Students gaining practical experience


Specialist Practice

Health and Social Care Post-Qualifying Framework
Including Pathways for:
BSc(Hons) Specialist Practice (with Specialist Practice Qualification community)
BSc(Hons) Specialist Practice (Emergency Care)

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Nursing and Midwifery
Glenside Campus
One year full-time; two to four years part-time
Full-time; part-time
Programme leader:
Dr Rona Lockyer-Sheppard

Page last updated 31 August 2017


Why study BSc(Hons) Specialist Practice?

The BSc(Hons) Specialist Practice offers a flexible route to an honours degree to advance your clinical expertise and professionalism, within a variety of specialist practice roles. The course will enhance skills and knowledge for practice. It will also support you in meeting the challenges of working within contemporary healthcare, building confidence and professionalism, as well as enhancing employability. The course will offer you considerable flexibility to study full or part-time and to choose from a range of modules for your professional development. It can be taken as a top-up to a full honours degree if you already hold a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Nursing Studies or have studied independently as part of your continuing professional development (CPD). For those working in the community, the course has a bespoke pathway leading to the NMC Specialist Practice Qualification in District Nursing.

Within healthcare today, the term 'specialist' is no longer confined to a specialist unit. This is because all areas of health are specialisms in their own right. Evidence suggests that client groups have better outcomes if cared for by practitioners with enhanced skills and knowledge in their specialisms. This course offers enjoyable and innovative learning opportunities for your professional development, delivered by expert practitioners from within the departments of Nursing and Midwifery and Applied Health Professionals at UWE Bristol.

Given the increasing emphasis on degree level qualifications for nurses, midwives and others working in healthcare and the need to demonstrate critical thinking skills and reflective practice, this course is a valuable route to enhancing employability for specialist and senior roles. All of the modules within it have a strong emphasis on contemporary evidence based specialist healthcare practice. It has also been developed with input from expert practitioners, students, service users and aligned to NHS values and national and international policy drivers.

"This course has helped me to broaden my thinking skills, develop my communication and clinical leadership qualities and also increase my clinical skills. It has been difficult at times, not to mention emotional. However, I have met some fantastic people and been well supported by colleagues. I would recommend this course to anyone wishing to develop themselves further. You will not only learn academically; you will learn from the experiences of others and hopefully be able to take this back to your own teams." (Zoe, Community Specialist Nurse, BSc Specialist Practice with SPQ).

Aims of the course are to:

  • Provide you with the knowledge and skills to contribute to the development of your specialist care area.
  • Develop your confidence in the exercise of your professional judgment.
  • Enable you to adapt and respond positively to changes in international, national and local policies/practice that broaden the remit of your role
  • Develop critical analytical problem-based learning skills and transferable skills through diverse learning opportunities.
  • Provide you with opportunities to develop an understanding of partnership working through shared and interprofessional working.
  • Enable you to develop the critical and analytical skills needed to examine evidence for practice in your specialist area.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



There are a number of pathways within the BSc(Hons) Specialist Practice course that reflect the range of specialist practice roles that this programme of study supports. If you are a practitioner working within a specialism in healthcare, you can register for the BSc(Hons) in Specialist Practice. If you wish to demonstrate professional development more specifically within emergency care, you can undertake the BSc(Hons) in Specialist Practice (Emergency Care).

If you are a registered practitioner working in the community and wish to achieve the NMC Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ), there is the option to follow the 'SPQ community pathway' through the course. This pathway relates to the NMC (2001) Standards for Specialist Education and Practice and will prepare you to become an expert practitioner, partner and leader in your chosen area of specialist practice within the community.

In order to develop confidence and professionalism within your specialist area and enhance your clinical skills, professional judgement and critical thinking, we have designed a broad range of CPD modules, master-classes and study days. These can be taken as part of the top up to a degree, or studied independently as part of your continuing professional development (CPD).

These focus on areas such as:

  • Critical care in nursing and midwifery
  • Principles of emergency care for adults and children
  • Care of the acutely ill adult
  • Cardiac care
  • Minor injuries
  • Managing long term conditions
  • Palliative care
  • Leadership in practice
  • Research and evidence for practice
  • Issues in child protection
  • Public health and health promotion
  • Sexual health
  • Physical assessment and clinical reasoning

As well as enabling you to take a bespoke approach to the content of your particular programme of study, through the selection of a number of optional modules, you will also be required to undertake compulsory modules, depending on your pathway of study.

BSc(Hons) Specialist Practice

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Evidence and Research in Practice
  • Dissertation (40 or 30 credits, depending on credit requirements).

BSc(Hons) Specialist Practice (Emergency Care)

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Evidence and Research in Practice
  • Dissertation (40 or 30 credits, depending on credit requirements).

Plus either:

  • Principles of Emergency Care


  • Principles of Children's Emergency Care.

SPQ community pathway

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Current Issues in Community Practice
  • Evidence and Research in Practice (no exemptions).

Plus either:

  • Synoptic module (with V100)


  • Synoptic module (without V100).

All modules for this course will require you to demonstrate the utilisation of research in your field of practice, with research modules and library resources to support this.

Please see the CPD timetable for a complete list of professional development courses.

Please also note this structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied. However, the structure will differ.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

NMC recordable Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ).

The Community pathway (SPQ) of the BSc(Hons) Specialist Practice course is specifically designed for those working in health and social care within the community. This pathway can be undertaken in no less than 32 weeks and completed within five years. You will be expected to complete 16 weeks theory and 16 weeks of supervised practice during the course. Practice hours will need to be 'signed off' by a suitably qualified mentor. Mentors must be of due regard and a trained mentor/practice teacher, as required by the NMC (Standards for learning and assessment in practice NMC 2008). This pathway contains three compulsory modules that underpin and support the development of the community practitioner (See above table). In addition to these, you will complete two further modules of your choice.

There will be an opportunity for you to undertake the V100 (Community Prescriber) as an integral part of the course and register this as a recordable qualification with the NMC. You must demonstrate that there is a clinical need, for which prescribing from the community practitioner formulary will improve patient/client care and service delivery. This must be supported by the Non Medical Prescribing Lead of your organisation. 

If you wish to gain an SPQ in District Nursing, the V100 is mandatory.

Duration of the course

As you will be working in practice, it is generally expected that you will be registered on this course on a part-time basis and will normally complete the course within four to eight years (unless you are an SPQ student, which means you will be required by the NMC to complete the course within five years). If you undertake this couse on a full-time basis, you will be expected to complete each academic level within one year. The time for completion of your degree may be reduced if you have suitable academic or experiential learning already achieved elsewhere, either through coursework at another institution or in practice, which can be accredited through the accredited learning process.

You can discuss credit transfer with the programme leader before registering on the programme.

Learning and Teaching

The aim is to provide a stimulating, supportive and sensitive learning environment to enable you to maximise your learning and facilitate your development as a self-directed and reflective learner.

You can expect stimulating contact time with tutors and other students that will include lectures, workshops and seminars. A wide range of learning and teaching methods will be employed, including online resources and technology enhanced learning methods, case studies and presentations. There is an emphasis on student-centred learning, with an approach that utilises the diverse experiences of students within group work and self-directed learning during independent study time.  

For more details, see our glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

UWE Bristol will offer you a wide range of service for supporting academic progress and wellbeing. There will be an opportunity to discuss individual queries, or module difficulties, with the module leaders. Alternatively, you will be able to book an appointment with the programme manager for further support and guidance relating more generally to the course, your overall progress on it and any support needs you might have.



You will continue to work in your respective organisation and will normally study at the department on a part-time basis. If you wish to take the course on a full-time basis, you must have access to a relevant practice area.

Study facilities

The Department is superbly equipped with an extensive range of teaching and learning resources. The library on the Glenside Campus is one of the best healthcare libraries in England with a large selection of books, journals and audio-visual materials, including access to specialist health and social care software packages.

There is an information technology provision in the form of multimedia laboratories, smart boards, innovative projects (such as 'multicasting' to deliver teaching material) and various health and social care databases, enabling you to search the available literature on topics of interest. At the main Frenchay campus, there is 24-hour access to computing facilities.

The inter-professional skills simulation suite will provide excellent opportunities for you to demonstrate and practice professional competencies as a health and social care practitioner.


Careers / Further study

UWE places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level.


Supplementary fee information

The additional costs listed are those you could reasonably expect to incur during your studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Further information about fees and funding.

Payment for this course is per module, whether you are studying for the BSc course or individual modules as CPD. Please view the full fee information to see the price bracket for our modules.

Funding may be available to support your learning. Please contact your Trust Education Lead. If you work in the Private, Independent and Voluntary Sector, please contact your employer.


Typical offers

Entry requirements

There is specific criteria you will need to meet if you do not have a complete level two profile.

  • You must be a registered practitioner with one year's full-time experience or equivalent.
  • You should have experience of, or be working in, an area that enables you to meet the learning outcomes of the course.
  • You must have 120 credits at level one in a related area or equivalent through the school A(E)L processes.
  • You will be required to enrol and complete the Accelerating Learning for Professionals module (20 credits) to access the accelerated route to level three study.

There is specific criteria you will need to meet if you wish to enter the course at Level three.

  • You should be a registered practitioner, normally with two years' post-qualifying experience relevant to the chosen course.
  • You must have experience of, or be working in an area, that enables you to meet the learning outcomes of the course.
  • You must have 240 credits (of which not less than 120 credits are at level two or above) in a related area or equivalent through the school A(E)L processes.

UWE Bristol's Standard Entry Requirements apply with specific additions/exceptions.

  • If your first language is not English, you must have a minimum of IELTS score of 7.0 overall with 6.5 in each section.
  • You will be required to have current Health and Criminal Record Bureau checks in accordance with University, Faculty and programme policies.

If you wish to undertake the community specific pathway that would lead to an NMC recordable Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ), the following criteria must be met.

  • You must be on the NMC register.
  • You must be on the relevant specialist part of the register for the SPQ pathway chosen.
  • You need to have completed a period of consolidated practice.
  • You should be working with an appropriate client group.
  • You must have an identified work-based mentor.

If you are undertaking the V100 as part of your course, you will need a DBS check in accordance with professional body standards and confirmation of support, with competency deemed by your employer in the area you intend to practice.

You will also require confirmation and agreement from a designated prescribing nurse mentor to provide the required mentorship.

For further information about this programme, please contact the CPD Team.

Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 81158


Programme leader: Rona Lockyer-Sheppard

Telephone: +44 (0)117 3288694; email:

If you are interested in the SPQ, you can contact the co-ordinator.

Alison Hughes

Telephone: +44 (0)117 328 8464; email:

How to apply

Our timetable will assist you in your application for CPD modules, which you can take as stand-alone courses or as part of an undergraduate programme.

Whether you are seeking support from your organisation or are self-funded you can apply in the following ways:

Online application

To undertake individual modules within the course, we would encourage you to use our online application process.

Additional Selection Criteria

Additionally, references may be sought from your most recent employer and/or an academic referee. In order to undertake some of the discipline specific modules, you will normally need to have worked with a specialist group of people.

You may be invited to attend an interview.

For further information

Back to top