Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner Network: UK Edition

Thanks to the APPN for inviting me to their committee meeting this month. We tried out my new fun quiz…

What is another name for Advanced Practitioner recognised in Australia and New Zealand? Specialist is another commonly used term.

Are the terms advanced practitioner or specialist protected in Australia or New Zealand? Yes, in New Zealand, the terms is regulated by the New Zealand Board of Physiotherapy. These terms are not regulated in Australia but they are part of a career pathway.

How do you become a specialist in Australia or New Zealand? In Australia there is a 2 year fellowship programme through the Australian Physiotherapy Association. In New Zealand there are no specific training programmes.

Can you spot the difference between Advanced Practice in Australia and New Zealand compared to the UK?

At present (December 2019) the term Advanced Practitioner is not protected or regulated in the UK. There is currently no specific training or qualifications required to become an Advanced Practitioner or have this as your job title. This is something that could change in the near future and we should learn from countries which have already implemented specific programmes and requirements.

The APPN Committee also answered some burning questions about what they thought about Advanced Practice…

#1: Word association…Advanced Practice….Experienced, complex clinical reasoning, Level 7, 4 pillars, specialist.

#2 What job roles or titles are used to describe Advanced Practitioners in your area of work? ESP, FCP, clinical lead, orthopaedic practitioner, APP, ACP, clinical specialist (if the term ESP is still hangin around in the workplace of the APPN committee there is hope for us all!)

#3 How is advanced practice accredited or tested in your area of work? The answer to this question was discussed as being very locally driven with most using competencies and peer review.

#4 What training support or mentorship is provided for advanced practitioners in your area of work? Again this was shaped by local practices but also national networks and organisations like the MACP and higher education institutes.

#5 What exciting new areas of clinical innovation in advanced practice are you aware of? womens health, learning disability, rheumatology, paediatrics, pain.

# How do advanced practitioners add value in your work place? knowledge of pathways, expert specialist knowledge, decreases delays, provide holistic care and utilise multi-professional approaches.

I was particularly interested to hear about the areas of clinical innovation that the committee were aware of. Being an MSK clinician I can easily get caught up in the MSK or FCP world but physiotherapists are becoming advanced in many different areas of medicine including Frailty and Emergency Medicine which is something I will be exploring on my Fellowship.

Thanks to the APPN. Look out for my article in the Spring edition of Horizon too.

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