Advanced clinical practitioners – meet our new surgery recruits

This month we are pleased to have welcomed 11 trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs) to our surgical teams. They will be joining ACP surgery trainees Joy Murphy and Rose Hesling, who joined in July 2020.

Joy and Rose share the differences their roles are having on the continuity of care for our patients:

What are your backgrounds?


Joy Murphy – Advanced Clinical Practitioner

Joy – I’m a nurse by background and my career until recently was in post anaesthetic nursing. I worked as a charge nurse and then as a PACU practice development nurse for a couple of years.

Rose – I was previously a cancer nurse specialist, and prior to that a surgery nurse specialist within a similar field to what we are doing currently. My background was ITU originally.

What’s it been like starting in your new roles?

Rose – There are some established ACP roles in cardiac surgery, so when we first started we shadowed them for a week and saw how they did it. Because the disciplines vary so much, it was interesting to see how they shaped their roles and how it could benefit the service. We spent a lot of time at the beginning thinking about where the gaps are and where can we add value using our advanced skills and the four pillars to optimise care.

Joy – There is no blueprint for the ACP role that’s specific to our surgical speciality (yet), which is intimidating but satisfying at the same time as we’re a part of creating it for others. There’s so much to learn, and the new ACP colleagues joining us this month will add a super helpful layer too with their vast experience in general surgery.


Rose - ACP

Rose Hesilng – Advanced Clinical Practitioner

How has your role changed as an ACP?

Joy – If all goes well we should be qualified to prescribe in the summer, which we predict will be hugely beneficial for supporting our patients and colleagues. There are also differences in terms of responsibility in clinical practice. Previously I’d assess a patient and gauge what the clinical issue was but I would escalate to an anaesthetist or senior colleague, and now I find myself being the person being escalated to, and it unavoidably pushes you to develop beyond your comfort zone.

What benefits have you seen in the surgery divisions?

Rose – There has been early feedback from staff and patients that shows the difference we are making in terms of bridging the gaps between specialities. Team relations between rotational and non-rotational staff are also strengthening and this continuity of care is positively impacting our patients. Through working with both nurses and multi-disciplinary team members, we understand different perspectives and bring a holistic view to patient care which helps to improve discharges and lengths of stay.

How does the ACP role support your ambitions?

Rose – If you want to progress in nursing, you often have to drop the clinical side of things. For me personally, I didn’t go into nursing to do a management role day to day – the joy I get out of my job is the clinical side of things, so these ACP posts have created a new and exciting career pathway, which is fantastic.

Joy – The beauty for me is that you don’t have to leave anything behind, such as my educator background. Whatever your skills and experience, the chances are it is relevant to the four pillars and can help to provide you with a really rewarding career opportunity.


Find out more about ACP roles at BSUH:

  • ACP roles are open to anyone with the required skills, experience and competencies. All fully qualified ACPs have completed an MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice or a relevant field with level 7 transferable modules.
  • There are four ‘pillars’ to advanced clinical practice that must be fulfilled under the Health Education England framework: leadership, education, clinical practice and research.
  • BSUH first introduced ACPs into cardiac surgery in 2016, and since then we have had ACPS working across neonatal, general ITU, paediatrics, renal, trauma, recovery and haematology, amongst other areas.
  • Our ACPs have delivered service improvements across the Trust including a by the bed ultrasound service, an optimising haemoglobin preoperative service, and an EACU service to support early patient discharge.
  • To find out more about ACP roles at the Trust, please contact Tara Bartley.

For wider career opportunities at BSUH, please see our vacancies.