Future-proofing education for advanced practice in ultrasound: the perspectives of clinical leads in England

Miller, Paul K. ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5611-1354 , Bolton, Gareth ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5453-4257 , Waring, Lorelei and Booth, Lisa ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7957-6501 (2024) Future-proofing education for advanced practice in ultrasound: the perspectives of clinical leads in England. Health Education England.

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Background: Ultrasound departments in the UK’s public health sector have now remained critically understaffed for well over a decade, and there is a pervasive concern in the contemporary National Health Service that sonographers are moving into Advanced Practice (AP) roles in insufficient numbers to even compensate for early retirements and other premature workforce departures. This report investigates how University curricula and other forms of training might be best adapted to accelerate sonographers’ movement into AP roles in the short to medium terms. In the service of this, the facility of current educational models/training and their ACP-relevant content was explored from the perspective of current Clinical Leads (henceforth CLs) working in English ultrasound units.

Methodology: With institutional ethical approval, N=10 Clinical Leads of ultrasound units in England were recruited, through existing networks. Each participant sat for a single semi-structured telephone interview, typically lasting between 30 and 60 minutes. Interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim, and redacted of all personally identifying detail at the point of transcription. Redacted transcripts were then thematically analysed.

Findings: Analysis yielded four interlinked global themes: (1) Specialisation and Learning, (2) Communication Skills, (3) Teamworking and Leadership, (4) Continuing Professional Development.

Recommendations: Six key recommendations derived from the findings are made. These are, in summarised form: (a) There is a need for greater national clarity regarding the competencies and levels of capability that define Advanced Practice, as well as the graduate, enhanced, and consultant stages. (b) The concept of the four pillars of AP needs to be more extensively familiarised and clarified at all levels of the sonography workforce. (c) A greater emphasis on developing sonographers’ advanced communication skills is needed in both the HEI and clinical settings. (d) Opportunities to develop leadership skills are needed both within the HEI programmes and locally in ultrasound departments. (e) More emphasis Is needed on local training and development opportunities to facilitate sonographers taking-up additional learning opportunities. (f) The overarching sonography workforce shortage remains highly problematic; attempts to move forward by allowing the existing workforce to develop skills in AP are often hampered by the requirement to prioritise the daily ‘bread and butter’ workload.

Item Type: Report
Publisher: Health Education England
Departments: Institute of Health > Medical Sciences
Depositing User: Paul Miller
Date Deposited: 16 May 2024 12:40
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:45
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/7680


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