The Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) in UK healthcare: Dichotomies in a new ‘multi-professional’ profession

Abstract

Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs) work in a wide range of settings across the English National Health Service. ACPs come from a wide range of health professional backgrounds. This paper explores the ACP as a multi-professional role, and the implications of these understandings for the sociology of professions. This paper analyses what happens when a new occupational role is created that encompasses several established professions.

This qualitative study gathered views and experiences across a range of stakeholders. Fifty-eight semi-structured interviews were undertaken with participants employing ACPs (n = 14) actively working in an ACP role (n = 10), training as an ACP (n = 13) or engaged in the delivery of the ACP education programme in England (n = 21). Findings were analysed into three overarching themes: (i) professional identity, (ii) differing definitions of ACP and (iii) advanced practice, professional regulation and recognition.

ACPs hold a unique and emerging professional identity based on their previous professional health background and are themselves clear that they are not doctors. The role is not yet formally regulated, though many ACPs aspire to this. This research is an early look at a new type of professional which challenges existing understandings of what a profession is.

Description

open access article

Keywords

nursing, healthcare profession, UK, Advanced Care Practitioner, review, qualitative, interviews, Higher Education providers, England

Citation

Timmons, S., Mann, C., Evans, C., Pearce, R., Overton, C. and Hinsliff-Smith K. (2022) The Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) in UK healthcare: Dichotomies in a new ‘multi-professional’ profession. SSM – Qualitative Research in Health (2023),100211

Rights

Research Institute

Institute of Health, Health Policy and Social Care