Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing (Specialist Practice)

College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences

Course overview

The Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing (Specialist Practice) is aimed at newly graduated nurses. The programme aims to prepare graduates to: (1) provide person centred, high quality and evidence-based care in specialist practice settings and (2) function effectively, safely and within their scope of practice in these settings. Students’ complete three modules while continuing to work in the clinical setting for the duration of the programme. Over the duration of the programme students will complete two placements in specialist settings each of three months duration. During each placement the student will develop and implement a learning contract. The learning contract will set out the learning outcomes to be achieved during the placement. In addition, students’ skills competency will be assessed at a minimum of two points in the programme (Semester 1 + Semester 2).


The taught components of the programme will be delivered through blended learning. Blended learning is an innovative learning/teaching strategy which combines face-to-face with on-line learning. Most learning/teaching will be delivered on-line through Blackboard, an interactive learning system, which connects directly to a home computer. Students are required to attend face-to-face workshops for a total of 9 days over the programme. In addition to attending workshops, students are expected to engage on-line. To meet the programme learning outcomes students must complete a minimum of 500 clinical hours in specialist practice settings.


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. Hold an Honours Bachelor degree at NFQ Level 8 in Nursing or a comparable qualification;

  2. Be registered as a General nurse on the live register maintained by An Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann;

  3. Be currently employed as a nurse;

  4. Provide a letter of support from his/her employer confirming that he/she will have the opportunity to work in the required range of specialist practice settings to meet the programme learning outcomes, or where necessary, agreement that the applicant will be freed to undertake additional practice in a suitable placement setting.

Duration: 1 academic year, full-time

Next start date: This programme is not available in the 2015/2016 session.

ECTS weighting: 30

Average intake: 6 (minimum)

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

Mode of study: Blended learning

Course outline

Programme content

Taught Modules:

  • Managing Client Care in Specialist Settings (Runs across Semester 1 and 2) 
  • Physical Assessment Skills (Semester 1) 
  • Clinical Governance: Supporting Safe Practice (Semester 2)

Clinical Component: 

  • Competency Assessment I 
  • Competency Assessment II

Applications and selections

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

Who teaches this course?

Dr Adeline Cooney, Frances Farrelly, M.Sc., BNS, RGN, RNT
Bernard McCarthy, Dip.Nurse Mgt. (RCSI), Cert.Adult. Ed. (City & Guilds), B.Sc. (South Bank), C.Q.A.M. (GMIT), M.Sc. (Dub.)
Siobhan Smyth, RPN, Dip.CPN; RNT; PG.Dip CHSE; BNS (Hons), MSc
Dr Dympna Casey, RGN, BA, MA, PhD
Evelyn Byrne, RGN, RSCN, Dip Clinical Teaching, MSc

Find out more

PAC code


Fees for this course

EU (Total): €2,500 p.a. 2015/16
 - Tuition: €2,332 p.a. 2015/16
 - Student levy: €168 p.a. 2015/16

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