• 25 August 2021
  • 6 min read

What Is A Band 4 Assistant Practitioner And Why It's A Great Job For Student Nurses

  • Fahreen Bibi
    Assistant Practitioner
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Richard Gill
  • 0
  • 377
"For me it has really helped me consolidate my learning, it has enhanced my knowledge, my skills and has really helped me think beyond what I am doing."

Assistant Practitioner, Faz explains the ins and outs of the role, how it fits into the process of patient care and why it could be a great foundation for those studying nursing.

Topics covered in this article

I'm An Assistant Practitioner Studying Nursing

What Is A Band 4 Assistant Practitioner?

What Does An Assistant Practitioner Do?

What Are The Main Duties Of An Assistant Practitioner?

Which Other Healthcare Staff Are Involved In The Care Of Someone Being Treated By An Assistant Practitioner?

Where Does The Assistant Practitioner Fit In The Process Of Patient Care?

What Settings Do Assistant Practitioners Work In?

What Are The Career Opportunities For A Assistant Practitioner?

Did Working As An Assistant Practitioner Inspire Me To Study Nursing?

Why Working As An Assistant Practitioner Is Perfect For Student Nurses

Can I Work Part Time As An Assistant Practitioner While Studying?

A Brief History Of The Role Of The Assistant Practitioner

A Day In The Life Of An Assistant Practitioner

I'm An Assistant Practitioner Studying Nursing

My name is Faz, I'm 33, I am a second-year adult nursing student with Bournemouth University, a mum to a 2-year-old toddler, and a bank Assistant Practitioner for the District Nurse Team.

What Is A Band 4 Assistant Practitioner?

An Assistant Practitioner works directly under a senior member of staff, such as a nurse, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and, is highly skilled and has a university/college qualification related to the role.

They are Band 4 on the agenda for change pay scale and can extend their skills to a specialty such as a Respiratory Assistant Practitioner.

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What Does An Assistant Practitioner Do?

This would vary from role to role, depending on where the AP works.

They can be responsible for observations and assessment, supporting with triaging under direct supervision.

Plan and deliver care to service users, take bloods, carry out 12 lead ECG's, insertion of supra-pubic or urethral catheter for both male and female patients, cannulate, assessment of skin areas, liaising with external agencies such as doctors/consultants/other specialities to ensure care needs are met and some manage individual caseload.

What Are The Main Duties Of An Assistant Practitioner?

Main duties of an AP are to ensure communication skills are paramount, to ensure the direct supervising nurse is aware of everything the AP does.

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Assessment, organising care, delivering care, recognition of a deteriorating patient, escalation to relevant professionals for support, venepuncture, cannulation, Injections such as B12, dressing changes and attending MDT's (Multi Disciplinary Team).

Which Other Healthcare Staff Are Involved In The Care Of Someone Being Treated By An Assistant Practitioner?

A Nurse, OT, Physiotherapist, Doctor and or Radiographer.

Where Does The Assistant Practitioner Fit In The Process Of Patient Care?

In the process of patient care, the AP is at the forefront and, excellent communication, professionalism and assessment skills are required so that the right information is escalated when required.

What Settings Do Assistant Practitioners Work In?

In hospital settings, doctors surgeries, X-ray departments, science labs or with community nurses.

What Are The Career Opportunities For An Assistant Practitioner?

At the moment you can APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning) into some universities to top up the qualification and become a registered nurse, this is because of recognition of prior learning.

This is however at the discretion of the university.

Did Working As An Assistant Practitioner Inspire Me To Study Nursing?

Absolutely, it is something I have always wanted.

If anything for me it further increased the desire to be a better AP and a good nurse.

Why Working As An Assistant Practitioner Is Perfect For Student Nurses

For me it has really helped me consolidate my learning, it has enhanced my knowledge, my skills and has really helped me think beyond what I am doing.

To really understand from a superficial level right down to a cellular level.

How what I say or do has an influence on the patient.

Can I Work Part Time As An Assistant Practitioner While Studying?

Absolutely, it can be done.

Having been in the role previously it has helped to be able to switch to being on the bank.

This is only because I am already a qualified AP.

It is a hard and demanding role mentally, so making sure you take enough time to rest and recuperate before getting back into student mode.

A Brief History Of The Role Of The Assistant Practitioner

South Devon Trust created the first bridging role in 2006, this was an excellent opportunity to stay in a role/employment and train as an AP.

They were created to help bridge the gap between band 3 and band 5 nurses, to be used as highly skilled individuals to support registered members of staff.

Since then the role has changed, adapted and many more opportunities to work in so many different settings.

A Day In The Life Of An Assistant Practitioner

As a District Nurse AP I would check my work the day before, I would sign onto shift and arrive early enough to check my work again incase there are any changes.

I would ensure I have enough clinical equipment for the day to carry out all my visits, I would write the time of arrival and the time I leave each patient.

If I need to in between I would escalate to a registered nurse if it is beyond the scope of my role, I could call an ambulance for a rapidly deteriorating patient, support the patient, update my team leader, update the family.

Complete MUST (Malnutrition universal screening tool), waterlow, notes, planning on visits, changing visit frequencies, making changes to care plans under direct supervision of the nurse and, picking up any call-outs.

Attend any MDT's that are planned, handing over this information to the wider team.

Daily handovers or twice weekly (depending on pressures of the caseload).

Carrying out general assessments, clinical assessments, keeping in-house paperwork up to date, referring to other specialties, escalating concerns to doctors, village agents, charities, adult social care, assessments of financial situations to signpost to further support.

The exciting thing is sometimes all of this can be put into 1 shift!

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Do you have any questions for Faz?

Ask Faz questions below

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About the author

  • Fahreen Bibi
    Assistant Practitioner

I am a second-year nursing student and an Assistant Practitioner with the district nurse team on the bank. I have always dreamed of being a nurse so this journey for me has been a long time coming. I started off as an HCA 9 years ago in a busy care home, I worked my way to a senior care assistant role and then to become an Assistant Practitioner. I have learned so much about myself along this journey about recognising where I need to improve to be a better nurse. I cannot wait to qualify!

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  • Fahreen Bibi
    Assistant Practitioner

About the author

  • Fahreen Bibi
    Assistant Practitioner

I am a second-year nursing student and an Assistant Practitioner with the district nurse team on the bank. I have always dreamed of being a nurse so this journey for me has been a long time coming. I started off as an HCA 9 years ago in a busy care home, I worked my way to a senior care assistant role and then to become an Assistant Practitioner. I have learned so much about myself along this journey about recognising where I need to improve to be a better nurse. I cannot wait to qualify!

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