Upon successful completion, learners gain a BSc (Hons) in Healthcare Science (Vascular Science), and are able to apply for professional registration with the Academy for Healthcare Science.
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About the Healthcare Science (Vascular Science) Degree Apprenticeship
This programme is the first of its kind and has been specifically developed in partnership with the Society of Vascular Technology to support the growing need for technically skilled Vascular Science Practitioners.
It provides vascular technicians with the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification in their chosen career pathway for the first time. This programme is ideal for employers who are looking to nurture their existing talent, as well as those looking to train new entrants into the profession.
On this programme, learners of all ages and levels of experience have the chance to develop as confident and resilient practitioners that are conscientious, adaptable and safe to practice.
Teaching is delivered over 3 years through a combination of distance learning and in-practice development of clinical skills.
Modules are delivered through a combination of online lectures, action learning sets, clinical skills sessions, seminars and class-based discussions. Clinical skills are initially taught in blocks on campus using our specialist facilities, and then they are reinforced back in the workplace using mentor-lead competency assessments.
Clinical skills blocks are always scheduled in advance and avoid peak clinical periods to help with planning around work and personal commitments. Learners attend approximately five study blocks in year 1, and four blocks in years 2 and 3.
Upon completion, learners are able to apply for registration with the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS).
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What are Degree Apprenticeships?
Degree apprenticeships are a fantastic way to upskill employees and train new staff. They contribute to improved competitiveness and productivity, as well as increased staff retention.
Degree apprentices study for higher level qualifications alongside working. As such, they spend at least 6 working hours each week carrying out ‘off-the-job training’ where they study for their degree and gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours that are required to successfully complete the apprenticeship.
Large employers can use their apprenticeships levy to pay for apprenticeship training. Smaller firms can claim up to 95 per cent of these costs from the Government. This means apprenticeships are a cost-effective choice for both the employer and learner.
Meet the lecturer
Tracy Longden-Thurgood, Subject Leader
Tracy is qualified in both healthcare and strategic HR and specialises in learning and development. She holds an MSc in Biomedical Science, a PGCE, and an Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management and Development.
She now leads University of Gloucestershire’s Healthcare Science programmes, as well as being responsible for external quality assurance of the Diabetic Health Screening Diploma from Gloucestershire Hospitals Accredited Centre.
She is also a member of the Health Care Professions Council (Biomedical Science).
Work-Based Learning 1
This covers the initial clinical, scientific, and technical competency training necessary to work safely within the learner’s clinical placement.
It provides practical experiences and by the end of the module, they will be expected to apply, in practice, a range of technical and clinical skills and critically reflect on and develop their performance.
Clinical and Professional Practice 1
This module teaches the clinical considerations for preparing a patient for an examination, reflecting on the patient’s concerns and dignity, the type of examination being performed, infection control procedures and the professional standards which healthcare professionals uphold to.
Scientific and Technical Practice 1
This introduces learners to key elements of investigation and experimentation and provides them with a strong foundation in instrumentation, data collection and interpretation, and the relevance to patient care. For Vascular Science learners, this module extends to providing them with an insight into the technology behind the non-invasive techniques they will use in their day-to-day job role.
Introduction to Vascular Science Practice
This provides an introduction to the routine diagnostics used within vascular science. Specifically, learners will be introduced to abdominal aortic aneurysm screening.
Cell and Molecular Biology
This module teaches learners about the basic building blocks of human biology. For Vascular Science learners, this module specifically explores the process of atherosclerosis, metabolic pathways, venous thrombosis, aneurysm formation
Human Anatomy and Physiology
This module offers an introduction to the key anatomical features of the body and how physiological function is controlled to maintain homeostasis and health. For Vascular Science learners, it also explores the basic knowledge of anatomy necessary to practice within a vascular imaging role.
The structure and function of arteries, arterioles, veins, venules and capillaries that supply the various organs and muscles in the body will also be taught.
Healthcare Science in Context
This cross-disciplinary module provides learners with an introduction to the study of human disease, exploring historical, social and scientific perspectives as well as an opportunity to explore how modern pathology services are structured and operated. For Vascular Science learners, this module will introduce them to the pathophysiology of diabetes and how NHS policy supports the prevention, management, and treatment of the disease.
Peripheral Arterial Disease Assessment
This module covers the principles of Ankle Brachial Pressure Indices (ABPIs) and Toe Pressures (TPs) and their place within diagnostic practice. Specifically, Doppler technology will be studied and how it supports screening of peripheral arterial disease.
Work-Based Learning 2
This module builds on the training and competency assessment gained in year one.
Clinical and Professional Practice 2
This module allows learners to explore the principles of quality assurance and how vascular services can be improved through effective clinical governance procedures.
Scientific and Technical Practice 2
This module builds on the scientific and technical skills learned in year one. For Vascular Science learners it explores new and evolving vascular diagnostic technologies – eg automated ABPI machines, TCPO2 testing, contrast enhanced ultrasound, 3D tomographic ultrasound, therapeutic ultrasound and elastography.
This module gives learners an understanding of the function, operation and basic design of ultrasound machines used in vascular diagnostics. In particular, they will learn key B-mode principles such as the piezoelectric effect, ultrasound transducer construction, pulse-echo theory and practice, beam focusing, signal amplification, dynamic range, depth manipulation, the relationship between frequency and resolution, side/grating lobes, compound imaging, harmonic imaging and ultrasound safety (biomechanical and thermal indices). Furthermore, they will learn the limitations of ultrasound.
Peripheral Aneurysm Assessment
This module builds on the introductory level learning from year 1. It provides a wider understanding of how screening can be used to detect non-aortic aneurysms of the peripheral arteries. Specifically, learners will study aneurysms of the iliac artery, common femoral artery and popliteal artery and how screening can enable effective diagnosis and improved patient outcomes.
Learners will be required to identify and interpret non-aortic peripheral artery disease, how the diseases are monitored, and the different treatment options available.
Lower Limb Venous Assessment
This module applies the theory of ultrasound to lower limb venous assessment. In particular, learners will study how to assess for thrombosis and how to emphasise the details necessary to map appropriate superficial veins for use as a surgical bypass conduit.
The module also provides a clinical knowledge of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The clinical presentation of DVT will be studied as well as the associated risk factors, the importance of accurate triage, the methods used to screen for a DVT (Wells score and D-dimer), and the rationale for anticoagulation.
Learners will be taught the optimal techniques for assessing the deep and superficial veins in the lower limb using ultrasound, the limitations of the scan and errors that can occur, venous haemodynamics, the appearance of acute and chronic thrombus and common incidental findings.
Specific focus will be made on teaching learners to recognise their own professional limits related to lower limb assessment and when to escalate urgent findings to senior colleagues.
Work-Based Learning 3
This module finalises the year one and two training and competency assessment required to enable registration with the Academy of Healthcare Science.
This module provides learners with the opportunity to carry out an in-depth research project in an area of personal interest and relevant to their vascular science field.
Clinical and Professional Practice 3
This module increases understanding and application of patient-centred care, safe practice, and multi-disciplinary team working to support patient pathways.
Learners will study the benefits of multi-disciplinary teams and how they support patient care. This involves learning about the role of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, clinical nurse specialists, speech and language therapists, anaesthesiologists, radiologists, radiographers, stroke consultants and vascular surgeons; with an opportunity to shadow several of these specialities.
Lastly, learners will act with minimal supervision to carry out complex diagnostic imaging and report these findings.
Extra Cranial Carotid Screening
This module provides the knowledge and understanding to independently and accurately identify extracranial disease.
Learners will be taught the evidence base for intervening on extra cranial carotid stenosis, the current grading criteria and guidelines which determine how stenosis are assessed using ultrasound and how to independently report the findings in accordance with national guidelines.
Practically, learners will be instructed on how to correctly manipulate the probe and utilise the machine controls to obtain accurate measurements and images. Specific focus will be made on teaching learners to recognise their own professional limits related to extracranial investigation and when to escalate urgent findings to senior colleagues.
Advanced Ultrasound Technology
This will cover the more advanced ultrasound technology and its practice in vascular diagnostics. Key principles of colour and spectral Doppler will be covered. Specific focus will be made on how ultrasound principles can be applied to extracranial investigation.
Other Imaging Modalities
This teaches the methods and techniques used to acquire diagnostic imaging in the most common alternate imaging modalities. This includes, computerised tomographic angiography (CTA), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), digital subtraction angiography (DSA) and positron emission tomography (PET).
This module will cover the advantages and disadvantages of different imaging methods, highlighting the clinical situations where single modalities act as the gold standard, whilst also covering some of the evidence regarding the basic cost effectiveness of the different imaging techniques. Learners will also find out about emerging imaging techniques.
The End Point Assessment (EPA) is an independent assessment that takes place after the final year of the apprenticeship. It is designed to test that the learner is competent in their occupation by assessing the knowledge, skills and behaviour (KSB) outcomes detailed in the approved Apprenticeship Standard.
For this degree apprenticeship, the EPA consists of three components:
- a 1 hour written ‘readiness for practice’ test;
- a professional discussion based on the apprentices’ portfolio (which should include evidence collated throughout the duration of the apprenticeship);
- a research presentation of up to 15 minutes, followed by a 15 minute discussion and assessor review.
All apprentices must pass their EPA to successfully complete their apprenticeship and academic
Teaching for this apprenticeship will start at Oxstalls Campus, then transfer to the new City Campus in Gloucester in the 2024-25 academic year. This provides time to ensure a smooth transition and familiarisation with the new facilities for all.
Our new City Campus is partly funded by Gloucester’s successful £20million ‘Levelling Up’ bid, the building is being refurbished to an exceptionally high standard and will include state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for all our learners.
We have also secured a landmark £29million in funding from Barclays linked to our commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals: to recruit a higher proportion of UK-domiciled young BAME students; widen access, engagement and participation for students from deprived areas; and to reduce gas and electricity CO2 emissions as part of its commitment to Net Zero by 2030.
As part of its decarbonisation drive, the University has also secured £3.3million funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of its Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, delivered by Salix. The scheme aims to put the public sector at the forefront of decarbonising buildings in the UK.
As well as training the region’s future nurses and teachers, it is estimated that over its lifetime, City Campus will add over £300million of direct and indirect value to the county’s economy, as well as more than 4,000 jobs.
Employer and learner support
Learners have a personal tutor throughout their apprenticeship, as well as a learner coach who conducts reviews and supports them towards successful completion. They are also supported by module tutors and our Helpzone staff, who are contactable by telephone, in person and online.
Employers are able to access our dedicated apprenticeship support team, who are here to ensure that businesses get the best from both the learner and the programme.
All apprentices have access to:
· experienced professionals, who are experts in their field
· state-of-the-art facilities
· all university libraries and IT and facilities
· discounted travel with Stagecoach across the South West network
· an NUS card offering great discounts at restaurants and high street stores
· a vibrant social scene complete with bars, sports clubs, gyms and leisure facilities
View our apprenticeships FAQ guide and discover answers to the most commonly asked questions about higher and degree apprenticeships.
Eligibility and Entry requirements
Apprentices should be in full-time employment (eg employed for at least 30 hours per week) throughout the duration of the apprenticeship.
Apprentices must have GCSE grade C/4 or above in Maths and English before they complete the EPA (or an equivalent Level 2 qualification). In some cases, apprentices are able to complete Functional Skills alongside their apprenticeship in order to have the needed Level 2 qualification ahead of EPA.
Apprentices must also have one of the following:
- 112 UCAS points (typically BBC at A Level), including one science subject;
- DMM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in a science or human health-based subject;
- A pass in a health-related Access to Higher Education Diploma (60 credits), of which 45 should be at level 3 and 15 should be at Merit or Distinction. A minimum of 18 credits should be in a science subject;
- Successful completion of a level 3 or 4 Healthcare Science Apprenticeship;
- Other relevant experience (agreed on a case-by-case basis).
Employers may set additional entry requirements suitable for their organisational needs.
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