Nursing - Childrens Cardiac Nursing

Our Graduate Diploma Children's Cardiac Nursing will build on your existing knowledge and skills in caring for children with a cardiac condition and their families, supporting you to practice at specialist level.

Who is the programme for
This programme is designed to meet the professional development needs of Registered Nurses who wish to specialise in Children's Cardiac Nursing.

Applicants should be registered as an RCN, RCN/RGN with a minimum of one year's experience in Children's Cardiac Nursing. Applicants registered as an RGN with a minimum of 2 years' experience in Children's Nursing may be considered for registration to the programme.

Applicants should be employed in either cardiac services in Children's Health Ireland at Our Lady's Childrens Hospital Crumlin, or Clark Clinic in The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

Outside of these centres applicants may be working in a specialist role caring for children with a heart condition.

Places are allocated on the programme subject to successful interview, and availability of places.

Programme Objectives
The Graduate Diploma in Children's Cardiac Nursing programme aims to build upon and advance the registered nurse's repertoire of knowledge, skills, attitudes and professional values, in order to prepare the nurse to assume the role of a nurse specialist in this area of care. The programme aims to develop the practitioner's capacities for caring and competent practice in children's cardiac nursing, in order to prepare the nurse to provide a child and family centred service within the health service.

The Specific Aims of the Programme
Advance nursing knowledge, skills, attitudes and values in the area of children's cardiology including the voice of children, parents/ guardians and carers through deep understanding, and collaborative practice and an appreciation of the public/patient engagement processes.

Synthesise and integrate knowledge from a broad range of interprofessional disciplines in response to complex health related problems in Children's Cardiac Nursing.

Acquire advanced knowledge of motivational theory, managing conflict and performance improvement systems and ability to utilise this knowledge and understanding in a leadership and management role.

Engage in systematic and comprehensive assessment processes, based on the integration of theory, evidence, research and interprofessional perspectives as a foundation for advanced reasoning/ or decision making.

Advocate for and communicate the needs of infants, children, young people, their parents/guardians and fellow nurses within the context of Children's Cardiac Nursing and evidence-based practice.

Appreciation of team building and the ability to lead diverse teams to improve outcomes through an understanding of organisational change and how to implement change successfully.

Promote personal and professional growth in a children's nursing role, through life-long learning and continuous professional development.

Contribute to children's nursing knowledge through systematic inquiry, knowledge development, translation and scholarship.

How will I benefit
On successful completion of the programme, you will receive a 60 credit level 9 Graduate Diploma in Children's Cardiac Nursing from the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems. The programme is recognised Nationally and Internationally.

Programme Strengths
While based in Cardiac services in CHI at Crumlin or Clark Clinic at RBHSC, you will rotate on occasion between both hospitals to experience nursing care of a wide spectrum of presenting cardiac conditions including congenital heart disease, acquired cardiac defects, as well as experiencing placements in cardiac catheterisation laboratory, the hybrid lab, cardiac MRI and Cardiac theatre.
Lectures are both clinical and university-based and are delivered by a wide range of specialists. These include Specialist Nurses, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, Cardiologists and Cardiothoracic Surgeons, Pharmacists, Radiologists, Dieticians, Physiotherapists and Psychologists.
There is a strong emphasis on continuous progression of clinical ability and clinical effectiveness through continuous assessment, clinical examinations, and case presentations
The delivery of specialist modules on care of the child with a cardiac condition.
Flexible pathway – recognition of prior learning where applicable
Extensive use of IT in supporting the teaching environment of the programme
Access to student support services including a dedicated student advisor, librarian and access to the UCD Writing Centre

Teaching Methods
A wide range of teaching methods are used, which includes large and small group lectures, seminars and tutorials. Clinical teaching is undertaken by specialists in the clinical area who work with the students to assist them in applying theory to practice. The UCD Virtual Learning platform 'Brightspace' supports online teaching and learning, facilitating synchronous and asynchronous online content delivery. Clinical placements provide students with excellent opportunities to learn from experts in other hospitals and/or within their own hospitals; students attend multi-disciplinary team meetings and engage in supervised practice.

Information technology
It is essential that you have access to a personal computer and reliable WiFi. Communication with students is primarily by UCD email account and announcements posted on Brightspace. Lecture recordings are made available to students. Assessments are submitted online via Brightspace, and grading and feedback is uploaded for students to access promptly.

Subjects taught

Programme Structure
This programme will commence in Sept 2021 as a 2 year part-time programme. In Sept 2022, we will be offering it as a 1 year full time.

Assessments are varied (assignments/ case presentation/practical examination/online discussion boards/student debate) and occur at intervals throughout and at the end of the semesters. During the first year students will attend college online for a short period one day per week. During year 2, learning experiences are undertaken in planned blocks of study, at the hospital site.

You will complete six modules in total, to include two core modules taken in year 1, and four specialist modules taken in year 2.

Core Modules:
Semester 1 NMHS42230 - Leadership and Organisational Dynamics

Semester 2 NMHS43270 - Research Methods Applied to Healthcare

Specialist Modules:

Semester 1 - Fundamental Concepts of Children's Cardiac Nursing

Semester 2 NMHS43720 Advanced Children's Critical Care

Semester 2 - Specialist Considerations in Children's Cardiac Nursing

Semester 1 and Sem 2 - NMHS42460 - Clinical Practicum: Paediatric Critical Care Nursing

Entry requirements

Application Requirements
Hold a minimum of a BSc degree or equivalent in Nursing
(Note: Applicants not holding an bachelor's degree may apply for Recognition of Prior Learning)

Given the cross-border nature of the programme; Nurses must be registered with the NMBI.

PSNI as well as Garda clearance will be required. Clinical placements in both Belfast and CHI at Crumlin are programme requisites.

Must be currently employed in a Children's Cardiology setting, in a 0.5 FTE capacity at a minimum, and provide written evidence that they will be supported in completing the minimum required hours of practice, including throughout the clinical practicum.

RGN without RCN qualification will have a minimum of 2 years' experience working in Children's Cardiology.

RCNs with relevant prior experience must have a minimum of 18 months working in Children's Cardiology.

Completion of 'Introduction to Children First' E-learning module on and certification submitted.

Reference from Clinical Nurse Manager/ Clinical Nurse Education Facilitator.

Application dates


How to Apply
The programme code is X949, the part-time, 2 year is being offered in Sept 2021 (the full time 1 year will be offered in Sept 2022)

Applications are made online through UCD Applications. ?Applicants may be required to undertake an interview (either face-to-face or via telecommunication) as part of the admission process.

Please note that all applicants are required to pay a €50 application fee. Your application cannot be processed fully unless the application fee has been paid.

Apply online

Completed applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and programmes will close once they are filled. We advise you to apply as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Documents to be submitted with 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)

Completed Clinical Competence Assessor Nomination Form signed by the nominee

Evidence of proficiency in English language (applicants whose first language is not English)

Certification of Garda/PSNI clearance as applicable.

Evidence of completion of 'Introduction to Children's First' online learning module


2 years part-time.

Post Course Info

Careers/Where can I go
The Graduate Diploma in Children's Cardiac Critical Care Nursing (Children) provides you with the comprehensive knowledge and extensive skills required for caring for children with cardiac defects and their families, equipping you to work in this specialist area Nationally or Internationally. Academically there are opportunities to continue to Masters / PhD level, and clinically you may choose to further your expertise to pursue a role in clinical education, or a position as a Clinical Nurse Manager or Clinical Nurse Specialist or indeed to pursue a role in Advanced Nursing Practice.

More details
  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

  • Apply to

    Course provider