Course Overview

NOTE: this programme is not on offer for entry September 2020.

The central importance of primary care has been repeatedly endorsed by governments in recent years. This course has been designed to meet your changing educational needs as a doctor or nurse working in primary care, using a combination of distance learning and face-to-face workshops. You can take a single module in a subject of your choice or work towards a PgCert/PDip.

This course has built-in flexibility to meet the needs of busy health-care professionals, allowing you to learn at a time and place that suits you. It is accredited for Continuing Medical Education and has received An Bord Altranais Category II approval.

The modules are delivered using an e-learning platform supported by dedicated skills training sessions at NUI Galway (usually two non-consecutive days per module). The distance education format allows you to engage in learning at a time and place that suit your lifestyle.

Postgraduate Certificate = any 3 modules, at least 2 clinical. 
Postgraduate Diploma = any 6 modules, at least 3 clinical.

The course is recognised for external CPD by the Irish College of General Practitioners, and has received Category 2 approval from An Bord Altranais.

Scholarships Available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

If you are interested in individual modules you may apply for a 
Professional Credit Award, click here.

Who Teaches this Course

Prof. Andrew W Murphy
Dr. Sarah Brennan
Dr. Patricia Cremin
Dr. Sean Dinneen
Dr. Eva Flynn
Dr. Liam Glynn
Dr. Brian Hallahan
Ms Mette Jensen
Dr. Kim Kavanagh
Ms. Marcella Kelly
Dr. Emma Kilgarriff
Dr. Redin Lawlor
Dr. Gary MacDonald
Ms. Maura Molloy
Dr. Micheál Newell
Dr. Grainne Ní Fhoghlu
Ms. Siobhan Smyth
Ms. Edel Tierney
Ms. Alison Van Laar

Requirements and Assessment

Work is assessed through a combination of practice-based assignments and participation in online discussions.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Applicants must be registered healthcare professionals currently working in clinical practice in an Irish primary care setting. Applicants from secondary care may also be considered. General computer literacy is essential.

Additional Requirements


Stand-alone modules,
3 months online distance learning

Next start date

NOT ON OFFER September 2020

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

20 per module

Closing Date

 Please view the offer rounds website.

NFQ level

Mode of study


ECTS weighting

60 (PDip), 30 (PgCert)



Course code

1CPDM2, Cardiovascular Disease in Primary Care; 1CPDM3, Women’s Health in Primary Care ; 1CPDM5, Diabetes.
Stand-alone modules, apply via

Course Outline

Programme content (Trimester 1 = Sept–Dec; Trimester 2 = Jan–Mar; Trimester 3 = Mar–Jun)
Clinical Modules

Advanced Wound Care Management (trimester 2)
Cardiovascular Disease in Primary Care (trimester 2)
Diabetes in Primary Care (trimester 2)
Infectious Disease in Primary Care (trimester 1)
Mental Health in Primary Care (trimester 3)
Minor Surgery and Related Dermatology (trimester 3)
Respiratory Disease in Primary Care ‌(trimester 1)
Women's Health in Primary Care (trimester 3)

Non-Clinical Modules

Clinical Teaching Methodologies (trimester 2)
Collaboration and Interagency Working (trimester 2)
Concepts & Principles of Primary Care (trimester 1)
Health Research Methods (trimester 1)
Literature Based Research Skills (trimester 1)‌

Anyone interested in completing a Masters in Primary Care should note that the final three modules listed above are mandatory – for more information please click here.

All modules are available on a stand-alone basis, or can be accumulated towards an award of PgCert (any three modules, at least two clinical) or PDip (any six modules, at least three clinical). Modules can be accumulated over a period of between one and three years, as you wish. Each module is delivered via a mix of online distance learning and face-to-face workshops in Galway (usually two non-consecutive days per module).

(Note: all programmes are suitable for those in full-time employment and may be taken over three years if required.)

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
A module you may choose to study.
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (10 Credits)

Optional GPN05: Cardiovascular Disease in Primary Care

Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Cardiovascular Disease in Primary Care is one of the 3 modules of the Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Primary Care. These 3 courses are aimed specifically for GPs and Practice Nurses to improve the management of patients with chronic diseases and conditions relating to each area. In particular for Cardiovascular Disease in Primary Care, this course covers the diagnosis and management, primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and it's risk factors and complications.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. • Understand coronary heart disease epidemiology
  2. • Understand the continuum of coronary heart disease and the pathophysiologic difference between stable coronary disease and acute coronary syndromes
  3. • Differentiate angina from other causes of chest pain
  4. • Understand the term “acute coronary syndromes”
  5. • Broadly differentiate ST elevation myocardial infarction from non-ST elevation MI and unstable angina
  6. • Pharmacologic drug therapies for angina prophylaxis and preventing acute coronary events
  7. • Role of revascularization, and differing revascularization strategies available including management of STEMI and the factors used to determine percutaneous intervention versus coronary bypass surgery for multi vessel coronary artery disease
  8. • Management of anti-thrombotic drug therapies
  9. • Have a patient-centred and evidence-based approach to the diagnosis, management and follow up of patients with high BP
  10. • Explain the use of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) and home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) in the management of hypertension
  11. • Explain the use of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) and home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) in the management of hypertension
  12. • Explain the use of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) and home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) in the management of hypertension
  13. • Have a patient-centred and evidence-based approach to the diagnosis, management and follow up of patients with hyperlipidaemia
  14. • Demonstrate an awareness of the barriers to effective management of hyperlipidaemia in Irish general practice
  15. • Demonstrate an awareness of the features of management of hyperlipidaemia in your practice that either meet or fall short of international standards
  16. • Know when cardiovascular risk should be estimated
  17. • Use cardiovascular risk assessment tools such as SCORE and QRISK
  18. • Outline the key tasks of behaviour change consultations
  19. • Demonstrate knowledge of the different factors that affect behaviour change
  20. • Understand how consultation style influences how willing patients are to change their behaviour
  21. • Demonstrate how psychological theory can illustrate behaviour change as an ongoing process
  22. • Outline an appropriate approach to behaviour change for patients with cardiovascular disease
  23. • Diagnose and treat new cases of atrial fibrillation
  24. • Demonstrate a full understanding of the most appropriate diagnostic tests for atrial fibrillation and the rationale for choosing these tests
  25. • Differentiate in most newly presenting patients between significant and less-significant symptoms relating to arrhythmias
  26. • Decide which arrhythmia patients need urgent admission or referral
  27. • Be able to determine the difference between atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter
  28. • Determine thrombo-embolic risk using the ChadsVasc Score
  29. • Be able to decide who needs anticoagulation
  30. • Determine the bleeding risk in patients- using HASBLED score
  31. • Be able to prescribe New Oral Anticoagulants- indication, and contraindication, dose reduction in specific groups, interactions
  32. • Be aware of left atrial appendage occlusion device for patients who cannot take anticoagulation and are at high risk of stroke
  33. • Be able to determine how to switch from warfarin to NOAC and vice versa
  34. • Be familiar with the different drugs for AF treatment
  35. • Determine rate vs rhythm control – who needs rate control, who needs rhythm control
  36. • Be able to understand the different modalities for AF treatment
  37. • Understand the basics of pharmacology of anti-arrhythmic agents
  38. • Outline a systematic approach to the diagnosis of heart failure in the community and the appropriate use and interpretation of investigations for heart failure
  39. • Demonstrate knowledge of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HF-rEF), heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HF-pEF) and heart failure with mid range ejection fraction (HF-mrEF)
  40. • Outline an appropriate follow-up regime for patients with heart failure.
  41. • Demonstrate awareness of emerging strategies in the prevention and management of heart failure
  42. • Assess cardiovascular risk in women seeking hormonal contraception
  43. • Outline a systematic approach to the assessment and management of cardiovascular risk in menopausal women
  44. • Understand, be able to identify, and appropriately mange and refer patients with hypertensive disease in pregnancy
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module GPN05: "Cardiovascular Disease in Primary Care" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

This course is recognised for external CPD by the Irish College of General Practitioners, and has received Category 2 approval from An Bord Altranais. The content of the course is well aligned with the new HSE clinical care pathways, and will help community-based practitioners to meet the increasing expectation to demonstrate their continuing competence.

Interdisciplinary learning provides new and interesting challenges for primary care professionals that reflect many of the issues that occur in the context of primary care teams. Thus involvement in the NUI Galway clinical primary care modules will support better primary care team development and operation.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€4,915 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€4,691 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€13,750 p.a. 2018/19

PDip: €4,915; PgCert: €2,675; Single module: €850.

Find out More

Dr Eva Flynn
T: +353 91 493 699


  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2020

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2020 PDF (21 MB)