Advanced critical care practitioner

Advanced critical care practitioners (ACCPs) are highly experienced and skilled members working in critical care units. 

Critical care units within a hospital are staffed, equipped and designed to closely monitor and treat patients with life-threatening conditions. Patients may need specialist treatment because one or more of their body systems, such as their heart, lung or kidneys, are not working properly. ACCPs are part of a team of healthcare professionals helping patients on these units. 

male nurse on phone

Working life

You'll be a trained clinical professional, such as a nurse or allied health professional, who has received further training to be able to make critical clinical decisions that can save lives. You're trained to diagnose and treat healthcare needs or refer to an appropriate specialist if necessary. You'll work with all members of the multidisciplinary team including ICU clinicians, surgeons and physicians, nursing staff and allied health professionals.  

You'll be able to apply the theory you have learnt into practice to help patients. Your training and comprehensive knowledge of critical care will mean you'll be able to fulfil a number of tasks including: 

  • undertaking comprehensive clinical assessments of patients
  • requesting and performing tests to diagnose a patient's condition
  • undertaking certain invasive interventions (such as central venous access, inserting renal replacement lines and arterial lines)
  • coordinating the intra and inter hospital transfer of patients
  • managing episodes of patient care
  • leading and supporting within a team of different healthcare professionals and staff
  • using different sources of information to assess and manage the care of a critically ill patient
  • undertaking clinical audits

Entry requirements

You're likely to be already trained in a role such as nursing or on one of the allied health professions, such as physiotherapy, and have significant clinical experience in that area. Most current ACCP trainees have a background in nursing.

As well as having a healthcare qualification, you'll also need to meet all of the following requirements to apply for ACCP training:

  • be registered as a healthcare professional, with recent experience of working within critical care and be able to demonstrate evidence of appropriate continuing professional development
  • ​have a bachelor-level degree or be able to demonstrate academic ability at degree level
  • be in a substantive recognised trainee advanced critical care practitioner post, having successfully met individual trust selection procedure in terms of skills and relevant experience
  • be employed as an ACCP trainee in a unit recognised for medical intensive care training by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and with the capacity and ability to offer ACCP training
  • be entered into a programme leading to an appropriate postgraduate diploma/Masters degree with a higher education Institution, including non-medical prescribing

Training

Trainee ACCPs must complete a two-year programme that leads to a postgraduate diploma or Master's degree. Trainees are also employed by an NHS organisation for the duration of their training. Teaching within hospitals is overseen by a local clinical lead who is responsible for the delivery of the clinical components of the training. 

  • ACCPs in the NHS work standard hours, which are likely to be around 37.5 a week. While training, you will be paid at band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay rates and at band 7 after qualifying. Due to the nature of the work, you are likely to work shifts., including evenings, nights and weekends.

  • After completing your training, you'll be expecting to maintain and extend your knowledge, skills and competence as defined by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.

    As a valued member of the critical care team, you will be offered opportunities to develop your career further by learning more about service delivery which will be agreed with your ACCP clinical lead or line manager. This will support your progression through the Agenda for Change banding structure. 

  • Most NHS trusts advertise their vacancies on NHS Jobs. Some advertise on their own websites. You can find a list of NHS organisations on the NHS Choices website.

    If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you are applying for a university course funded by, or with placements in, the NHS.

    Find out more about NHS values.

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