A nurse at Wales’ largest Emergency Unit is the first nurse in Wales to receive Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) accreditation from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM).

Ponnie Jayakumar, who has worked at the Emergency Unit at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) since 2003, started her journey towards the new RCEM accreditation in 2015 after qualifying as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in 2013.

Ponnie started her nursing career in India in 1992 and came to Wales to join UHW in 2003 working as a staff nurse before becoming a sister in 2008. With 24 years of emergency medicine experience under her belt she decided to work towards the Advanced Clinical Practitioner credential which was launched by the RCEM in May 2015.

To exhibit all required skills for a successful portfolio submission for the ACP, participants are required to cover all four pillars of Advanced Clinical Practice which are Clinical Practice, Leadership and Management, Education and Development and Research and Audit.

Ponnie started building her portfolio for the ACP in August 2015 with the help of her clinical supervisors, Dr Al-Madhaffar and Dr Thomas who planned to do yearly assessments with various grades of doctors and senior lead nurses.

Ponnie said “After working in emergency medicine for 24 years, I was confident I could successfully fulfil the clinical practice pillar. In my role I spent 30 hours a week in the clinical setting, with an additional 7.5 hours in Supporting Professional Activity (SPA). I utilised this protected SPA time to develop myself clinically, whether it be education, research, leadership, management or working to obtain competency.”

To build her portfolio, Ponnie undertook courses, attended conferences, and produced presentations to support the work she was undertaking.

Ponnie says that studying for the credentials takes a lot of hard work, time and commitment. “My successful credentialing campaign would not have been possible without the outstanding support of the consultants, SPRs, lead nurses and other ANPs who helped me get through the process. My key piece of advice is to make sure that you allocate enough time to building your portfolio, ensuring that you spend dedicated time working on your craft.”

Rebecca Aylward, Director of Nursing for Medicine Clinical Board said “As a Medicine Clinical Board we champion our staff developing their skills and expertise and want to nurture and support staff to reach their goals. Ponnie is a great advocate for this development and her determination and commitment to be the first ACP in Wales, accredited by the RCEM, is fantastic.

“Ponnie has shown great leadership skills and has developed into a clinician who can improve clinical continuity, provide more patient-focused care, enhance multi-professional teams and help to provide safe, accessible and high-quality care for patients.”
Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs) are from a range of professional backgrounds such as nursing, pharmacy, paramedics, occupational therapy, healthcare science and midwifery. They are educated to masters level and have developed the skills and knowledge to allow them to take on expanded roles and scope of practice. Healthcare professionals at this level can enhance capacity and capability within multi-professional teams by providing clinical leadership and enabling collaboration across the multidisciplinary team.
The RCEMs curriculum for ACPs allows staff the opportunity to go down the clinical route and become a senior clinician or senior clinical decision maker by developing their clinical leadership skills rather than the traditional managerial or senior nurse routes the nursing career can take.