Developing advanced clinical practice

This advanced clinical practice module provides a unique and flexible curriculum, aligned to key standards, and focuses on your advancement as a highly autonomous practitioner. Through linking theory with workplace learning – split 50:50 – you'll develop skills in advanced assessment/examination, diagnostics, complex decision-making, person-centred care interventions, critical appraisal, clinical leadership, and facilitation of learning. This will ensure critical understanding of the core knowledge, skills and attributes required to work as a high-functioning advanced practitioner. Throughout this module, you will develop new transferable skills to enable you to adapt and respond to changing healthcare demands and evolving needs.

Vocational relevance

Your learning is split 50:50 between theory and practice. Learning is flexible, enabling you to create your own pathway to advanced practice through focusing on core principles that are then translated into your particular area of practice. Rather than providing a rigid and narrow specialist pathway, this module promotes interprofessional collaboration whilst also allowing you to tailor your learning in order to meet your individual needs. You are supported to develop your own scope of advanced practice and to meet the required capabilities for the broadened level of responsibility and autonomy within your advanced practitioner role.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method

Distance and practice-based learning

Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

Block one: Introduction to advanced practice encompasses the key principles of advanced level practice and provides core skills learning. It consists of:

  • Learning guide 1: Foundations for advanced thinking and advanced practice
  • Learning guide 2: Communication and decision making
  • Day school 1

This block explores what advanced level practice looks like and focuses on development of critical thinking, advanced communication, and decision-making skills. You’ll reflect on your own professional role, envisage your advancing practice, and apply theory to practice. The skills developed within block one enables you to progress your practice-based learning whilst allowing you to explore your own particular learning needs and carve out your advanced role.

Block two: Clinical dimensions of advanced practice incorporates practice-based knowledge and skills development. It includes:

  • Learning guide 3: Biomedical basis of advanced clinical practice
  • Learning guide 4: ‘What’s wrong?’ Clinical consultation (history taking)
  • Learning guide 5: Pathophysiology and Examination
  • Learning guide 6: ‘What’s to be done?’ Clinical consultation (planning and doing)
  • Day school 2

This block concentrates on the clinical elements of advanced clinical practice and equips you with the core practice-based capabilities. You will be facilitated to develop the biomedical knowledge required to perform safe and effective advanced clinical assessment, pertinent to your field of practice. Building on the learning from block one, you'll develop your abilities in the use of assessment data and clinical judgement, in order to reach independent diagnostic conclusions and complete full episodes of care. You will enhance your knowledge and understanding of relevant pathophysiology and health and wellbeing, and you will advance your skills in physical examination, shared decision making and therapeutic interventions.

Block three: Educating and leading through advanced practice is aimed at developing broader advanced practitioner expertise, and includes:

  • Learning guide 7: Developing yourself and others
  • Learning guide 8: Leading in practice
  • Learning guide 9: Preparing for your End-of-module assessment (EMA)

This final block provides opportunities to develop educational and leadership capabilities as part of your advanced clinical practice, and to review your own learning throughout the module. You will apply key principles to enhance your skills in facilitation of learning, and will demonstrate your abilities in leadership, management and collaborative practice, as part of your advancing role.

You will learn

This module is designed to enable you to progress your development of professional capabilities across the four pillars of advanced clinical practice – clinical practice; education and facilitation of learning; research and evidence-based practice; and leadership, management and collaborative practice. Learning outcomes reflect these pillars and are based on the key standards for advanced practice.

On successful completion of the module, you will demonstrate developing advanced practice skills; increased confidence in critical analysis; and enhanced knowledge and understanding of the broadened level of responsibility and autonomy associated with advanced practice in your own professional field.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be supported throughout your studies by your tutor, practice supervisor and peers, during scheduled tutorials, day schools, online forums, and supervised practice.

We recognise that learners start with different levels and types of knowledge (intellectual and practical; specialist and clinical). This module will provide you with a broad and solid foundation of core skills and knowledge in relation to advanced clinical practice. You will be supported throughout to reflect on your current capabilities and learning needs in order to develop your own scope of advanced practice. This will be achieved through focused online activities and individual and group support including tutor advice and guidance throughout the module.

Your learning will be supported through:

  • Two online day schools with simulated practice learning (12 hours)
  • Six 2-hour online group tutorials via Adobe Connect (12 hours).
  • Online tutor group forums with regular discussion activities.
  • Online learning guides – these introduce key theory and practice-based principles, and incorporate a wide variety of activities and resources appropriate to advanced practice and masters level study.

Activities and resources include:

  • Simulated practice videos, scenarios and case studies.
  • Reflection on practice and development of practice-based skills (supported by your practice supervisor).
  • Self-assessment of learning needs and developing a learning plan.
  • Directed online learning (e.g. reviewing and responding to key texts; journal articles; video or audio resources).
  • Directed practice-based learning (e.g. observations of practice; student-led discussions with practice supervisors).
  • Interactive activities (e.g. quizzes, e-resources such as anatomy tv and interactive clinical examination videos).
  • Productive activities (e.g. creating own materials and development of eportfolio evidence).
  • Finding and handling information (e.g. literature searching and appraisal of evidence; accessing and working with clinical documents and guidelines; working with own resources).

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


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above, and includes:

  • Four tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) – One formative (zero weighting) assignment to identify your learning needs and development plan at the outset, and three assignments that include a variety of linked assessment activities relating to your advanced practice.
  • Attendance at the two online day schools.
  • End-of-module assessment (EMA) – this consists of an eportfolio to evidence your advanced practice capabilities, signed off by your practice supervisor, and a 3000-word critical evaluation of your learning throughout the module.

Tutor-marked assignments are scheduled at various points throughout the module. They build on your learning within particular blocks, and on previous assessment activities. All assessments require the application of theory to your own clinical practice and reflect the 50:50 theory/practice split within the module. Extensive guidance is given on all assignments submitted.

Course work includes

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Future availability

Developing advanced clinical practice (K804) starts once a year – in November. 

This page describes the module that will start in November 2024 when we expect it to start for the last time.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Entry requirements

To study this module, you’ll need to:

  • hold a degree from a UK university or equivalent
  • be registered with one of the statutory healthcare profession regulators (NMC, GPhC or HCPC)
  • have a current and valid Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check
  • have current and relevant employment in healthcare for a minimum of 15hrs per week. You’ll also need your employer’s support to study.

Please be aware that your registration on this module is conditional until we have confirmed that you have met the above entry requirements.

If you plan to study Developing advanced clinical practice (K804) as part of the below qualifications, please refer to the qualification descriptions for full details of the entry requirements:

How to apply

If you would like to apply, please contact us for details on the application process, or for further guidance.

Preparatory work

This module involves independent study and self-directed learning. It also requires you to develop the analytical, reflective and time management skills necessary for studying at post-graduate level, and you may find it helpful to access the OpenLearn course Succeeding in postgraduate study as part of your preparations for K804.


Start End England fee Register
02 Nov 2024 Jun 2025 £3905.00

To register for this course - see 'Entry requirements'. Registration closes 03/09/24

November 2024 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

Future availability

Developing advanced clinical practice (K804) starts once a year – in November. 

This page describes the module that will start in November 2024 when we expect it to start for the last time.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

Ways to pay for this module

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

You’ll have access to a module website which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video content
  • assignment details and submission section
  • online tutorial access.

You'll also have access to the university library, an extensive variety of media resources (print and online) specially written and designed for this module, audio-visual material, published articles, case studies and a set of interactive tools to help you develop your critical thinking abilities and clinical knowledge. You'll use specially designed eportfolio system to record your practice learning and easily map your achievements against the required capabilities. This can also function as a tool for evidencing your professional development and job performance.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

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.

If you have a disability

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.

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