Nursing - Perioperative

Course Overview
This programme is designed for registered nurses who wish to pursue a specialism in Perioperative Nursing. The full-time programme is offered full-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 six 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. Where the environment does not provide sufficient opportunities to meet the learning outcomes of the programme additional placements will be required by the student in sites which will provide the experience needed. A minimum of 500 clinical hours (reduced from previously-published 1,000 hours, on NMBI advice) needs to be completed in the specialist area while undertaking the programme.

Good Reasons To Study This Course
1. The course is approved by The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) and has a clinical focus, offering opportunities to develop specialist skills.

2. The programme is offered through a blended learning format—a combination of online and face-to-face learning and teaching.

2. Blended learning is an innovative and flexible approach to learning, making it possible and easier to combine working full-time with studying.

Course Outline
Students complete three core and three specialist modules in the first year (60 ECTS) which is conducted over two semesters. There are two clinical competency assessments, one for each semester. Students’ clinical competency will be assessed by a designed preceptor and programme director (“pass/ fail”, submitted at the end of Semester 2). Eligible students will then complete a research dissertation (30 ECTS) in the second year.

All students are invited to a postgraduate Induction Day prior to commencing the programme. The Induction Day has many purposes. Students meet and get to know their classmates and lecturers, they are provided with information regarding programme content, the timetable, assessment schedule; programme Marks and Standards and the resources in place to support them while undertaking the programme. Students are taught how to access Blackboard use of Turnitin and an overview of plagiarism, overview of academic writing and how to contribute to discussion boards/blogs and submit assessments. Students are also orientated to the library on-line resources and other student support services. Students meet their programme director and module leaders in break out groups during the day. The roles of various key people are outlined i.e., programme director, module leader and clinical facilitator if relevant. Students are informed about the various apps they should download, role of the student union, role of Class representative, specific location of policies they may need access to over the course of the programme e.g., leave of absence, exemptions/recognition of prior learning (RPL). The clinical components of the programme and clinical assessments are discussed. The most important aspect of the day however is allowing students the time to meet and get to know one another. We find that peer support is extremely important for students attending blended learning programmes and ensure that there is plenty of time for students to get to know one another on the Induction Day.

Year One is a blended learning programme and is delivered using a combination of on-line learning and face-to-face skills teaching. In all modules, there is an emphasis on exploring the relevance of module content to practice. Each module runs over a minimum of 12 weeks. Modules are developed into guided learning packs comprising of multiple units. Each pack provides a study guide for the student and includes directed learning activities (both on-line and practice based), key reading and reflective points. Students will be supported on-line as they work through each unit, using the virtual learning environment Blackboard. Students will complete practice focused assessments throughout the programme. Students will be expected to engage in discussion boards/blogs and respond to posted questions or activities, and to complete e-tivities, case studies, MCQs and assignments. The methods of assessments provide students with the opportunity to clarify their understanding, debate key issues with peers and moderator, and consider how to apply their learning in their practice. The moderator (a lecturer) will provide written feedback on assessments.

The face-to-face teaching component (workshops/online) will take place at intervals throughout the semester. Workshops will focus on key skills and application. Online teaching will comprise of theoretical knowledge and provide an opportunity for engagement though group work and discussions. While undertaking the programme, students will continue to work in an approved perioperative clinical care setting. Programme assessments are structured in such a way allowing students to explore “new” knowledge in the reality of their practice, thus providing them with an opportunity to integrate theory and practice.

To be eligible for the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Perioperative) students must pass each module at 40% and pass the clinical competency assessments. Students must also meet the clinical hours’ requirement of 500 hours (reduced from previously-published 1,000 hours, on NMBI advice).

To be eligible to attend the Master’s of Health Sciences (Year Two), students must obtain an overall result of 60% or over in Year One.

Subjects taught

Year 1 (60 Credits)
Required NU6618: Specialist Module 2 - Prevention of anaesthetic complications
Required NU623: Clinical Governance: Supporting Safe Practice
Required NU921: Clinical Competence 1
Required NU616: Specialist Module 1 - Physiological effects of surgery
Required NU6439: Service Improvement
Required NU6619: Specialist Module 3 - Prevention of surgical complications
Required NU502: Advanced Research Methods
Required NU922: Clinical Competence 2
Optional RPL010: Recognised Prior Learning
Optional RPL020: Recognised Prior Learning
Optional RPL030: Recognised Prior Learning

Year 2 (30 Credits)
Required NU6515: Research Dissertation
Optional RPL030: Recognised Prior Learning

Entry requirements

All applicants must meet the following entry requirements:
- Be a registered nurse on the General division of the register maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI);

- Have a minimum of six months’ post-registration experience (exclusive of post-registration courses);

- Be currently working in the required specialist area, i.e., theatre (perioperative setting) and have as a minimum six months’ clinical experience in this specialist area;

- Provide written evidence of support from their Director of Nursing for the duration of the programme;

- 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) must demonstrate that they have successfully completed (in the previous two years) a module at Level 9. Please consult the professional credit awards at Level 9 at:

Application dates

How to apply
We encourage all applicants to apply as early as possible.

Review/Closing Dates (for Taught Programmes)
For most programmes, University of Galway does not set specific closing dates for receipt of applications. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and course quotas will be reviewed continuously throughout the application cycle with the exception of applications for some programmes which are reviewed after the specified closing date. Candidates who do not have their final degree marks available may be made a conditional (provisional) offer.

Online Application
Applications to most postgraduate programmes at University of Galway are made online via (see "Application Weblink").


2 years full-time (option to leave with PDip after 1 year).

Enrolment dates

Next start date: September 2024.

Closing Date: 31st May 2024.

Post Course Info

Career Opportunities
The Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Perioperative), Major Award, is at Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications. It is informed and guided by NMBI criteria. It is aimed at Registered General Nurses working in the perioperative environment. This programme provides nurses with the specific theoretical knowledge, skills and clinical reasoning abilities required to provide safe and high-quality care in the perioperative specialism. The concepts of patient centred care, evidence-based practice, and promotion of safety are examined in this programme. The learners’ knowledge of physiology, anatomy, ethical and legal practice, and specific operative procedures are also included. It covers a multitude of theory relevant to perioperative nursing practice resulting in significant career opportunities.

Upon completing this programme, students have the requisite knowledge and clinical skills to work in a wide variety of peri-operative care settings, both in Ireland and Internationally. Past Graduates have found employment and promotion opportunities nationally and internationally.

Furthermore, the programme has shown to support and facilitate nursing at specialist and advanced nursing levels. The programme is designed to support the development of knowledge, skills, attributes, and competencies in preparation for specialist and advanced roles within nursing. Successful completion of the Masters in Perioperative Nursing will offer students opportunities to be considered for clinical nurse specialist posts and advanced nursing practice posts.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ),Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime,Blended

  • Apply to

    Course provider