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Assistant Practitioner

Assistant practitioners have skills and experience in a particular area of clinical practice. Although they are not registered practitioners they have a high level of skill through their experience and training.

As an assistant practitioner, you'll always work under the direction of a health professional such as a nurse, dietitian, physiotherapist, podiatrist or biomedical scientist. Your level of training and experience means you can often work alone, without supervision. You'll carry out agreed procedures, referring to a professional for guidance when necessary

What qualifications and experience do I need?

To train as an assistant practitioner, you have to be working in Healthcare, often in a clinical support role with entry level requirements of Healthcare Level 3 Diploma (or equivalent), GCSE grade C in Maths and English or Functional Skills Level 2 and experience in healthcare.

Assistant practitioners usually follow a ‘therapy’ or ‘nursing’ pathway and undertake a level 5 two-year foundation degree in health or social care, through an apprenticeship programme.

Pay and benefits

The banding for an Assistant Practitioner is at Band 4 (please refer to the latest Agenda for Change pay scales for salary details)


This is a non registered role




My story: Kevin Triscott

My name is Kevin Triscott and I am an Assistant Practitioner in the Parkinson’s Nurse Service.  I have been working at UHP for 6 years.


How I got into this role

After 20 years working for the postal service, I felt it was time for a career change. I joined University Hospitals Plymouth (UHP) as a Healthcare Assistant in cardiothoracic theatres, gaining the HCA NVQ Level 2 qualification before moving on after a couple of years, becoming a Doctors Assistant with the Acute Care Team in order to develop further clinical skills and experience and obtain the Level 3 Diploma via the apprenticeship route.

I applied for my current position as an Assistant Practitioner, as I felt drawn to the challenge of developing this new AP role within the speciality. It’s believed, I was the first, and at the time the only AP within a Parkinson’s Specialist Team in the UK. I was able to bring my knowledge of the acute setting and some of my clinical skills to the service whilst learning about the speciality and complexities of the condition. Whilst in post, I started the Assistant Practitioner Level 5 Foundation Degree, again on the apprenticeship pathway. I have now been in post for 2 years.


My role at UHP

My primary role is to assist with the day to day management of people with Parkinson’s admitted to Derriford Hospital, both elective and non-elective. I ensure time critical medications are correctly prescribed by liaising with the ward medical teams managing the patients care.

I review patients on admission, to establish if further interventions are required by the Parkinson’s Nurse Service or other allied health professionals, and assess and discuss patient care/treatment plans with the wider multi-disciplined team.

In addition I help with the running of the Device Assisted Therapies (DAT) clinic, for patients who may require more advanced therapies to help manage their conditions.

I also assist with providing rolling educational programmes to healthcare professionals, people with Parkinson’s and their care givers, and conduct regular audits for service development and quality of care.


The best bits and the challenges

One of the best bits of my job is being able to alleviate, even just a little, some of the anxiety and difficulties a person with Parkinson’s can face when admitted to hospital.

The challenges can be with communicating and educating colleagues at all levels about the complexities of the condition and how every individual’s needs, care and treatment are different.


Life outside of work

I am passionate about the environment and animal welfare and like to do what I can to support organisations working towards a greener, more sustainable and compassionate planet. I enjoy learning about history and researching my own family history and often relax to a good sci-fi TV show, crime drama or Asian cinema epic.

I am often posting on Twitter, where I also manage the UHP Parkinson’s Nurse Service account and co-manage the UHP Assistant Practitioner’s account, myself and a fellow AP set up to share relevant AP news and advice, Trust wide information and general development opportunities available for AP’s


My top tips to being successful

I am considering completing the nursing degree to become a registered nurse, where I would very much like to stay within a specialist role or clinical educational role or open to study further, relevant courses within my current role.

My top tips for anyone wanting to come in to healthcare or progress on from a HCA role, is to seek out the opportunities available. Put yourself forward for any courses and career development; don’t expect these opportunities to fall into your laps. Be proactive. Assistant Practitioners play an important supportive role in many specialist fields within the Trust and are specialist within their own right; this is a great pathway to follow.

 And, if you are looking to join the Trust, there are so many different roles, opportunities and good career progression, particularly via the apprenticeship route. I had no idea so many of these different roles and specialities existed until I starting at UHP.

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