HEI Accreditation Programme

Accreditation is a process by which a national body that defines standards verifies the standards of local provision. FICM will use this process to accredit university Advanced Critical Care Practitioner (ACCP) programmes to ensure they are meticulously aligned to the FICM ACCP curriculum leading towards FICM ACCP Membership. This marries with the established course approvals process of universities – validation.

Aims and Objectives of Accreditation

  • Establish and monitor national standards for the design and delivery of ACCP programmes
  • Ensure that programmes of study are designed to meet the specifications of the Curriculum Framework for the Advanced Critical Care Practitioner and delivered within a conducive learning environment
  • Enhance the quality of ACCP programmes
  • To ensure proposed ACCP programmes meet the standards of professional competence as per FICM’s Curriculum Framework for the Advanced Critical Care Practitioner
  • To ensure proposed ACCP programmes meet the standards for higher education as described by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education’s (QAA) Academic Infrastructure (namely, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ), the accreditation of prior learning, Benchmark Statements, the Code of Practice, Programme Specifications and progress files)
  • To ensure that ACCP programmes are supported by appropriate staffing and resources and operate within an appropriate academic and professional culture including the assurance and development of quality
  • To share good practice across providers of ACCP programmes as a mechanism of quality enhancement.

FICM Accreditation Process

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are encouraged to use this form to notify the Faculty of their intention to pursue FICM Accreditation.

Completed forms should be emailed to contact@ficm.ac.ukNo paper forms will be accepted.

A typical FICM accreditation timeline will be as follows;

  • The HEI submits the expression of interest to FICM with at least 4 months’ notice in advance of when they would like the visit to take place.
  • A mutually convenient date will then be arranged between the HEI and the FICM Secretariat. The HEI Team will also be included in setting a draft agenda for the day so that all appropriate staff and areas can be included during the short visit.

Four weeks prior to the event

  • All of the necessary documentation will be complied and submitted by the HEI Team to the Faculty at least four weeks prior to the event for the assessors to review.

Evening prior to the event

  • The FICM panel will meet to discuss any issues identified from the submission and to plan for the event.

Day of the event

Private meeting of the Faculty and University panels

This is usually where the agenda for the day is confirmed and panel members are identified to lead on particular lines of enquiry. It is important to ensure that any issues identified the previous evening will be covered during the day.

Meeting with senior management

The FICM panel should normally meet the Dean of the Faculty, Faculty Lead for QA, Head of Department and Programme Leader at the university. Senior staff from the Trusts/Health Boards that provide clinical placements may also be present. This meeting is used to discuss strategic issues such as the place of the programme within the university’s strategic plans, staffing and resources.

Meeting with staff delivering the programme

In many ways, this is the focus of the day. The FICM panel should meet staff based at the university and may wish to meet additional people from the Trusts/Health Boards that provide the clinical placements. It is in this meeting that the details of the proposal can be discussed including; the structure and content of the curriculum, admissions, teaching and learning, assessment and placement learning.

Meeting with students

This meeting may take place over lunch. It is usually conducted more informally than meetings with staff. The purpose is to gain the students’ views regarding the operation of the programme and to triangulate and verify staff statements.

Meeting with clinical staff

The clinical element of the programme is vital to its success. FICM panel members should be reassured that the clinical environment provides an appropriate experience for students. In particular, learning resources, supervision and mentorship and the appropriate linkage of theoretical learning to practice, should be evidenced. This may involve site visits to hosting Intensive Care Units.

The Decision and Review Report

The conclusions of the visit will be summarised in report form, and shared with the HEI, within 6-8 weeks of the review date.

The FICM panel may make one of three recommendations:

  • Unconditional approval of accreditation
  • Conditional approval of accreditation

Conditions will be drawn up at this stage, with deadlines for fulfilment identified.

  • Non-accreditation

The panel should identify areas where the proposal could be developed to aid a future proposal.

  • Please be aware if an accreditation visit is cancelled with less than 8 weeks’ notice, FICM will need to recover any costs incurred to date such as travel or accommodation booked in advance.
  • An agenda will be arranged between the HEI representatives and the FICM Secretariat ahead of the visit. Here you can see the pattern a typical visit would follow.
  • All of the necessary documentation must be submitted to FICM at least 4 weeks prior to the proposed visit.
  • It is intended for the documents submitted in support of an accreditation process to reflect the normal requirements for a course validation process within the HEI.
  • The Faculty would expect a single set of documents that would include (as a minimum):
  • The programme specification (in accordance with QAA requirements)
  • A critical review of the programme (where it is an existing programme)
  • A submission document (or combination thereof) covering all aspects of provision detailed in the accreditation criteria. Where it is the HEI’s policy to provide existing documents, such as student handbooks, as part of the submission, this is acceptable to the Faculty. HEIs should ensure that sufficient evidence is included for accreditation decisions to be made.
  • Evidence of provision or intention to provide blended learning options for course provision.

The criteria and evidence that the FICM panel members will look for can be seen in this document.

Please use this form to structure your evidence submission to ensure all necessary elements are included.

If you are interested in pursuing accreditation for your HEI’s ACCP training programme please do get in touch with us using the expression of interest form above. This information will enable us to advise you regarding the accreditation process and its associated costs.

Typically stage one of the accreditation project includes a fee which covers an initial review of submitted evidence, the accreditation site visit and subsequent report. Sites must also cover any reasonable subsistence and travel expenses required by the review team (visits are likely to be virtual only, in 2021).

If the HEI is successful in attaining FICM accreditation there would be an accreditation fee (covering initial accreditation and year 1) and two separate annual review costs (covering years 2 & 3). After the 3rd year another full visit would be required in order to maintain the HEI’s accreditation.

On the anniversary of your accreditation, you will be asked to submit several brief up-to-date reports to show continued compliance against the ACCP Curriculum and original accreditation report. This is essentially the evidence bundle you completed for your initial visit, but on a smaller scale and the FICM Panel will advise you which elements you are required to submit evidence for. We will also ask you to include further detail on any areas that were marked as ‘met with conditions’.

Once returned, this evidence will be reviewed by the ACCP Accreditation Panel. If accepted, you will be deemed compliant for year 2 of your accreditation cycle.

The process highlighted above will repeat at years 2 and 3 in the same way, against the latest evidence checklist and curriculum at that time. It is therefore recommended that you schedule an internal annual review for years 2 and 3 before being required to submit this additional evidence to us. After 3 full years, the accreditation cycle starts again with an onsite visit.

Want to know more?
Find out about ACCP training.