Assistant practitioners have skills and experience in a particular area of clinical practice. Although they are not registered practitioners, they have a high level of skill through their experience and training.
Assistant practitioner is a clinical role, delivering person-centred care with other members of the nursing team. They are supervised by a registered nurse who is accountable for the care given.
Assistant practitioners provide direct care to people, and may contribute to service-improvement projects, support the collection of data relating to safety and quality, and supervise those in healthcare support worker roles.
Salary, hours and benefits
|£21,892 – £24,197 depending on experience.
|Standard hours are usually around 37.5 a week.
|You could work
|Shifts, which could involve nights, early starts, evenings, and weekends. Some roles may involve office hours.
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- undertaking clinical observations including blood pressure, temperature, respirations, and pulse,
- accurately recording nutritional and fluid intake,
- working with other professionals on the condition, behaviour, activity, and responses of individuals,
- supporting the delivery of complex care,
- caring for individuals with learning disabilities and autism.
You could work in a variety of locations including specialist or mainstream school, at a person’s home, in day services or supported living, or in an NHS or private hospital.
Characteristics and skills required
You’ll need to be:
- caring and kind,
- confident and ability to work directly with someone to deliver effective care and support,
- able to follow instructions and procedures,
- happy to work in a team and in one-to-one situations to deliver care,
- able to explain care to people with learning disabilities, based on an understanding of the individual’s capacity and capability,
- careful and methodical.
You’ll also need:
- communication skills, including listening,
- organisation skills,
- observational skills.
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults.
Career path and progression
With the appropriate qualifications/evidence of academic ability, you could progress to undertake a nursing degree apprenticeship.
There is a range of roles within nursing, from support to leadership:
|Career Framework level
|Healthcare Support Worker
Support workers work with people with learning disabilities and autistic people to promote independence and wellbeing, and they sometimes provide direct physical help when called for. They mainly work out in the community and are most commonly employed by organisations outside of the NHS.
|3 and 4
Assistant practitioner is a clinical role, delivering person-centred care with other members of the nursing team. Assistant practitioners will provide direct care to people, and may contribute to service improvement projects, support the collection of data relating to safety and quality and supervise those in healthcare support worker roles. They work under the direction of a registered health professional as part of a team with other healthcare staff and have a lot of contact with patients.
Foundation degree which may be available as an apprenticeship programme
Nursing associates work with people of all ages in a variety of settings in health and social care. As a nursing associate based in a learning disability setting, you may be caring for and supporting people in their own home or in the community, a hospital, or in any health and care setting, working with registered nurses and other health and care professionals as part of a multidisciplinary team.
|The Nursing Associate foundation-level degree is delivered by a two-year apprenticeship programme.
|5 and 6
|Registered Nurse – Learning Disability
The registered nurse – learning disability plays a vital role, working with people with learning disabilities across the whole lifespan in both health and social care settings. By working with people and their families and putting the person at the centre of everything they do, these nurses lead the way in achieving positive health and social outcomes for people with learning disabilities.
Can be delivered as an apprenticeship programme.
|Advanced Clinical Practitioner
Advanced clinical practice is delivered by experienced nurses. Advanced clinical practice embodies the ability to manage clinical care in partnership with individuals, families, and carers. In the field of learning disability nursing, advanced clinical practitioners might specialise in a particular aspect of health service delivery to people with learning disabilities, such as physical health inequality, behaviour, forensics, or autism.
Nurse consultants, also called consultant nurses, are highly experienced nurses who have specialised in a chosen area of practice. All Consultant Nurse posts are firmly based in clinical and nursing practice, and involve nurses working directly with patients, clients, or communities for much of their time.
How to become an Assistant Practitioner
To train as an assistant practitioner in nursing, you have to be working in a health or care organisation, most commonly in a healthcare support worker role.
Assistant practitioners usually follow a nursing training pathway and undertake a level 5 two-year foundation degree in health or social care, which may be available as an apprenticeship programme.
As well as healthcare experience, to develop into an assistant practitioner, it is necessary to have a healthcare qualification such as an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification), usually at level 3.
Undertaking an Assistant Practitioner Higher Apprenticeship is one way to become an assistant practitioner. You would be supported by your employer to undertake this apprenticeship, earning a salary while you learn.
Volunteering and experience
Experience working in health or social care is essential to becoming an assistant practitioner. Most commonly, people are working in a healthcare support worker role and are supported by their employer to train to become an assistant practitioner once they have the experience and requisite education.
- HEE careers site (Assistant Practitioner)
- Royal College of Nursing (Careers resource for nursing support workers)
From within health and social care
If you are already working in the health and social care sector and looking for a new challenge, then you can change career to become an assistant practitioner within learning disability and autism support and care. You will need to map your skills and experience against the entry criteria for this role, as advertised by employers.
From outside health and social care
If you want to work in health and social care and you are looking for a new challenge, then you can change career to become an assistant practitioner within learning disability and autism support and care. You will need to map your skills and experience against the entry criteria for this role, as advertised by employers.
As you will be supported by your employer to train to become an assistant practitioner, you will be earning a salary as you learn.
Once you are an assistant practitioner, if you work in an NHS organisation in London, you are given an uplift in salary, known as London weighting. This is a percentage increase in your salary depending on the location of your employer within the London region.
Jobs in the UK
Most NHS Trusts advertise their vacancies on NHS Jobs. Some advertise on their own websites.
Jobs may also be advertised on individual health or care organisation websites.
Apprenticeships in England
Visit Find an apprenticeship and search for ‘assistant practitioner’ to view available apprenticeships.
Courses in England
To find out whether your local higher education institution runs the assistant practitioner course, go to the individual higher education institution website.