Postgraduate Diploma in Advancing Healthcare Practice

The Open University

Program Description

Postgraduate Diploma in Advancing Healthcare Practice

The Open University

Postgraduate Diploma in Advancing Healthcare Practice

This postgraduate diploma course equips you with a broad range of knowledge, skills, insights and qualities needed to function as a successful change agent both in healthcare leadership and in evidence based healthcare practice. You will develop the sorts of change insights and practice development understanding that will enable you to make a strategic difference to the work of your employer, team and service as well as a thoughtful contribution to best practice within your profession. Key insights into change, and, what you can do to manage it, equip you with the confidence to make an identifiable difference in practice.

The modules you study for this postgraduate diploma, Leading healthcare improvements (K827) andResearching and evaluating healthcare practice (K828), will provide you with critically important insights into how healthcare changes, what constitutes improvement and quality and how different sorts of work can materially improve the lot of stakeholders within your practice, be they patients, relatives, students, research subjects, subordinates or superiors.

You also study the mechanisms of change and discover how the management of these can help position your team, organisation or yourself to deliver better healthcare. You achieve this by pursuing a series of investigations, some in practice, some online, some in close association with work colleagues and others in consultation with the study group to develop your effectiveness as a healthcare practitioner. Our study guides lead you through the enquiries that you should make, assisting you to develop confidence as an independent enquirer, someone comfortably able to make sense of the sometimes confusing and conflicting nature of healthcare information.

Educational aims

The aim of the Postgraduate Diploma in Advancing Healthcare Practice is to equip healthcare practitioners with the knowledge, skills, personal, professional and inter-professional insights and qualities necessary to function as a successful change agent, skills analyst and researcher in the advancement of healthcare.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

We use a combination of print-guided investigations in practice, electronic learning guides to the literature or web sources and exercises that work closely with a study group, and module-wide forums to help you to develop your knowledge and understanding associated with this qualification. You are taught a variety of skills and possible attitudes within healthcare, but equally importantly are assisted to discover more for yourself. Understanding what you think and why you think as you do is important with regard to notions such as healthcare improvement. It suggests why you adopt particular strategies and stances and assists you to understand the experience of change. Assessment in this qualification is by coursework – there are no examinations set.

The ability to think reflectively, critically and strategically are central to this qualification. You will need insight into your aptitudes and abilities, that which you bring to healthcare and which you might yet develop as a professional and scholar. We therefore guide you through a series of investigations that help you to exercise your critical thinking and related skills and to work in more imaginative and coherent ways with others. We utilise tutor group and module-wide online forums to help you rehearse ideas with others.

The ways in which we search for information, develop ideas and share plans profoundly influence the ways in which healthcare is conceived and changed. The media sometimes influences the message. The focus for investigation or enquiry can shape what is considered legitimate information or relevant areas of enquiry. To this end we lead you through investigations that help you to examine how enquiry shapes knowledge obtained. These include what skills are composed of, how innovation operates and what constitutes a defensible research design.

A significant proportion of your studies are conducted in practice and at your place of work. To this end the investigations of this qualification alert you to practical techniques used here: observation, reflection and discussion, and the important measures and approaches that you will need to use to ensure that enquiry remains ethical and professional. We use print-based practice investigation study guides to help you with your work and encourage you to reflect on progress later with study group colleagues.

The University wishes to emphasise that, while every effort is made to regularly update this site, the material on it is subject to alteration or amendment in the light of changes in regulations or in policy or of financial or other necessity.

Career impact

This qualification equips you to seize career opportunities associated with a wide variety of leadership and practice development roles in healthcare. Students studying for this qualification have typically been interested in project working, learning research design skills, contributing to quality assurance initiatives and acting as consultants and advisers to others. It provides a well balanced knowledge and skills base for practitioners who play a pivotal role in healthcare organisations and their work meeting targets or addressing other agenda requirements.

At a personal level the qualification is professionally satisfying, assisting you to examine the basis of your expertise, the ways in which skills help to achieve desirable outcomes and to understand the part that evidence can and should play in today’s healthcare. A significant part of our teaching is associated with increasing personal satisfaction in practice, as well as enhancing competence in higher levels of work.

Research skills are considered an important part of advancing healthcare practice, so within this qualification you will pay particular attention to the conception, design and conduct of research that has significance and benefit in the practice setting. You will also give close attention to the sourcing and evaluation of evidence, from wherever it may come. Combining evidence and a deeper understanding of practice skills will enable you to work in more entrepreneurial ways.

The postgraduate diploma supports the Department of Health’s agenda on modernising healthcare professionals’ careers. The qualification is suitable for healthcare professionals from medical, nursing, midwifery, health visiting and allied health backgrounds in public and private healthcare systems, and within the community and the voluntary sector.

Entry requirements

It is a requirement that you have:

  • A degree or equivalent qualification, conferred by a UK university or other recognised degree-awarding body, or a relevant professional qualification.
  • Access to a practice environment, which can be clinical, education, management or research.

Access may be on the basis of part-time work, we do not assume that you are a full time professional. However, this qualification is not suitable for those currently taking a career break or on extended period of leave.

You will also need to be proficient in English, to an IELTS standard of 6.0. If you are unsure you will be able to take a free English test as part of the registration process.

You can gain this qualification by successfully completing two 60-credit modules but you are strongly advised to study no more than one 60-credit module in each year.

Read more about this programme on the Open University website here

This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University

Last updated December 14, 2015
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
1 year
Part time
Full time
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Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom Buckingham, England
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End date Contact school
Duration 1 year
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