Assistant practitioner

Assistant practitioners are experienced staff working in support roles, alongside qualified healthcare professionals.

This page has information on the role of assistant practitioners, including entry requirements and skills needed. 

Working life

Assistant practitioners (sometime known as associate practitioners) have skills and experience in a particular area of clinical practice. Although they are not registered practitioners they have a level of skill through their experience and training.

Assistant practitioners work across the NHS in most departments so you could be working in:

As an assistant practitioner, you'll always work under the direction of a health professional such as a nurse, dietitian, physiotherapist, podiatrist or biomedical scientist. Your level of training and experience means you can often work alone, without supervision. You'll carry out agreed procedures, referring to a professional for guidance when necessary.

You could work in hospitals, clinics or in the community eg GP surgeries. You may visit patients in their homes or in residential care. You'll work closely with other healthcare staff and have a lot of contact with patients.

Entry requirements 

To  train as an assistant practitioner, you have to be working in the NHS, often in a clinical support role such as healthcare assistantdietetic assistant or maternity support worker.

As well as healthcare experience, trainee assistant practitioners have a healthcare qualification, usually at level 3, such as the CACHE Diploma in Clinical Healthcare Support.

Personal characteristics and skills needed

Assistant practitioners need to be:

You'll also need

Training and development

You will be given the training you need for the job, including an introduction to the department and its procedures. Assistant practitioners are usually expected to study part time for a foundation degree in health and social care.

Assistant practitioners have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date with regular training.

Assistant practitioners can become members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) or the professional association for their speciality.

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