Nursing - Recovery - Focused Mental Health Nursing

Course Outline
This course invites and challenges psychiatric nurses to think critically and creatively about their work with people experiencing mental health difficulties. The course is underpinned by the principles and values of recovery – a key concept in mental healthcare delivery. The course consists of modules dealing with different aspects of psychiatric nursing practice, organised within the parameters of the five roles of the clinical nurse specialist. The course facilitates nurses to engage with lifelong personal and professional development through flexible modes of learning incorporating online and face-to-face teaching and learning strategies.

Why Choose This Course
The course offers qualified psychiatric nurses the opportunity to engage with their practice in the context of many challenges faced in the areas of changes in mental service delivery (moving to a recovery oriented service), reduced resources, complex ethical considerations, and the ongoing debate about the nature of human distress and responses to it. The course is taught and facilitated by experienced practitioners, by people with self-experience and by carers/family members.

Entry requirements

There are 11 clinical pathways to the degree of Masters in Nursing, all of which have an exit route available for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing. The pathways to degree of Masters including Postgraduate Diploma exit route are all available to view in the College Calendar.


Applicants for this MSc in Nursing, including Postgraduate Diploma exit route, should normally:
1.Hold active registration on a division of the professional register maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland or be eligible for such registration as required for individual pathways. For the Recovery-Focused Mental Health Nursing Pathway, applicants must be Registered Psychiatric Nurses;

2.Have clinical practice experience (and support structures, if applicable) as required for individual pathways. For the Recovery-Focused Mental Health Nursing Pathway, applicants must have a minimum of six months of post-registration experience (excluding courses) and at least six months experience in the speciality pathway applied for;

3.Applicants must provide written evidence of support from their Director of Nursing/equivalent authorised Nurse Manager stating:

(a) The applicant will be working in the relevant specialist area for the duration of the programme for a minimum of 19.5 hours a week
(b) They will be released from practice to attend the programme requirements
(c) A Clinical Preceptor and/or Clinical Facilitator can support learning in the specialist area of practice for the duration of the programme.

Note: In exceptional circumstances applicants who do not fulfil the entry requirements may be recommended for entry to the programme following a review of their individual qualifications and experience by the programme committee. Such applicants may be invited for interview to satisfy the selection committee of their suitability for the programme. Admission of such applicants will be subject to the approval of the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

English Language Requirements
Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland
Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here.

International/non-EU applicants
For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Assessment Info

Methods of assessment are varied, including presentations, case studies, reflective assignments and assessment of competencies at clinical nurse specialist level. There are no written examinations.

Subjects taught

Pathway 5: Recovery-Focused Mental Health Nursing consists of:

Year 1: six modules (60 credits: 1 x 15 credits; 3 x 10 credits; 3 x 5 credits)

Year 2: two modules (1 x 10 credits and 1 x 20 credits).

Students can exit after year 1 with a Postgraduate Diploma.

Year 1 (60 credits)
Core modules:
NU6005 Research Methods (10 credits) NU6053 Ethics for Specialist Practice (5 credits)

Specialist modules:
NU6148 Clinical Practice in Specialist Mental Health Nursing I (5 credits)
NU6149 Clinical Practice in Specialist Mental Health Nursing II (5 credits)
NU6080 Practice Development in Specialist Mental Health Nursing (10 credits)
NU6081 Principles and Practice of Recovery (Working in Partnership with the Person) (15 credits)
NU6082 Principles and Practice of Recovery (Working in Partnership with Families) (5 credits)
NU6083 Critical Issues in Mental Health Care (5 credits)
Year 2 (30 credits)
Core modules:
MH6014 Advanced Research Methods for Healthcare Professionals (10 credits)
NU6073 Dissertation (20 credits)

For further information see our postgraduate calendar.

On completion of the course, you will be able to:
provide specialist psychiatric nursing care to people with mental health difficulties (and, where applicable, their carers) in a variety of settings

contribute to the development of innovative, effective and evidence-based services for people experiencing mental health difficulties

collaborate with service users, carers and members of the multi-disciplinary team in the planning, management and delivery of effective mental health care.

Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar
You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.


2 Years - PG Diploma (Year 1, Full-time); Masters (Year 2, Part-time).

Additional Teaching Mode Information
All students will be registered full time for a Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing in the first year. If a student wishes to progress to the masters they will be registered for the 2nd year part time. Part-time 2 years by day.

Contact hours for both years are part-time and are detailed in the Course Details section.

All postgraduate programmes contain some element of blended learning. This means that modules are delivered on campus with face-to-face contact with lectures (teaching and learning strategies include lectures, workshops, seminars and tutorials) in combination with some online content delivery using our virtual learning environment Blackboard (teaching and learning strategies include module study guides, discussion boards, audio/visual resources and online assessments/activities).

Prior to commencing the course each student taking a blended module will be provided with an orientation to Blackboard and training on how to use the online technology within the course. IT support will be given to students throughout the duration of the course.

Enrolment dates

Start Date Late August 2020

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
This course will give registered psychiatric nurses the knowledge and skills to work within the scope of practice of a clinical nurse specialist in all mental health service settings.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    PG Dip/MSc

  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type


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