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Introduction to healthcare practice

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This is a practice-based module that – together with Introducing Health and Social Care (K102) – forms Stage 1 of the Foundation Degree in Nursing Associate Practice (X20), and the Certificate of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice (T01). Studying this module will develop your knowledge and skills for nursing or healthcare practice, and successful completion enables you to progress in your chosen programme of study.

You’ll need to be working in a setting where you can gain appropriate practice learning experience, and your employer must be able to provide significant workplace supervision by a registered nurse. Further detail can be found in Entry requirements.

What you will study

You’ll be introduced to the essential aspects of practice as you begin to develop skills such as questioning, problem-solving, communication and relationship management skills and numeracy and literacy skills with application to safe and effective care. Your studies will also include the essentials of medicines management, anatomy and physiology and health promotion and will help you develop and maintain the required currency and relevance of your practice within an ever-changing healthcare environment.

The theory element of this module requires 125 hours of study consisting of 16 learning guides which are studied alongside your work-based practice. Your tuition will be provided online by your module tutor who will support your learning and achievement in online tutorials, email or telephone-based discussions and feedback on your assessed work.

Learning Guides 1–7

The first seven learning guides are the essential building blocks from which you can begin to understand your role as a student and will inform the foundations of your learning and practice. Topics include:

  • Becoming a student in practice
  • Being a professional – as relevant to the focus of the overall programme that you're registered on, either the Foundation Degree in Nursing Associate Practice, or the Certificate of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice
  • Person and family-centred care
  • Communication skills
  • Numeracy skills and medicines management
  • Quality and safety of care
  • Infection prevention and management.

The module materials are developed in ways that support and encourage you to apply your theory learning to your practice. They will inform the development of your skills in practice and support you in being proactive in developing your competence in your practice setting.

Learning Guides 8–15

The next eight learning guides introduce holistic, personalised, person and family-centred care for people in different settings and different fields of practice. You will be encouraged to take a questioning and problem-solving approach to care delivery, and explore the rationale for care and underpinning evidence that informs how and why care is delivered in particular ways. Topics include:

  • Assessment skills and care planning
  • Bladder and bowel health
  • Mobility
  • Nutrition and hydration
  • Hygiene, skin integrity and wound care
  • Acute and emergency care
  • Promoting health
  • Supporting skills.

As you study the learning guides, you will continue to develop your skills in practice.

Learning Guide 16

In the final learning guide you will reflect on your ongoing development for your area of practice, and achievements so far. If you are continuing with your studies following on from this module, you will also look forward to the second stage of your qualification and how you will make the transition to working and studying at level 2.

Overall, this module will support the development of your practice. You will be supported throughout by your Practice Supervisor and Practice Tutor/Academic Assessor and your practice will be assessed by a Practice Assessor and your Practice Tutor/ Academic Assessor.

You will learn

This module contributes to a professional qualification. The following outcomes inform the content and assessment of the module:

  • Develop an understanding of how to be a proactive learner in the practice setting
  • Demonstrate professional values and behaviour in accordance with the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Code (Nursing students only)
  • Identify and discuss opportunities for health promotion activities in the practice setting
  • Demonstrate an ability to assess people’s needs using appropriate skills and tools
  • Deliver and document care, in partnership with people and families
  • Demonstrate a range of practical/clinical skills, as relevant to your practice, in the delivery of safe, effective, dignified and compassionate care
  • Demonstrate an ability to work with children, young people, adults, and their families, carers and colleagues
  • Display insights into own abilities and when to seek support in a timely way
  • Apply the values of equality, diversity, protection and confidentiality to your practice
  • Demonstrate resilience and acknowledge the impact and demands of practice on your personal health and wellbeing, engaging in self-care and accessing support when required.

Entry requirements

You will need to be employed in a setting where you can gain appropriate practice learning experience under supervision and be assessed in practice. Your workplace employer must be able to provide significant supervision by a registered nurse; they will oversee 770 practice hours, be accountable for assessment and evaluation of workplace performance, as well as completing three review meetings and liaising with practice tutors. Read the Guidance for employers and supervisors for more details.

Certificate of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice (T01)

If you're studying this module as part of the Certificate of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice,  you are eligible to register on this module without going through a process of recruitment and selection.

Foundation Degree in Nursing Associate Practice (X20)

If studying this module as part of the foundation degree, you will undertake a recruitment and selection process. This requires you to:

  • be employed with a partner organisation
  • complete an entrance interview
  • undertake a numeracy and literacy assessment to establish potential to achieve level 2 numeracy and literacy by the end of Stage 1 of the qualification
  • demonstrate your ability to study at academic level 4 and the potential to progress to level 5.

If you are looking to study this module as part of our BA (Honours) Nursing (R39), please visit the KYN104 module description.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Preparatory work

As this module is delivered mainly online it is important to develop your confidence in the use of IT. There are a range of local and online resources to support people in developing their confidence in their IT skills and you may wish to consider these as preparation for this module. IT support will be provided within the module including an OU Computing helpdesk and exercises you can complete to prepare for your studies.

What's included

Online learning materials and resources, Practice Assessment Document (PAD), 16 learning guides and accompanying resource materials.

You will also have access to a module website, through which teaching and library resources are available that provide links to current information and relevant research-based materials relating to module content.

There will be some online activities in which you will be expected to participate.

Computing requirements

You'll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) or macOS and broadband internet access.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported, versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook, however, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be supported by:

Module Tutor – will guide you through the study materials, mark and comment on your written work and provide advice and guidance through email, online tutorials discussion forums and by phone.

Practice Supervisor – will ensure that your development has been appropriately supported and your performance effectively reviewed and monitored to complete the Practice Assessment Document (PAD). This evidence is critical for successful completion of the module assessment requirements, and the proficiencies identified by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Standards for Pre-Registration Nursing Education (2019).

Practice Assessor – will work in collaboration with your Practice Supervisor to conduct assessments to confirm your achievement of proficiencies and programme outcomes for practice learning.

Practice Tutor/Academic Assessor – takes an overview of your practice development. Will support the Practice Supervisor and Practice Assessor in readiness for practice assessment and in the verification of your achievements in your PAD.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

The interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMA) are completed via the module website. 

The end of module assessment (EMA) consists of an assignment and completion of your Practice Assessment Document (PAD).

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying K104 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Introduction to healthcare practice starts twice a year – in March and October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2021 and March 2022. We expect it to start for the final time in March 2028.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
2 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school