APPN Virtual Symposium 2020

The APPN is delighted to announce that it will be presenting a leadership symposium titled ‘Embracing Change: Leadership Insights from an Advanced Practice Perspective’, as part of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy ‘Leading for Change’ theme at Physiotherapy UK 2020, Birmingham International Conference Centre 13-14 November 2020.

The session will be chaired by outgoing APPN Honorary President Dr Grant Syme (Consultant Physiotherapist) and will feature presentations from Mr Stuart Palma (Head of Allied Health Professions [Professional Leadership] NHS England and NHS Improvement), Professor Lisa Roberts (Clinical Professor of Musculoskeletal Health and Consultant Physiotherapist), Dr Neil Langridge (Consultant Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist), with panel contributions from Ms Diane Reid (Advanced Practitioner, Senior Lecturer Advanced Clinical Practice), Mr Chandrasekhar Dekka (Clinical Lead Rheumatology and Orthopaedics and Advanced Practitioner) and Ms Jo Jennings (Advanced Practitioner, Falls Prevention Coordinator).

The session is provisionally scheduled for Hall 10 Sat 14 November 2020 at 9am.

About the Session

Healthcare services across the globe face unprecedented times with aging populations, increasing multimorbidities, changes in workforce supply, the availability of new technologies and increasing service user demand1, 2.  Advanced Practice Physiotherapists in the UK have been at the forefront of expanding the scope of physiotherapy practice and changing the delivery of healthcare services across a wealth of specialties3, 4, 5 e.g. musculoskeletal, general practice, respiratory, pelvic health, neurology, pain management, emergency care, rheumatology and physiotherapy education services.  These drivers are presenting new challenges for both individual clinicians and services, as organisations look to develop new ways of working to sustain and enhance healthcare delivery2.  Leadership has been defined as a process of developing and maintaining relationships, inspiring and motivating others, coping with organisational change and aligning operations with strategy6,7.  The science and art of leadership would therefore seem central to facilitating these changes in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world8.  This session will explore the experiences of clinicians working at Advanced Practice and Consultant levels who have been at the forefront of the profession in driving change across the four pillars of practice (clinical, management/leadership, facilitation of learning and research)9 and how they have developed their ‘leadership attributes’ early in their career until present.  The interactive component of the session will entail a panel debate, underpinned by a values-based questioning philosophy10 and by the NHS Leadership Academy’s nine leadership dimensions11 namely: 1) inspiring shared purpose, 2) leading with care, 3) evaluating information, 4) connecting our service, 5) sharing the vision, 6). engaging the team, 7) holding to account, 8) developing capability and 9) influencing for results.  There will be opportunity to explore with the panel their personal leadership reflections, both positive and negative, in driving workforce changes within organisations and the profession.

As healthcare services rapidly change, this can be both exciting and challenging for physiotherapists and organisations.  Leadership is commonly highlighted as an equally important component of a health care professional’s attributes, alongside facilitation of learning, research and development to support clinical practice.  Despite the evidence, some clinicians continue to focus on clinical knowledge and skills and choose to ignore the importance of leadership in supporting optimal clinical care.  The session will demonstrate the role leadership can potentially play in physiotherapy transformation and developing a culture of excellence.  The aim of the session is to learn leadership experiences from national ‘change agents’ in developing the workforce and to provide the opportunity for an open discussion about the theoretical and experiential dimensions of leadership in enhancing service user care.

We look forward to seeing and networking with many of our Advanced Practice colleagues at the symposium either physically or virtually!



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  1. Imison, C., Castle-Clarke. S. and Watson, R. (2016) Reshaping the Workforce to Deliver the Care Patients Need, Research Report. Nuffield Trust.


  1. Pierce, E. and Belling, R. (2011) ‘Advanced Practitioner Roles: Relevance and Sustainability in a ‘Liberated’ NHS’, FoNS International Practice Development Journal, 1 (2) [6].


  1. Saxon, R.L., Gray, M.A. and Oprescu, F.I. (2014) ‘Extended Roles for Allied Health Professionals: An Updated Systematic Review of the Evidence’, Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 7:479.


  1. Downie, F., McRitchie, C., Monteith, W., Turner, H. (2019) ‘Physiotherapist as an Alternative to a GP for Musculoskeletal Conditions: A 2-Year Service Evaluation of UK Primary Care Data’, British Journal of General Practice, 69, e314-e320.


  1. Balkundi, P. and Kilduff, M. (2006) ‘The Ties That Lead: A Social Network Approach to Leadership’, The Leadership Quarterly, 17, 419-439.


  1. McCallum, S. and O’Connell, D. (2009) ‘Social Capital and Leadership Development: Building Stronger Leadership through Enhanced Relational Skills’, Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 30, 152-166.


  1. Unnikrishnan, M.K. (2017) ‘Eminence or Evidence? The Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity in Healthcare’, Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, 28, 1: 1-2.


  1. NHS Education Scotland (2019) Post Registration Career Development Framework for Nurses, Midwives and AHPs,


  1. McGuire, C., Rankin, J., Matthews, L., Cerinus, M., and Zaveri, S. (2016) ‘Improving the Quality of the NHS Workforce through Values and Competency-Based Selection’, Nursing Management, 23, 26-33.


  1. NHS Leadership Academy (2019) The Nine Leadership Dimensions,