Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Palliative Care)—
full-time and part-time

College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences
School of Nursing and Midwifery

Course overview

The Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Palliative Care) is designed for registered nurses who wish to pursue a specialism in Palliative Care Nursing. This programme is offered full-time over one calendar year and part-time over two calendar years. Taught components of the programme are delivered in a blended learning format. Blended learning is an innovative teaching strategy which involves a combination of face-to-face and on-line learning. This means that most learning/teaching will be delivered on-line through Blackboard, an interactive learning system which connects directly to the University from your own home computer.

Students are required to attend face to face workshops for a total of 12 days across the programme. The programme is comprised of seven theory/practice modules. In all modules there is an emphasis on exploring the relevance of module content to practice, similarly, practice placements allow students to explore "new" knowledge in practice, enabling them an opportunity to integrate theory and practice. Students are required to undertake their clinical practice in an approved clinical practice setting within Ireland normally within the students' own work setting.

Students are required to complete a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours before completing this programme.

Special Features

The course is approved by An Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann and has a clinical focus, offering opportunities to develop specialist skills. The programme is offered through a blended learning format - a combination of online and face-to-face learning and teaching. Blended learning is an innovative and flexible approach to learning, making it possible to combine working full-time with studying.

Key facts

Entry requirements

All applicants must meet the following entry requirements:

1. Be a registered nurse on the General, Children’s, MentalHealth, or Learning Disability Nurse divisions of the register maintained by An Bord Altranais agus náimhseachais na hÉireann;
2. Have a minimum of one year’s post-registration experience (exclusive of post-registration courses);
3. Be currently working in the required specialist area, i.e., Palliative Care, and have, as a minimum, six months’ clinical experience in this specialist area;
4. Satisfy the selection panel that they have the ability to complete the programme;
5. Have an Honours Bachelor’s degree at NFQ Level 8 in nursing or a comparable qualification. Applicants who do not hold an Honours degree or Higher Diploma (Level 8) may apply but must clearly demonstrate their capacity to complete a programme at this level. In addition to the other requirements outlined above, these applicants are required to submit a 1,000-word, literature-based essay. To be considered for admission, this essay must be at the level expected of an Honours degree candidate (Level 8).
6. Candidates registered on the Mental Health or Learning Disability division of the register maintained by An Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann must complete additional clinical hours in a palliative care setting. This requirement may apply to registered general or children’s nurses depending on the learning opportunities available to them in their work setting.

Duration: 1 year, full-time 2 years, part-time

Next start date: This course is currently under review.

ECTS weighting: 90

Average intake: .

Closing date: Please see the review/closing dates website for further information.

Mode of study: Blended learning and workshops

Course outline

The programme comprises seven theory/practice modules. Core modules and some aspects of specialist modules are taken with students undertaking other PDips. Modules are listed as follows:

  • Clinical Governance: Supporting Safe Practice (core)
  • Collaboration And Interagency Working/Clinical Supervision (optional 
  • Using Evidence in Practice (core)
  • Palliative Approaches to Symptom Management
  • End-of-Life Care: Psychological and Social Perspectives
  • Care of the Child and Family with a Life-Limiting Illness
  • Service Improvement Module
  • Clinical Competence 1
  • Clinical Competence 2
  • Clinical Competence 3

Applications and selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Who teaches this course?

Laura Dempsey, M.Sc. BNS, RNT, RGN, PG Dip CHSE
Siobhán Smyth, RMN, Dip.CPN; RNT; PG.Dip CHSE; BNS (Hons); MSc
Dr. Pauline Meskell PhD, MSc (Nursing), BSc Health Studies, RGN, Cert. Nephrology, Counselling & Psychotherapy
Dr. Adeline Cooney, M. Med.Sc., BNS, RGN, RNT, PhD
Sinéad Hahessy, RGN, B.A., M.A.(Soc.Sc). Pg Cert in Teaching and Learning 

Find out more

PAC code

GYM21, full-time GYM37, part-time

Fees for this course

EU (Total): €6,000 p.a. 2015/16
 - Tuition: €5,776 p.a. 2015/16
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2015/16
Non-EU (Total): €13,750 p.a. 2015/16

Past students

Scott Handsaker

(2011 - 2012)

"I now work as a Clinical Nurse Consultant, Grade 2, in Palliative Care. We have five Clinical Nurse Specialists working in the field; myself and the Consultant see the patients that need specialist treatment.  It's a dream job really.  I wouldn't have got it without my Postgraduate Diploma in Palliative Care.”