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Extending your contribution to healthcare practice

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This online, practice-based course is designed for healthcare assistants working across a range of healthcare settings. In this course, you will explore the opportunities and challenges you may face in promoting healthy lifestyles, in caring for people with acute and long-term conditions, and providing end-of-life care. Investigating a range of case studies will enable you to reflect on your practice and develop the knowledge, understanding and skills required to meet patient/service users’ needs and enhance your practice. Throughout the course you will apply your learning to practice where your competence will be assessed.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
01 Nov 2014 Sep 2015
£1990.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in November 2019.
Start End Fee Register
01 Nov 2014 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in November 2019.
Start End Fee Register
01 Nov 2014 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in November 2019.
Start End Fee Register
01 Nov 2014 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in November 2019.
Start End Fee Register
01 Nov 2014 Sep 2015
£1990.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in November 2019.
Start End Fee Register
01 Nov 2014 Sep 2015
£2840.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in November 2019.
Start End Fee Register
01 Nov 2014 Sep 2015
£1990.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in November 2019.
Start End Fee Register
01 Nov 2014 Sep 2015
£1990.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in November 2019.
Start End Fee Register
01 Nov 2014 Sep 2015
£1990.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in November 2019.
Start End Fee Register
01 Nov 2014 Sep 2015
£2680.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in November 2019.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

This course, which runs over ten months, will enable you to develop your healthcare knowledge and practice. In particular, your studies both during the study period and after completion of the course will help you to maintain the currency of your practice within an ever-changing healthcare environment and may also enhance your future career development.

The study materials use case studies and audio recordings of practitioners and service users to explore your role in delivering care. The learning activities relate the study materials to your practice to develop further your knowledge and understanding of evidence-based healthcare.

The course is made up of four blocks of study with concurrent practice-based skills development.

Block 1 Promoting health: opportunities and challenges

This block begins by setting the scene for the course. You then go on to explore the opportunities and challenges arising from maintaining physical and mental health across the life course. You also reinforce and extend your understanding of key skills for promoting health, are asked to undertake learning activities in practice, and to build evidence of learning for your Portfolio.

Block 2 Understanding long-term conditions

This block focuses on long-term conditions across the life course, making use of case studies to explore stroke, dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, diabetes and enduring mental health. It builds practical and professional skills in identifying and assessing healthcare needs, and supporting service users in self-care and formal care situations. You extend your knowledge and understanding of relevant UK policies and health trends and of anatomy and physiology relating to long term conditions. In the final unit you explore new initiatives in promoting service user independence, including the growing contribution of telecare and telehealth.

Block 3 Responding to acute conditions

This block starts with an overview of urgent and emergency care services and introduces service user experiences as a theme running across the block.  Throughout this block a range of clinical skills are discussed and these provide the context for wider explorations of urgent and emergency care. The block explores urgent and emergency care in community and hospital settings and a range of case studies are presented, alongside the relevant underpinning anatomy and physiology. The block concludes with a discussion of the quality of care in urgent and emergency care and the importance of service user perspectives.  

Block 4 Providing palliative and end-of-life care

This block explores the context, policy and practice of palliative and end-of-life care. Talk about death and dying and the use of support strategies is encouraged.  A set of case studies are utilised to illustrate some of the challenges for service delivery across a range of different settings. The capacity of service users to make informed decisions and Advanced Care Planning is addressed and the differences between adult, child and young people’s palliative and end-of-life care is discussed.  The use of complementary and alternative medicine is explored alongside a range of skills for practice.  The ethical and legal requirements for practice are also discussed.  All of these elements are fundamental for practitioners working with end-of-life care in the home, hospital, nursing home or hospice.  

The underpinning theoretical element of the course requires 250 hours of study. Teaching will be mainly provided online by a tutor who will support your learning and achievement by providing online tutorials, email/telephone-based support and feedback on assessed work. Online forums provide the opportunity for you to reflect on your practice experiences and to discuss and debate current topics in healthcare practice with your tutor and fellow students.

The development of your healthcare practice (350 hours of practice learning) will be facilitated in your practice setting by a workplace supervisor. This supervisor will be responsible for assessing your competence against a competency checklist using pre-determined criteria. This practice assessment tool is provided via a portfolio which includes guidelines on how to complete it. You will also have an Open University (OU) practice tutor who will be available to support your supervisor and you through review meetings and via telephone and/or email.

You will learn

You will learn how to evaluate and communicate to members of multidisciplinary teams and service users some of the current issues in healthcare policy and practice and to appreciate the similarities and differences in the perspectives of service users, professionals and wider society. You will develop a wide range of practice-based skills, including those related to clinical leadership for healthcare workers at levels 3 and 4 on the Career Framework. You will be encouraged to reflect on your own learning and consider how this may be applied in your everyday practice to meet the needs of service users and their relatives. Such reflection may, at times, challenge some of your values and beliefs in relation to your own practice.

Vocational relevance

This practice-based learning course can be taken as a standalone course or as a module contributing to the Foundation Degree in Healthcare Practice or Diploma of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice. Primarily this course is aimed at healthcare assistants, healthcare support workers and assistant practitioners who are currently working at level 3 on the Career Framework and are aspiring to move to level 4, or who are already working at level 4 but wish to have a qualification to support this level of practice. The practice-based focus will enable students to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to underpin their working practices.

Entry

This is an OU Level 2 course, which builds on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from study at Level 1. It is intended for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably with the OU, although the study material is designed to be accessible to those new to this area. Our Level 1 course, Enhancing your healthcare practice (K117), would be ideal preparation for this course.

This course is open only to applicants who can demonstrate they have support from their employer/organisation and have access to a workplace supervisor. You will be expected to sign and submit a permissions agreement which includes evidence of good health and character and employer support.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

What will a workplace supervisor have to do?

To ensure you receive support and assessment decisions that are valid, the workplace supervisor must:

  • be qualified in the same field of practice as the one in which you are practising
  • have completed a minimum of one year’s post-qualifying experience in the same field of practice as the one in which you are practising
  • have completed supervisor preparation as specified in accordance with statutory/professional body standards where available
  • comply with any statutory body/professional standards related to continuing to act as a supervisor, where specified
  • have completed the OU’s induction for workplace supervisors.

Commit to:

  • facilitating your practice-based learning
  • providing supervision commensurate with your competence and confidence
  • liaising with colleagues to access feedback on your practice performance
  • liaising with the practice tutor as required through agreed methods of communication
  • participating in three review meetings between you, your supervisor and practice tutor
  • completing practice assessment records
  • being accountable for the assessment of your practice performance
  • alerting the practice tutor to any concerns about your capacity/ability to meet the standards of conduct and health required of a student in healthcare practice.

Outside the UK

This course explores healthcare provision predominantly from a UK perspective. The course team have ensured that the course is relevant to the Republic of Ireland. Where policies are highlighted, students from the Republic of Ireland will be expected to consider content from the perspective of relevant local and national policy.

Preparatory work

As this course is delivered mainly online it is important to develop your confidence in the use of IT. There are a range of local and online resources to support people in developing their confidence in their IT skills and you may wish to access these in preparing for studying this course. IT support will be provided within the course, including an OU Computing helpdesk and exercises you can complete to prepare for your studies.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

The course is delivered online so you will have to spend a considerable amount of time using a computer and the internet. Written transcripts of any audio components are available, as are printable versions of the online text based material. Some online material may not be fully accessible using a screen reader and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the course materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

All the study materials will be provided online via the website. You will receive a printed Module Guide which will introduce the course and provide information on how to get started online.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

For this course you are allocated a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Your tuition will be delivered online or through other virtual means. Contact with your tutor will be through email, online discussion forums and telephone conversations.

Through the online discussion forums, you will have opportunity to debate issues that arise in your studies and practice-based learning. It is therefore important that you actively take part in the forums. You will also have an opportunity to discuss, both with your tutor and with fellow students, any issues and concerns that you have. If you are new to the OU, you will find that your tutor will be keen to help you develop your study skills and succeed in your studies.

If you encounter difficulties, either with your understanding of ideas and concepts from the course or with your study skills, your tutor or a specialist tutor (for example in supporting students with dyslexia) can help. If you do need extra support or arrangements to accommodate any special requirements, you can access the services provided by your OU regional or national centre. These cover preparation and induction, learning skills support (including examination preparation), services to students with a disability or additional requirement, and educational and careers advice and guidance.

You will also be allocated a practice tutor – a knowledgeable practitioner who will meet with you and your workplace supervisor at the beginning of the course to explain the portfolio and practice assessment requirements and answer any questions. The practice tutor will also be available to you via email/telephone should any queries arise during the course. Around the mid-point of the course there is a formal arrangement for the practice tutor to contact you to review how your work-based learning is going and discuss any concerns you or your supervisor may have. Towards the end of the course a third three-way meeting will be held to confirm the practice assessment requirements and respond to any remaining queries.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

The end-of-module assessment (EMA) comprises a project and a portfolio. Details for submitting this work are given in the Assessment Guide.

Assessment is an essential part of the teaching, so you are expected to complete it all.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in November 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept online registrations for this course. Instead, please read the Entry section of this course description and contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code K236
Credits 60
OU Level 2
SCQF level 9
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
2 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

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