Developing the early career physiotherapy workforce for future advanced practice roles


The purpose of this initiative was to develop a new band 6 physiotherapy rotation within the Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner (APP) led Bury Integrated MSK (BIMSK) service. This service development was conceived in response to the demand to grow the advanced clinical practice workforce needed to deliver sustainable health and care services. The main aims were to:

· Support succession planning for future vacancies of Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner(APP) posts

· Enhance staff retention

· Provide band 6 staff with the opportunity to gain insights into the role of an MSK APP and develop learning

· Promote early leadership opportunities

· Strengthen the patient pathway between the MSK physiotherapy outpatient and BIMSK services


· Service specific competencies were used to set learning objectives and inform the development of a tailored training package

· A number of interventions were used to assess progression of learning, skills acquisition and impact on patient experience which included

1. One to one reflective sessions with an appointed mentor

2. Observation and feedback sessions of the band 6 with different members of the APP team

3. Evaluation of patient experience feedback

4. Use of a numerical self-reported rating scale (range 0-10) to measure perceived levels of change in knowledge, skills and confidence. These were measured at the start of the rotation and at four and a half months .


The main outcomes included:

· Training and development opportunities were tailored specifically to meet the learning needs identified at the start. Structured teaching sessions were delivered eg in requesting, viewing and interpreting radiological investigations, whilst skills development focused on improving communication skills eg in clinical reasoning, discussing differential diagnosis with patients and in supporting them through shared decision making

· Feedback from patients indicated a positive experience of their consultations with the band 6 physiotherapist

· Improvements in knowledge, skills and confidence levels covering 20 practice areas, indicated a change of between 1-4 (average 2.6) on the 0-10 self-reported rating scale at the end of the first four and a half month period

Conclusion(s): The early findings from this initiative are positive, indicating it supports the development of knowledge, skills and capabilities of those aspiring to follow an advanced clinical practice career pathway. It also provides advance practice clinicians with opportunities to develop their own capabilities in line with all ‘four pillars’.

Cost and savings

Enhanced workforce development


The strength of this initiative lies in the flexible approach to providing this learning experience tailored to the needs of the individual. Lessons learned from undertaking this project have initiated a further new learning and development opportunity for band 7 staff, enabling them to fully integrate with the APP team. This is a model easily transferable to similar structured services elsewhere.

Top three learning points

No further information. 

Funding acknowledgements

This project was unfunded.