MSc in Advancing Healthcare Practice

The Open University

Program Description

MSc in Advancing Healthcare Practice

The Open University

MSc in Advancing Healthcare Practice

This MSc course is designed to equip practitioners with the knowledge, skills and insights to act as a confident, successful, independent and collegiate change agent. It facilitates an exploration of your personal aptitudes and skills. Through the combination of constituent courses and project work completed in service, skill or healthcare systems improvement you will be enabled to lead others on initiatives that can transform healthcare practice. You will learn how to analyse and facilitate healthcare improvement and to disseminate their discoveries to others, making best use of the available avenues.

The qualification comprises a series of modules, each with its own investigations that enable you to explore your work as a place of learning and to further your enquiries using the study group, print and online resources of the qualification. As a graduate of the MSc in Advancing Healthcare Practice you will be equipped to lead others in measures designed to improve practice, to conduct your own or group practice projects and to make cogent recommendations for practice improvement, based upon evidence, practice experience, skill analysis, policy and a close attention to the objectives and mission of the health or social care organisation or team.

Your MSc studies consist of an extended project, one that centres on skill, service or system improvement and which works with the needs and the priorities where you work. With your tutor and supported by the study group you will plan your project, conduct investigations within the narratives and discourses of local practice and explore evidence available within the literature and beyond. You will consult with practice colleagues locally and make strategic recommendations for change, that draw both upon evidence and a careful analysis of experience. You will be taught how to disseminate your discoveries to others and be introduced to ways in which your improved practice might be shared more widely.

Your studies will provide exceptional opportunities to conduct a project that is of immediate and clear benefit to stakeholders in healthcare. Your enquiries will work imaginatively with improvements pursued in your organisation and provide opportunities to examine what you have mastered along the way.

Educational aims

The aim of the MSc in Advancing Healthcare Practice is to equip healthcare practitioners with the knowledge, skills, personal and professional insights and qualities necessary to function as a successful change agent, skills and evidence analyst, practice developer and scholar of healthcare science.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

In completing this masters degree you will study a wide range of concepts relating to leadership, change, policy, innovation,practice skill development, evidence review and research. Each of the concepts are explored with due regard to the literature and equally importantly, your practice. We utilise a series of investigations within the constituent modules to assist you to explore concepts in turn, to relate them to one another and to the practice environment that can then shape them in use.

As your studies progress through the constituent modules you are assisted to develop progressively more independent judgments on the knowledge available, searching for that which is most relevant and important in your enquiries.

In the final dissertation project you will work largely independently to prepare work that creates new knowledge, that which advances our understanding of practice. As with other components of this qualification, assessment is by coursework.

To facilitate your cognitive skills we engage you in a series of investigations and activities that are designed to help you develop arguments, to build a case for change and to appreciate how your final position was arrived at. Module and tutor group forums are used to develop your confidence in discussing ideas, whilst website-based activities exercise your powers of discrimination, decision making and rationale building.

Investigations are of three types within this and constituent qualifications:

  • practice investigations using a printed study guide
  • web or library based, working with an electronic study guide
  • study group/peer based, using a series of activities and discussions that we prompt.

We also use the above investigations to help you build your confidence as someone who actively enquires using a wide variety of media. Our teaching examines what key resources can be discovered within different media and locations, how the process of enquiry starts to shape what is then learned and how enquiry agendas and priorities can then too influence that which is deemed new, innovative and defensible.

You are assisted to develop ideas using electronic conferences, wikis, debates, polls and related tools. In many areas your learning will be communal, whilst discussing ideas with colleagues in practice, when reflecting on experiences with study group colleagues and when debating wider issues with a wider group of peers within module-wide forums.

We teach you how to develop your learning from experience skills, proceeding in an ethical and professional manner and interpreting what experience, alongside theory and research may have to teach us.

The skills developed here will be career long, practice wide assets that you may put to continued use in healthcare work at a senior level.

Career impact

The need for creative, innovative and entrepreneurial practitioners within professional caring services has been recognised by healthcare departments across the world and it is widely agreed that many roles are best supported by masters graduates with a qualification in advancing practice. You will therefore typically aspire to senior and influential roles, as consultants, practice development directors, practice change agents and designers of innovative services. The qualification is well suited to those with a developing vision for the future of services and who wish to influence and lead others.

The programme 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. It is suitable for professionals working to promote the health of others working within public health or schools. Practitioners working within technical areas of healthcare (e.g. laboratories) may also find it valuable, although it is emphasised that the qualification focuses on themes valuable to all service improvement and delivery. The qualification is valuable to project officers working within or with healthcare charities or patient support groups and services.

Entry requirements

You are expected to be a registered healthcare professional and to have:

  • A bachelors degree or higher in a relevant subject.
  • Access to a relevant practice environment. This can be clinical, management, education, research, health promotion, systems or service development or technical in nature. Access may be on the basis of part-time work, we do not assume that you are a full time professional. This qualification is not however suitable though for those currently taking a career break or on extended period of leave.
  • Current professional registration with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the General Dental Council, the General Medical Council, the Health and Care Professions Council, or the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

If you do not hold a bachelors degree but have a track record of professional achievement (e.g. innovative practice, clinical leadership, research or publications, work in a relevant charity but without professional registration), you may still be considered for non-standard entry. You will be required to provide documentary evidence of professional achievements and may be asked to complete an exploratory assignment answer in order to ascertain your ability to deal with masters level study and assessment. Exploratory assignments are used for admission assessment purposes, no fee is levied for their assessment but we cannot undertake to provide written feedback on these assignments.

You can gain this qualification by successfully completing three 60-credit modules, which each run over twelve months. Please note that you will need to spend approximately 11 hours per week studying for each of the modules in this qualification, and therefore you are strongly advised to study no more than one 60-credit module in each year.

If you began your studies in February 2010 or earlier you can transfer over to the current structure.

You must complete this qualification within eight years.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

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.

Read more about this programme on the Open University website here

This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
1 - 8 years
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 - 8 years
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