Nursing - Cancer Nursing

Graduate Diploma Cancer Nursing (Adult, Breast, Children, Colorectal)

The Graduate Diploma in Cancer Nursing is an academic and clinically based programme designed for students who wish to deepen and broaden their knowledge and expertise in cancer care in order to provide safe, effective and holistic care to people with cancer. There are four strands in this programme (Adult Cancer Nursing, Children's Cancer Nursing, Breast Care Nursing, and Colorectal Nursing). Students undertaking the programme will choose one of these strands. Established in 1988 at diploma level, the UCD Cancer Nursing programme was the first specialist course in oncology nursing in Ireland. Over the years, hundreds of oncology nurses throughout the country have successfully completed what is now a Graduate Diploma in Cancer Nursing.

Who is the programme for?
The programme is aimed at advancing the registered nurse's repertoire of knowledge and skills in Cancer Nursing; it is particularly aimed at preparing the nurse to assume the role of clinical nurse specialist in their chosen speciality - Adult, Breast, Children or Colorectal Nursing.

Course Features
•The UCD Cancer Nursing programme now offers 4 specific strands of which students can choose to undertake one: Adult Cancer Nursing strand, Children's Cancer Nursing strand, Breast Care Nursing and Colorectal Nursing.

•All of the teaching is undertaken by those who have national and/or international expertise in cancer care including, clinical and research expertise.

•Supernumery student placements and continuous assessments encourage and enable students to broaden and deepen their expertise in cancer nursing over the course of the programme.

Aims of the Programme
The programme aims to develop the practitioner's capacities for caring and competent practice in Cancer Nursing, in order to prepare the nurse to provide patient-centred care within the health service.

The specific aims of the programme are:
•To build upon and advance the student's repertoire of knowledge, skills, attitudes and professional values that were developed during the course of his/her basic training and arising out of his/her experiences in clinical practice

•To provide the student with the requisite knowledge, skills, attitudes and professional values for the advancement of his/her role in the care of patients, including critical analysis, creative thinking, decision making and communication

•To develop a greater understanding of the theory which underpins Cancer Nursing Practice including theory in the social and behavioural sciences and theory in the biomedical sciences

•To provide learning experiences that advance the student's professional development and personal growth and experiences that affirm the student's capacity to be a self-directed learner

•To advance the student's sense of professional awareness, and commitment and a sense of professional responsibility and accountability in Cancer Nursing

•To enable the student to value learning as a continuous process and as a necessary process in the context of his/her professional role in Cancer Nursing

What will I learn?
The curriculum is designed to enhance your knowledge and skills with respect to the holistic assessment and management of patients.

How will I benefit?
On successful completion of the programme, you will receive a Graduate Diploma in Cancer Nursing. This is a highly regarded qualification for nurses caring for patients in Ireland.

Information Technology
It is essential that you have access to a personal computer and an email account as communication with students is primarily undertaken by email. Lecture handouts/announcements are made available to students via Blackboard (a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that supports online learning and teaching) and/or via email. Messages from the university regarding examination policy and procedures are also sent via email.

Entry requirements

•Applicants must hold a primary degree in Nursing (or equivalent in related discipline)/APEL consideration if no degree

•Applicants must be entered onto the appropriate division of the Nurses Register maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) (be registered as an RGN)

•Other criteria to be used in the assessment of the application include number of years of experience, and evidence of ongoing professional development

Specific requirements
•Applicants must have at least one year's experience in nursing in their specialist area at time of attendance

•Applicants must be employed in a unit in their specialist area (focusing on cancer and benign conditions) or related specialist setting prior to commencing the course and for duration of the course

Documents to be submitted with your application

•Original transcript(s) including date and grading of degree award (non UCD Graduates only) & notarised English translations where relevant
•Nurse applicants: A current photocopy of NMBI registration
•Copy of Birth Certificate or Personal Page of Passport
•Signed Declaration Form from Employer (original form)
•Completed Professional Reference Form (original form)
•Nurse applicants: Completed Clinical Competence Assessor Nomination Form signed by the nominee
•Evidence of proficiency in English language (applicants whose first language is not English)

Assessment Info

Assessments are varied (assignments/short examination questions/MCQ/case presentation and clinical assessments (Clinical Competency Assessment Tool, Clinical Learning Outcomes, a practical examination (OSCE)) and occur at intervals throughout and at the end of the trimesters.

Subjects taught

List of core modules:
•Nursing Knowledge: Phil & Prac (Sem 1)
•Research Methods Applied to Healthcare (Sem 2)

List of specialist modules:
•Fundamentals of Cancer Care
•Psycho-oncology and
•Adult Cancer Nursing
•Clinical Practicum (Adult Cancer Nursing) or
•Breast Care Nursing
•Clinical Practicum (Breast Care) or
•Children's Cancer Nursing
•Clinical Practicum (Children's Cancer Nursing) or
•Colorectal Nursing
•Clinical Practicum (Colorectal Nursing)


60 credits


1 year full-time.

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: September 2020

Post Course Info

Careers / where can I go?
Possessing a broad and deep understanding of the theory and skills required for caring for adults with cancer, you will be well positioned to work in a variety of settings specialising in this area both nationally and internationally. As the programme is particularly aimed at preparing nurses to assume the role of clinical nurse specialist, many nurses eventually take up CNS positions and some may undertake further study required for the role of ANP in cancer nursing. Many nurses also proceed to assume CNM / Educational / Clinical Facilitator roles.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type


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