you will identify a patient’s journey and explore other services related to that journey.

Level 5 modules

  • Work-based Learning in Health Care
    This module enables you to develop your role in your own area of practice. The module looks at developing a range of skills including: risk assessment, managing quality of care, teaching and assessing others and the development of knowledge and skills related to the work setting. The module will include core content related to clinical governance, teaching and assessing and management of change. Understanding the place of clinical governance, standard setting and audit in providing and maintaining quality care for service users is important to all health care professionals. Risk assessment and management are equally as important in supporting patient safety and you will have the opportunity to consider how patient safety may be enhanced through carrying out clinical audits and evaluating existing provision against evidence based standards. Approaches to change management will be explored through devising an action plan addressing an area of service development. Teaching and assessing others whether it be new members of staff, health care assistants or others, is a key aspect of developing health care practice. Theory underpinning what makes a good learning environment and the use of formative and summative assessment will be explored. In addition you will identify areas for development within your own area of practice, guided by your employer. The assessment of the module consists of a portfolio of evidence which will include: personal development plan; service improvement action plan, report of an audit, reflection on teaching and assessing a colleague and how they have developed leadership and management skills relevant to scope of practice.

Level 5 optional modules

  • Contemporary Issues in Adult Health Care
    This is a theory / practice module addressing the complexities of long term conditions and palliative care for adult patients. The Five Years Forward View (2014) calls for a ‘radical upgrade’ in prevention and public health and development of integrated services to meet the needs of the UK population. This module will provide the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge and understanding of the pathophysiology, pharmacology, ethical and legal issues and challenges faced by those affected by long term and life limiting conditions. Effective integrated care is critical to the patient experience and students will explore the impact of national drivers from a theoretical and practice based perspective, with a focus on the use and effectiveness of care pathways. The assessment for this module requires you to take a case study approach and consider the patient journey, analysing the effectiveness of integrated care for a patient with a long term condition or life shortening illness. You will complete practice competencies within your work setting.
  • Contemporary Issues in Children's and Young People's Health Care
    This theory and practice module will use the your previous knowledge and experience as a basis for exploring contemporary issues in child nursing across a wide range of areas in both practice and the classroom. It will support you to develop an understanding of the assessment needs of children and young people which will enable you to plan and deliver care in a variety of different practice areas. The importance of assessment, communication and partnership within an inter-professional framework of care will be emphasised as the basis for developing the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to meet the needs of children, young people and their families/carers. The module will explore the developmental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual needs of children and young people and the importance of the explicit knowledge required to deliver holistic family-centred care. The factors that may impact on the health and wellbeing of children across a variety of settings will be considered during this module. You will explore the factors which enable and those which inhibit children and young people from achieving their innate potential, taking into account their cultural, spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual, developmental and social needs. If children's nurses are to give effective care to children they must respect their rights and consider the needs of the whole family, ensuring that what they offer is designed to meet the children's expectations and needs. You will evaluate the role of the children's nurse, focusing on the implications for children and young people living in contemporary society. The children's nurse's role in health promotion and the local, national and international policy which influence strategies and initiatives will be considered. Understanding how research, health care legislation and policy determine best practice for children’s nurses will support you to examine practice and approach change in a dynamic way. Simulated skills will take place. The assessment of this module involves a child /young person and family-led case study, reviewing the development and wellbeing of the child/ young person and their family and opportunities for children’s nurses to become involved in promoting the health of the family unit. You will complete practice competencies within your work setting.
  • Engaging in Mental Health Care
    This module will explore the nature of mental illness and mental health nursing practice within a biopsychosocial, cultural and historical context. You will be asked to identify and explore both the purpose and process of assessment and care planning with people using mental health services. The module intends to challenge your pre-existing values, beliefs and opinions and aims to facilitate the development of core principles that support a philosophy of recovery led and service user focused care across the lifespan. This module will be assessed via a case study. You will complete practice competencies within your own work setting.

Please note that you will choose one of the above optional modules. Modules are subject to change.


We use a number of ways for you to demonstrate your learning from the modules, and to make sure you’re developing the knowledge and skills to complete our course. These include essays, presentations, exams, case studies and reports. You will also be assessed in the workplace by a named mentor.

Our course includes formative assessments in each module to provide feedback and enable you to develop before submitting a summative assessment. For each assessment, feedback is provided which “feeds forward” to the next assignment.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2019/20 (per year)


UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)


This course is eligible to employer funding via the Apprenticeship Levy.

Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

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Apply now

If your employer is supporting your application through an apprenticeship scheme, please visit our Assistant Practitioner (Nursing) Higher Apprenticeship page.

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