Nursing - Children's Nursing

Why DCU?
Lecturers with vast experience in children's nursing practice, education and research

State-of-the-art clinical education facilities

Diverse range of clinical placements in partnership with the Children's Health Ireland

Friendly, supportive clinical and educational environment

Online environment that enables you to access electronic teaching and learning materials

Children's Nursing (Higher Diploma)
The course is designed to enhance the knowledge and skills that have been developed during pre-registration and post-registration nurse education and through experience as a qualified practitioner. You will be encouraged to take responsibility for your own learning and to integrate the theory of children's nursing with practical experiences in the clinical environment. The Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing course aims to prepare nurses to be innovators, to think critically and creatively and to have well-developed decision-making and problem-solving skills. It also aims to foster skills for lifelong learning, as this course places an emphasis on your personal and professional development.

Children's Nursing is the professional practice of protection and promotion of health and independence, the prevention of illness, the facilitation of healing and the alleviation of suffering through diagnosis and empirical treatment modalities to children, young people and their families. Children's nursing also involves acting as an advocate in the care of children, young people, families, groups, communities and populations and assisting these vulnerable populations in a professional, caring and empathic manner.

The Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing aims to provide optimum clinical and academic learning environments that stimulate and enable students to become compassionate, competent, safe, critically aware and reflective children's nurses. Professional competence as a children's nurse is achieved through an interactive process of skill acquisition and the synthesis of knowledge. The course recognises the multidisciplinary nature of healthcare and the national and global dimensions of contemporary nursing practice, and is delivered at Level 8 National Qualifications Authority in Ireland (NQAI, 2005).

The Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing is designed to meet the needs of registered nurses who wish to register as a Children's Nurse (RCN) or for those who are currently involved in the provision of care to children who do not have a children's nursing qualification. The aim of the course is to ensure that students are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice as a competent and professional registered children's nurse.

Academic learning and learning in practice go hand-in-hand and you will be encouraged to reflect on your experiences as you progress through the course.

Garda vetting is a requirement for all students, who throughout their training have supervised access to vulnerable population groups. You must successfully pass the Garda vetting process in order to complete the process of registration.

Course Structure
This one-year, full-time course will include 12 weeks of lectures, 36 weeks of clinical experience and four-weeks' holidays. All the lectures are delivered at DCU with a three-week block at the beginning of the course followed by two days per week block release over a five-week period in Semester 1 and a 12-week period in Semester 2.

You undertake the 36 weeks' clinical practice within the clinical environment in Children's Health Ireland at Temple Street, attending partner services for specialist placements. The 36 weeks will be divided into three practice modules and will include four-weeks' holidays at a specified time. For the duration of the course, you will be an employee of Chilren's Health Ireland at Temple Street.

Upon completion of the course, you will be eligible to register with An Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland) as a Registered Children's Nurse (RCN).

Entry requirements

You must be a nurse registered with An Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann - Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).

You must:
Be a registered nurse or eligible to register with An Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland) as a Registered General Nurse, a Registered Psychiatric Nurse or a Registered Intellectual Disability Nurse

Hold a Diploma in Nursing or a qualification that is judged equivalent. If you do not hold a Diploma in Nursing (or judged equivalent) your prior certified learning will be assessed through a system of Recognised Prior Learning

Possess at least six months' postregistration clinical nursing experience

Additional Information
If you do not have a Diploma in Nursing (or a qualification that is judged equivalent), your prior certified learning will be assessed through a system of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Subjects taught

Year 1
Children's Nursing
Children with Healthcare Needs
Researching Child Health
Children with Complex Healthcare Needs
Professional and Contemporary Issues in Children's Nursing
Evidence-based Practice in Children's Nursing


1 year full-time (52 weeks).

Post Course Info

Future Careers
General Nurse
Children's Nurse
Community Nurse

In These Areas
Public Hospital
Private Hospital
Healthcare Sector
Occupational Health

More details
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  • Qualifications

    Higher Diploma (Level 8 NFQ)

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