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Healthcare Practice - Advancing Healthcare Practice

This course is designed to equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to contribute to the advancement of healthcare. You will explore what healthcare improvement means and how it can be achieved through collaboration and partnership, change agency, and the field of improvement science; develop leadership skills in relation to policy, innovation and service improvement; and learn how to use research and evidence-based practice to support healthcare advancement. The final investigative project focuses on a service or system improvement based on the needs and the priorities of your own health related practice area.

Key features of the course
• Encourages you to consult with practice colleagues locally and make strategic recommendations for change, drawing on evidence and experience
• Develops skills in the conception, design and conduct of research that has significance and benefit in the practice setting
• Includes a project that is of immediate and clear benefit to stakeholders in healthcare
• Explores how to disseminate your discoveries to others and how your improved practice might be shared more widely.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
• Knowledge and understanding
• Cognitive skills
• Practical and professional skills
• Key skills

Entry requirements

It is a requirement that you have:
• a degree (FHEQ Level 6 / SCQF Level 9) conferred by a UK university or other recognised degree-awarding body

• access to a setting related to healthcare

• spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.


How long it takes.
Minimum – 3 years.

This qualification comprises three modules, K827, K828 and K829. We advise that the minimum time required to complete this qualification is three years, and most students complete the qualification within this timescale by successfully completing one module each year (K827 and then K828 and then K829). However, even if you do not study a module every year, you must complete this qualification within eight years.

Number of credits


Careers or further progression

Career relevance
This qualification aims to develop your skills to improve healthcare, focussing on leadership, policy, innovation and change agency, underpinned by a sound understanding of research and evidence and the ability to plan for change and disseminate information and ideas. It aims to provide you with the skills to understand what constitutes healthcare improvement, what change might be appropriate or relevant in a given healthcare context and how you can act (with others) as an agent to effect change for the better, ensuring best use of research and evidence to inform your activities and the ability to share findings and develop practical plans for action. It aims to equip you with skills to critically reflect upon and apply theoretical concepts and frameworks and to use a range of digital and information technologies and communications skills to support/direct advancements in healthcare practice.

This is a UK qualification with international relevance that will be of interest to stakeholders working in a wide range of healthcare settings. Whilst the qualification does not lead to a professional registration it is of relevance to a diverse range of employment roles and careers within or related to the field of healthcare improvement. Students who have studied this qualification to develop their role or career include nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, health improvement specialists, other staff working in a variety of roles in health service settings, carers and service users. Students have used this qualification to develop their careers within their own field, as well as seeking career change to other fields concerned with healthcare improvement.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

To gain this qualification you require:
180 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Compulsory modules Credits Next Start:
Leading healthcare improvements (K827)
Researching and evaluating healthcare practice (K828)Transforming professional practice (K829)

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.

The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.


On completion
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded an MSc in Advancing Healthcare Practice, entitling you to use the letters MSc Adv HCP (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

Credit transfer
If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.

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