MSc Advanced Leadership for Professional Practice (Allied Health Profession)

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Promoting Effective Practice in Supportive and Palliative Care

Course unit fact file
Unit code NURS60036
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Variable teaching patterns
Available as a free choice unit? No


The Promoting Effective Practice in Supportive and Palliative Care (PEPSPC) unit has been designed to provide practitioners with an enhanced understanding of the complex professional issues related to the care of adults living with progressive, life limiting illness; and, their families.

The unit focuses on the emergent nature of supportive and palliative care policy, the integration and application of knowledge drawn from supporting sciences, as well as specific knowledge drawn from practice based disciplines, in order to critically explore the concept and application of supportive and palliative care principles and interventions as extant within the evidence base.

The unit will enable you to explore a range of issues affecting the organization and delivery of effective supportive and palliative care in both institutional and community settings. The unit will also help you to enhance your knowledge and skills in relation to the facilitation of a shared care ethos, multidisciplinary team working, symptom management and effective communication with patients and families in receipt of a supportive and palliative care diagnosis.

The unit is informed by an enquiry based learning philosophy and utilises a combination of managed learning activities, facilitated seminar groups, as well as interactive lectures.

You may undertake this course unit as part of your postgraduate award, or you may undertake the unit as a ‘stand alone’ course unit. This unit is also available at Level 6.

In order to complete this course unit, students must attend 80% of the theory component of the unit.  Attendance is monitored throughout the course via register.


The unit is predicated on the premise that supportive and palliative care is an emerging speciality where innovations and changes in practice occur with increasing regularity.

  • Help practitioners to adapt and develop the necessary knowledge, reflective skills and professional attributes to enable patients and their families to access services and participate in the therapeutic frame, whose goal is to maximize reciprocity, quality of life and well-being.
  • Provide participants with experiences designed to enhance and challenge existing knowledge and skills so as to better inform and facilitate professional, evidence based interventions on behalf of patients and family members.
  • Enable participants to critically consider and evaluate the emergent nature of supportive and palliative care (SPC) to effectively engage and intervene with patients and families experiencing life-limiting illness

Assist practitioners to develop the necessary knowledge and skills required to challenge and innovate current practice within SPC and develop evidence-based interventions to enable patients and their families/carers to experience life-limiting illness with minimal distress.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding, critical knowledge, evaluation and synthesis of the philosophies, principles and practices of supportive and palliative care (SPC) in order to understand how they may be applied, extended and enhanced within a range of practice settings.
  • Demonstrate critical appreciation and synthesis of how, by implementing these principles in practice, care may be evaluated, measured and enhanced successfully.
  • Evaluate and synthesise a definition of SPC, which is relevant to contemporary service provision and which includes an understanding of the role and contribution of collaborative multidisciplinary team work in securing positive patient outcomes, based on a critical appreciation of current evidence of best practice.
  • Demonstrate critical understanding and an ability to evaluate perceived current problems and/or new developments at the forefront of SPC practice.
  • Demonstrate originality in the application of specialist SPC knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in practice disciplines.

Intellectual skills

  • Critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise the concepts of health, holism and quality of living within the context of SPC.
  • Critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise the effects of current and potential changes in health care need and policies, in relation to the provision of SPC.
  • Critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise the impact of contemporary innovations in SPC on clients and family, including the concept of collaborative teamwork and its contribution to the provision of effective SPC.
  • Critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise a range of cultural issues impinging on the provision of SPC.
  • Demonstrate conceptual understanding to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in SPC. Evaluate methodologies and develop critiques and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses for SPC practice.

Practical skills

  • Exercise initiative and demonstrate personal responsibility in enacting optimal SPC practice.
  • Contribute towards future planning and enhancement of supportive and palliative care practice.
  • Act autonomously in coordinating, implementing and evaluating SPC practice to inform policy and develop protocols.
  • Participate in and contribute towards advanced clinical decision making processes, basing judgments on advanced professional, ethical, legal, theoretical, experiential and research-based knowledge to effectively manage symptoms in practice, which may arise as a consequence of the disease process.
  • Develop therapeutic relationships with patient and family/carers in order to empower and facilitate a sense of trust and openness.
  • Work collaboratively within the interdisciplinary team to enable and enhance the provision of optimal SPC.
  • Provide supportive care to family members, anticipate needs and refer to specialist services and identify gaps in service provision in relation to SPC. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Independent learning ability to create, interpret and recognise need for continuing professional development.
  • Advanced decision-making skills and the ability to communicate judgements to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Ability to innovate, advocate, lead changes, exercise initiative, personal responsibility, self-direction, creativity and originality in tackling and solving complex and unpredictable situations.
  • Effectively apply systematic and creative approaches to problem solving and decision-making in relation to complex issues.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Students will normally have the opportunity to receive feedback on formative work submitted prior to the summative assessment. Other feedback opportunities will also be available in class and online discussion boards. Online feedback is provided in Grademark. Provisional feedback based on internal marking will be made available prior to the Exam Board on the basis that these marks are yet to be ratified at the Exam Board and therefore may be subject to change. A standard feedback mechanism in Grademark is utilised across all postgraduate programmes within the School which provides detailed and constructive feedback on each component and aspect of assessment and identifies areas of strength and those aspects which could be enhanced.

Student feedback is obtained through open discussion forums on blackboard, in class discussions, via formal University unit evaluation forms and also qualitative, in house evaluations at the end of the unit. 

Recommended reading

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 42
Tutorials 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 105

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Laura Green Unit coordinator

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