University of Chester

Programme Specification
Integrated Approaches to Urgent Care across Community Settings PGCert
2015 - 2016

Postgraduate Certificate

Integrated Approaches to Urgent Care across Community Settings

Integrated Approaches to Urgent Care across Community Settings

University of Chester

Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Chester.

The programme will be delivered at the Riverside campus, but might also be delivered at the Warrington campus, Leighton education centre or Clatterbridge education centre if sufficient demand exists.

Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory, Distance,

1 year

3 Years

Biannual - January - September


17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

No appropriate QAA subject benchmark statements exist for this programme. Therefore, content has been developed with reference to the associated health and social care policy of the Government and the professional standards set by the Nursing & Midwifery Council, the Health & Care Professions Council and other public and statutory bodies.


Postgraduate Assessment Board - Faculty of Health and Social Care

Tuesday 24th November 2015

The programme is responding to an increased demand: to address the requirement for health and social care practitioners to work with people presenting with complex and long-term health needs, and who can be managed within the community rather than be admitted to hospital unnecessarily. There has been an ongoing and sustained increase in the pressure on emergency and urgent care, community interventions, primary health care and public health to respond effectively to the health needs of the population. Sir Bruce Keogh's Urgent and Emergency Care review highlighted a number of areas in need of addressing:

  1. To provide better support for self-care.
  2. To help people with urgent care needs get the right advice in the right place, first time.
  3. To provide highly responsive urgent care services outside of hospital, so people no longer choose to queue in Accident & Emergency departments.
  4. To ensure that those people with serious or life-threatening emergency care needs receive treatment in centres with the right facilities and expertise in order to maximise chances of survival and a good recovery.
  5. To connect all urgent and emergency care services together so the overall system becomes more than just the sum of its parts.

The next phase of the development includes revising current services, extending the remit of others such as NHS111, and developing the skills of community practitioners in order to address the areas above.

This programme is designed to support learners/students to meet the increasing health needs of individuals in the community with creative and informed interventions which can be delivered by a variety of health and social care professionals. The integrated health and social care agenda will see an increasing demand for social care practitioners to recognise the health needs of the population they work with. This programme focuses very much on health and ill-health whilst recognising the holistic nature of well-being.

The modules within the programme all contribute to the programme’s overarching aims. However the aims, which are set out below, note the modules which are the most significant contributors to each aim:

  • To equip students with the relevant knowledge and skills to challenge personal and professional boundaries, confidently and competently negotiate change and service improvement, and make active contributions towards the health and wellbeing of people with complex needs who live in and are better supported within the community.
  • To foster greater understanding of the skills required to assess and design interventions to support people with complex needs, in order to reduce the reliance on urgent and emergency services.
  • To enable students to challenge current values and belief systems in order to promote person-centred practice within the community.
  • To enable students to act as a positive role model, working efficiently and effectively within or alongside a multi-professional team; and to be motivated to respond proactively to the demands of this role, utilising problem solving skills to aid rational and reasoned decision making.

Successful students will be able to:

  • Apply key concepts, principles, theories and policies in students' area of practice related to developing advanced responses and treatment options within the community (NM7160).
  • Recognise the uniqueness of students' own professional practice and the diversity of other inter-disciplinary roles (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).
  • Demonstrate evidence-based approaches to the ongoing development of the students' practice and professional role, and the dissemination of information (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).
  • Apply and facilitate the research process and relevance to students' own scholarship (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).

Successful students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate self-direction, independence of thought, and the ability to think logically and critically (NM7160).
  • Access, analyse and process information applicable to their advanced scholarship (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).
  • Utilise higher level analytical skills when evaluating professional work from both the practitioner and service user/carer perspectives (NM7160, NM7161).
  • Demonstrate independent learning ability when working as a reflexive and autonomous practitioner (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).

Practical Skills

Successful students will be able to:

  • Exercise innovation and personal responsibility when comprehensively applying a range of relevant assessment, intervention and evaluation strategies associated with working for and with people who experience complex and co-morbid illnesses (NM7160).
  • Communicate effectively with individuals, groups, communities and other professionals using advanced consultation, negotiation, motivational and promotional communication strategies (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).

Professional Skills

Successful students will have:

  • Effective communication skills and strategies evidenced within a constructive emotionally intelligent paradigm (NM7160, NM7161).
  • Ability for critical self-reflection on their own values and beliefs associated with working with people who have complex needs (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).
  • Ability for self-management of work (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).
  • Self-direction and self-motivation (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).
  • Life-long learning skills (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).

Successful students will:

  • Be cognisant of interpersonal and inter-organisational communication strategies, the barriers to communication and approaches used to overcome such barriers (NM7160, NM7161).
  • Demonstrate self-direction in both formal and informal learning environments (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).
  • Be competent in the use of multimedia and IT (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).
  • Demonstrate higher level literacy and numeracy skills (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).
  • Apply the research process and evidence-based practice (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).
  • Undertake critical reflection, and development of personal and professional practice (NM7160, NM7161, NM7162, NM7217, NM7233).

In line with the University of Chester's Principles and Regulations for Postgraduate Programmes, the programme is modular in structure, each module being equivalent to 200 hours of learning. The Postgraduate Certificate in Advancing Community Treatment Options and Responses comprises three 20 credit modules (60 credits).

Besides the certificate programme, it is possible to study further for a postgraduate diploma (120 credits). For the certificate and diploma, all modules must be at level 7. It is envisaged that individual modules might be studied on a free standing basis for Continuing Professional Development. The Postgraduate Certificate has three option modules which are designed for students to access and will be applicable to their specific roles in practice. For example, a non-medical prescriber would be advised to undertake NM7217 Assessing clinical health needs or NM7233 Facilitating therapeutic relationships through effective communication.  

Professionals in health and social care are working in an ever changing environment, and have a diverse range of demands made upon them in order to meet both employers' requirements and their own educational needs. The programme and module content, learning outcomes and assessments are designed with sufficient flexibility to respond to changing society and allow professionals to respond to changing ways of working.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM7160 7 Assessing and Promoting Health and Wellbeing 20 Comp
NM7161 7 Delirium, depression, dementia: responding to the needs of the individual 20 Comp
NM7162 7 Pharmacological good practice in the community 20 Optional
NM7217 7 Assessing Clinical Health Needs 20 Optional
NM7233 7 Facilitating Therapeutic and Professional Relationships through Effective Communication 20 Optional

  • 60 credits at Level 7 entitle the student to a Postgraduate Certificate.
  • Appropriate credits can be brought in through the APL process.



The programme is primarily designed for registered professionals working with or for people in the community setting. All candidates must formally apply for a place on the programme; an application form underpins the recruitment process and is the basis on which the suitability of candidates will be decided. A formal interview process is not required; however, an informal discussion with the programme leader may be necessary to ensure suitability of the programme for the prospective student.

Applicants will normally hold a first degree related to health and/or social care. The classification of the first degree will normally be a 2:1 or above.

Applicants without a first degree will normally be required to demonstrate extensive experience in a closely related area of health and social care, together with evidence of recent study or writing at an appropriate level. Students admitted on this basis will be strongly encouraged to take module NM7081 Engaging with Master's Study prior to commencing the programme.

Applicants are invited to apply through AIMS, the PG application portal which can be found on the corporate website at

Location within the National Qualifications Framework: The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) as identified by the Quality Assurance Agency (2008) for Higher Education is designed to provide and promote academic standards via benchmarking and specifications. This programme is aligned with the Framework for Higher Education Qualification descriptors at Master's level, and the award will be given to students who have demonstrated:

  1. A systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice.
  2. A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship.
  3. Originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline.
  1. Conceptual understanding that enables the student:
  • To evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline.
  • To evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  1. Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  2. Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level.
  3. Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level

    and holders will have:
  4. The qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:
  • The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility.
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations.
  • The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

This programme complies with the credits per module and final award as recommended in the Framework with the NQF qualifications descriptions for each level. The module descriptors clearly demonstrate the competencies expected at level 7 and the amount of student effort required. The level characteristics as described by the QAA in the National Qualifications Framework also relate closely to the overarching characteristics of learning as defined by the University of Chester.

The learning and teaching methods selected for the programme are reflective of the guidance outlined in the QAA document, B3, Learning and Teaching (2012).

Students will experience teaching and learning methods designed to facilitate the achievement of all learning outcomes at level 7 within a student-centred approach, and to foster personal and professional development. Thus a wide range of learning and teaching methods, including lectures, seminars, presentations, debates, scenario-based learning sessions, reflection, learning through practice, and directed and private study sessions, will be employed during the delivery of this programme. Blended learning will also be utilised where appropriate, with students having access to a wide range of learning materials online.

All methods of learning and teaching will emphasise student-centred techniques. These will facilitate the student to become an increasingly autonomous learner, able to identify their own learning needs and goals within the parameters of the programme aims and outcomes. The programme team are committed to fostering the personal and professional development of the students. The critical and analytical development of knowledge, synthesis and understanding will be promoted by the students' involvement in debates, discussions, case study examination, critical reflection and tutorials.

The programme teaching strategy focus on interpretation rather than transmission modes of learning, believing that adult learners learn most effectively when they seek out, utilise and apply knowledge for themselves, actively creating meanings through critical reflection on their own perceived experiences and the view of others in the context of direct experience, group discussion, tutorial support and peer review.

Experiential shared and peer review, as well as the more traditional strategies such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, will form the essential framework. This will ensure that learning is a two way process in which lecturers and students will teach and learn together. Methods will be selected for their appropriateness to the needs of students as learners, and the particular demands of the learning outcomes and content of each module of study. Inter-professional co-operation and collaborative learning will be enhanced by the use of strategies such as interactive workshops, student-led seminars, group work and technology supported learning. Reflection will be used to facilitate the application of theory to practice.

The assessment strategy and methods used within the programme are reflective of the guidance outlined in the QAA document, B6, Assessment of students and the recognition of prior learning (2013).

Assessment strategy and methods have been selected which most effectively assess the objectives of individual modules, which are aligned with the overall aims of the programme. They have been developed to promote the eight broad categories of learning outcome outlined by Nightingale et al. (1996) to construct innovative and relevant modes of assessment:

  • Thinking critically and making judgements.
  • Solving problems and developing plans.
  • Performing procedures and demonstrating techniques.
  • Managing and developing oneself.
  • Accessing and managing information.
  • Demonstrating knowledge and understanding.
  • Designing, creating and performing.
  • Communicating.

Peer- and self-assessment will be used in the formative assessment process to complement lecturer assessment. Student support and direction will be provided by interactive discussion and individual feedback, which at level 7 will promote the development of the critical thinking skills required to analyse practice issues.

The ACTOR programme aims to:

  • Educate the workforce so they are able to respond appropriately to the needs of people in community settings in a way that positively impacts on their health and wellbeing and reduces admissions to urgent and emergency care settings.
  • Address the educational needs of differing workforce groups in the statutory, private and voluntary sectors including social care professionals, nurses in nursing homes, practitioners for the elderly, community and district nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other professionals allied to medicine working primarily in the community.

Professionals who engage with this programme will be equipped with unique and advanced knowledge and skills to support this increasingly large group of people within society. This knowledge and skills will be developed through reflecting upon and in practice.

Types of careers open to graduates include non-medical consultants; specialist professionals, and staff working within third sector organisations, social care organisations, and non-government and government organisations.

This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and ensure the diverse needs of our students are provided for. No student will be disadvantaged on the basis of age; disability; gender reassignment; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; or sexual orientation.

  • The programme takes an inter-professional stance, being aimed at a range of professionals working with and for people who experience complex and co-morbid illnesses.
  • Support for students with specific learning needs is available via Student Support and Guidance.
  • A flexible approach to delivery is sought, with consultations with students informing the timetabling whenever possible.

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