Jonathan Harris

Case study
MSc Advanced Clinical Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship

I graduated from the University of Leeds with an MSc in Nursing and went to work in A&E at St James’ Hospital.

I loved it. There are not many jobs where you get that sense of camaraderie. I had some of the best days of my career there. You never knew what was coming through the door. It was a real adrenaline rush at times.

I worked alongside Advanced Clinical Practitioners and thought that would be good as a next step. As an Advanced Clinical Practitioner, I work beyond the traditional boundaries of what is possible for nurses. I am able to assess patients, make diagnoses, decide on next steps and discharge patients when necessary.

The Degree Apprenticeship made this possible for me. It is a good model as you are employed and come out with great clinical experience, which hospitals love.

The course also develops your leadership and research skills.

I started the course in January 2021 and completed it in September 2023. It helped that quite a few of my colleagues attended the same course. We worked well together.

There was a broad spectrum of people doing the apprenticeship including nurses and other healthcare professionals who worked in GP practices, in the community, in a hospital or even in a prison. It was good to listen and learn from other people’s experiences. 

It was reassuring to have good quality teaching and to know that we would all reach a certain standard by the time we finished.

It is so important getting life experience. You can read every line in a textbook, but it doesn’t make you a good nurse. For instance, communications skills are crucial to talk to a patient and get to the bottom of things.

I now work in Elderly Medicine, where elderly patients are either sent by their GP or present themselves to A&E. We decide whether to treat them as an in-patient or get them back home. We can end up with ten different patients, all with different complaints, in one day. I enjoy dealing with all that complexity.

I was really pleased when I received a distinction in both my apprenticeship and MSc degree. It’s what I wanted. I put my heart and soul into the training and got a lot out of it.