How do I apply for the ePortfolio (Supported) Route?
You can apply through the online application form available via the link on the Centre for Advancing Practice website
How do I know this is the most appropriate route for me?
If you consider yourself to be working at an Advanced Practice level in line with the Multi-Professional Framework for Advanced Clinical Practice in England (MPF) and you already have a portfolio of evidence that you believe provides the verification that you meet the MPF requirements but need confirmation of this. Also, if you feel you need support and guidance to identifying if there are any gaps in your evidence and help to complete what is required to fully evidence the framework.
The ePortfolio (supported) Route will give you the opportunity to go through your evidence with an education provider, to complete an on-line ePortfolio of evidence and to provide you with the opportunity to update any of your evidence if that’s possible within the timeframe available. If it’s deemed that you need more time to update your portfolio than is available i.e., normally within an academic year, you may be advised that the ePortfolio (supported) Route is not the best option for you at this time.
If you have successfully completed an ACP MSc programme that has already been accredited by the Centre, then you do not need to seek recognition through the ePortfolio (supported) Route; there is an application process via the Programme Accreditation process for this route. You can check whether your programme has been accredited by following [https://directory.advanced-practice.hee.nhs.uk/search/programmes].
The ePortfolio (supported) Route is for experienced practitioners, who have not completed an accredited programme who are practicing at an advanced level who feel they almost fulfil all the capabilities within the MPF’s four pillars of advanced practice and need limited input to complete. The currency of your evidence will be judged as part of the Learning Needs Analysis – it is anticipated that you will be able to demonstrate currency as part of the requirements of your statutory registration. If you have already completed a master’s degree you will need to be able to show currency, with the ePortfolio (supported) Route providing you with the opportunity to demonstrate how you apply and are still practising at advanced level of practice.
When will the application window be open and how long for?
The application process will open on 13th December 2021 (see the HEE Centre for Advancing Practice Website). Towards the end of January, applications received by that point will be reviewed and allocated to appropriate education providers who will review your portfolio and undertake a learning needs analysis with you to identify if there are any gaps in your portfolio of evidence.
If necessary, the application process will remain open until the Centre has received and allocated the number of individuals that we have been asked to support. However, should the limit on numbers be reached in the first couple of weeks of opening the application window, then the application window will close earlier than anticipated.
Our advice is that ensuring that you complete the application process as soon as possible, will enable your application to be considered in the first round.
What are the benefits of going through the ePortfolio (supported) Route?
Successfully completing the process gives assurance to employers, patients and the public, that you have demonstrated educational equivalence of the standards identified by the MPF.
The HEE portfolio route will provide consistency and standardisation of the recognised advanced practice capabilities that apply across professional groups and areas of clinical specialism. This will aid transferability of knowledge and skills between employing organisations, support a greater level of shared understanding and development of a common set of expectations of advanced practice, linked to governance. This can offer a certain level of quality assurance for the individual and the employer. For the practitioner, it offers an opportunity to access additional education where required and recognition with the Centre for Advancing Practice.
How are places on the ePortfolio (supported) Route allocated?
First, you must meet all the eligibility criteria within the application process, you will also only be permitted submit one application on this occasion. The allocation process will initially take place towards the end of January 2022 at which point, all applications received will be considered. There may be further allocations depending on demand, but we advise an early application, as soon as possible after the application window opens on 13th December 2021, to avoid potential disappointment.
Any applicant who does not meet all criteria for the ePortfolio (supported) Route will not be allocated a place on this occasion but with further work an application could be made in subsequent years. Please refer to the eligibility criteria in the guidance document and if you still have questions about this, please refer in the first instance to your organisation’s advanced practice lead, employer or supervisor.
Can I select which education provider I want to go to for?
No, we are not able to take this into account, but we will try to do our best to allocate you to an education provider within your region where one is available and appropriate. Please note not all education providers participated in the tender process to deliver the ePortfolio (supported) Route. For these reasons, it is possible that you may need to be prepared to travel to an education provider that is not local to you to attend any face-to-face taught module, should this be necessary for meeting the identified gaps from your learning needs analysis.
Will there be a process to ensure appropriate checks are in place for those who self-refer rather than those supported by their employers and Education Providers?
The eligibility criteria have been carefully and rigorously created to ensure that the Supported Portfolio Route is offered only to appropriate practitioners, working towards or who are already working at an Advanced Practice level
There are other avenues that you can pursue, your manager, supervisor or Regional Faculty will be able to provide you with information about this.
What can I do if I don’t meet the eligibility criteria and I am not selected to participate in the ePortfolio (supported) Route?
The eligibility criteria have been carefully and rigorously created to ensure that the ePortfolio (supported) Route is offered only to appropriate practitioners, working towards or who are already working at an Advanced Practice level
There are other avenues that you can pursue, your organisation’s advanced practice lead, employer or supervisor should be able to provide you with information about this. If you are unsuccessful because you are deemed not to meet the eligibility criteria, then you are permitted to challenge the process but not the outcome of the decision.
What happens if I believe I meet the eligibility criteria, but I am not selected and allocated a place for the ePortfolio (supported) Route?
You will need to seek advice from your organisation’s Advanced Practice Lead, employer, or supervisor.
Will the ePortfolio (supported) Route continue in 2022/23?
We are hopeful that there will be funding next year, so this year is acting as a valuable opportunity to help us with future planning. If you are not allocated places on the ePortfolio (supported) Route in 2021/22 (year ending 31st March 2022) you will hopefully have an opportunity to reapply in the next round. It is anticipated that practitioners will take the opportunity to add to their evidence in the intervening period.
Are Credentials additionally listed on the Centre for Advancing Practice Web Site?
Yes, once the HEE credential specification is endorsed, this will be listed and will be accessed by the Centre’s website.
How does this route link in with the credential?
Credentials can be studied separately to the ePortfolio (supported) Route. Part of the evidence you can submit in support of the ePortfolio (supported) Route may include elements of an HEE or professional body credential/accreditation, previously studied. It is your personal / professional choice as to whether you decide to apply for the ePortfolio (supported) Route and subsequent recognition.
What about area-specific competence?
The MPF states that the capabilities apply to all models of advanced clinical practice across sectors, specialities and professions and can be applied in either unprofessional or multi-professional models of care provision. If there are subject-specific competences applicable to the individual practitioner’s role and setting, evidence of this should be included in their ePortfolio.
Do I have to have a level 7 (Master’s level) qualification, or have done a certain number of level 7 modules or have a certain amount of credit at that level?
No, you do not need to have completed a minimum amount of level 7 learning, but experience
indicates that it is helpful if you have undertaken relevant prior learning. You need to be able to provide evidence of advanced practice mapped against the MPF, which you will be able to do through the Centre’s ePortfolio.
What about those who are practicing following a PG Dip but do not want to ‘top up’ to full MSc?
They can still apply to go through the ePortfolio (supported) Route. The practitioner will need to provide evidence of their practice that demonstrates they meet the 4 pillars of Advanced Practice identified within the MPF.
What happens after I have been allocated a place on the ePortfolio (supported) Route?
Once you have been successful in being allocated a place at an education provider you will be given access to the Centre portal where you can start to build your ePortfolio. You will be able to start uploading your evidence and creating the accompanying critical narrative. You will be invited to undertake a full Learning Needs Analysis with a Portfolio Assessor from your allocated Education Provider. Your Learning Needs Analysis will form the first stage of your individual development planning and subsequent portfolio building, heading towards the final submission and assessment of your portfolio.
It may be difficult for practitioners to select what evidence to provide; will Education Providers assist with this?
Yes. Once your allocated Education Provider has reviewed your application form, the education provider will allocate a suitable Portfolio Assessor, who has appropriate experience of advanced practice and related education at master’s level. They can offer support and guidance to you as an individual practitioner, helping towards development and submission of your portfolio.
In addition, The Centre for Advancing Practice will provide a list of typical documentation and example types of evidence that would be suitable to use within the portfolio.
The ePortfolio (supported) Route may involve the completion of some academic work – Is it possible to release those individuals at the same time?
As part of your application, you will need to confirm the support of your manager/employer and that you have identified a mentor/supervisor from your practice area, as necessary. It is anticipated that you will have had and will continue a dialogue with your manager (and organisation’s Advanced Practice Lead if available) as you undertake the Learning Needs Analysis as this will identify what learning commitments are required to complete the ePortfolio (supported) Route. If your learning needs are such that this will require some dedicated time it is anticipated that this could be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
Within the ePortfolio (supported) Route, you should need to complete no more than 30 or 40 credits (Credit ratings differ between HEI’s) of academic study to demonstrate that you map fully to the MPF and this needs to be completed within a reasonable timeframe to be agreed with the education provider (normally a maximum of an academic year).
What do I need to submit for the ePortfolio?
The portfolio is made up of a range of different types of supporting evidence, some of which is ‘essential evidence’ and must be included, and a critical narrative of approximately 3,500 to 5,000 words.
Can I submit a portfolio that I have already done and had assessed by another organisation?
You can upload evidence from an existing portfolio, but you will need to use the HEE ePortfolio and map evidence to the capabilities in the MPF. Evidence from other portfolios can be submitted as screen shots or as a PDF.
Do I need to provide a critical narrative if I already have a Masters level degree?
Yes. The critical narrative is the means of guiding the Portfolio Assessor through your evidence, to show them how you meet all the MPF capabilities by signposting them to each piece of supporting evidence. Where you have not completed a master’s degree it is also a means of demonstrating the characteristics of advanced level practice, alongside academic level 7 (Masters) characteristics that are closely aligned.
It should show your capacity for critical reflection on practice at advanced level, drawing together how you meet the capabilities across all four pillars. It is recommended that you loosely structure your critical narrative under each of the four pillars. Guidance will be given by your Portfolio Assessor as you progress your portfolio.
How old can the evidence in the ePortfolio be?
Academic related evidence can be of any age, but you will need to tell the reviewers why you have included the evidence and how you have kept the key knowledge, skills, and capabilities up to date.
Clinical practice evidence must be within three years of the date you submit your portfolio for review.
How long will this process take to pass through with education providers?
This will depend on the experience and evidence of the applicant. A Learning Needs Analysis will be undertaken at the start of the process and will inform how long the process will take. It may take as little as 3 months if all the evidence is present, up to 12 months if more is required.
What start date is anticipated for those on the programme?
It will start once the contracts have been awarded to participating partners (education providers) – it is anticipated to be early 2022.
Is there going to be a cap on number of places commissioned? Will we know Education Provider capacity?
Currently there are 3,000 places nationally for this round of the ePortfolio (supported) Route (2021/22). In terms of Education Provider capacity, this is something the Centre can monitor closely and support where required.
Is the Independent portfolio route still available alongside the ePortfolio (supported) Route?
No, the independent portfolio route is not available at this time, following a study identifying that practitioners were more likely to submit a portfolio where there is support provided.
Is it worthwhile to wait for Education Providers to become accredited rather than go down the ePortfolio (supported) Route?
If you completed your master’s advanced practice programme after 2017, the education provider that you studied at may decide to go through the programme accreditation process and if their programmes are accredited you can then apply to be recognised by the Centre. However, if you completed before 2017 you may apply for the ePortfolio (supported) Route, as the course you studied will not necessarily be accredited.
Does successful completion of the Supported Portfolio Route (SPR) mean that I will become an ‘Advanced Practitioner’? Can I now use the title?
Successfully completing the SPR indicates that an education provider has looked at the evidence that you have presented and decided that it maps to the Multi-Professional Framework for Advanced Clinical Practice in England (MPF). This does not mean that your status has changed, the term ‘Advanced Practitioner’ is not currently a protected title, HEE recognition is intended to provide evidence to individuals that can be used in their current roles as part of Personal Performance Development Review (PPDR) and for future roles. Your employer will determine your job title, but Centre recognition will be an asset for your future and will likely be useful in your current role.
The timing of the role out of the Supported Portfolio Route (SPR), given that we are in the midst of a pandemic and it will soon be Christmas, is not ideal. Couldn’t this have been delayed or launched at a better time of the year?
We recognise that launching the SPR at this time will be more challenging for many given that staff are already stretched to capacity. We are committed to running this route throughout next year and beyond, so there should be a number of opportunities to make an application. The allocation process is undertaken in stages too and we will look at applications in batches. So, while there is the possibility that the full allocation will be used in this financial year, it is more likely that applications made in January and February will still be successful. If the uptake exceeds capacity, this will be made clear on the Centre’s website.
We had also been asked by many individuals that have already been working on their portfolio of evidence and are ready to submit, to enable this route as soon as possible. Delaying until after Christmas ran the risk of insufficient take up and put pressure on the education providers.