Public Health Nursing

You will sharpen your analytical and critical thinking and develop knowledge and skills that will help you assume the role of a public health nurse.

Course objective
The programme is designed to expand students' knowledge, competencies and critical engagement in the care of multiple client groups in the community.

How will I benefit?
The programme will enhance your career prospects and give you the building blocks for lifelong self-directed learning. It will provide you with they key knowledge and skills in public health nursing.

Highly focused on enhancing clinical practice
The programme is focused on developing practical, usable skills in the multiple contexts of community nursing. Students will develop specific critical skills in the area of community nursing which will lead to the ability to engage with multiple client groups effectively and efficiently.

Innovative modules
Each of the modules in the programme is designed for experienced nurses and in combination provide a comprehensive learning experience and opportunities for acquiring new skills. The emphasis throughout the programme is on the practical application of knowledge and skills in the specific context of community.

The student body is drawn from a wide variety of clinical specialisms and organisations, enabling the sharing of learning and experience between you and your class members, as well as from the academic staff.

The public health nursing programme is a partnership with colleagues in the clinical areas (Local Health Authority). Together, students will engage in intra and inter-disciplinary collaboration which will facilitate a solid foundation for clinical practice as a public health nurse.

Vision & Values Statement
The purpose of the Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Public Health) (GDPHN) is to prepare the student to register as a public health nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland. A student in pursuance of the GDPHN will be prepared to promote health, wellbeing and dignity across the lifespan through skilled, ethical and careful practice based on the best evidence and professional judgement. This is achieved through the development of lifelong learning skills for the personal and professional development of knowledge, skills/competencies and attitudes over the duration of the programme, leading to level 9 award and professional registration as a public health nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland. The UCD GDPHN programme facilitates the learner to be active, reflexive, autonomous, and motivated through engagement in innovative teaching and learning activities throughout the duration of the student experience. The curriculum is student-focused, research-led and research informed, with a scholarly approach to programme design, aimed at inspiring a passion and excellence in the learner's discipline. This is realised through the formation of identity, resilience, integrity, leadership capability, commitment and curiosity for the provision of holistic, safe, ethical, compassionate evidence based public health nursing practice. The curriculum is developed with stakeholder involvement to ensure that it meets the current and future needs of learners, and a complex and evolving community healthcare system.

The Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Public Health) is designed with the learner and the service user at the centre. A wide variety of innovative pedagogical and technologies ensure that, teaching, learning and assessment approaches encourage the incremental development of learning . Teaching and learning takes place in multiple environments across the university and in a variety of community and hospital settings. A major strength of the programme is the partnership with our clinical public health nursing colleagues and allied health professional partners across the healthcare sector. Learning is designed to enhance students adaptive capacity to meet emerging personal, professional and health system needs. This commitment to curricular innovation ensures that there is alignment of programme learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities and assessment. In addition to enhancing the learner experience, programmes are delivered by experts in the fields of public health nursing, education and primary care. This ensures that learners experience a coherent, cumulative, research-based educational programme that meets all academic and professional regulations, standards and requirements.

Related Programmes
MSc Nursing (Public Health) PT

Subjects taught

This is a full-time graduate diploma level programme, which takes place over two academic semesters (September-June). Classes take place on Mondays in Semester 1 and the remaining time represents clinical placement in the public heath nursing area or the maternity site. In semester 2, clasess are scheduled according to the availability of clinical placements and schedules vary from year to year. Successful completion of the programme depends on passing all clinical and academic requirements.

The programme is broken down into two semesters (September to December and January to May). Clinical timetabling is dependent on whether the student needs to complete the Maternal and Infant module and clinical placement in the maternity site.

Students take the following modules:
Research Methods Applied to Healthcare
Maternal and Infant Health (for students who are not registered midwives with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)
Public Health Nursing: A Lifespan Approach
Public Health Nursing: Principles and Theory
Public Health Nursing: Issues in Clinical Practice
Public Health Nursing: Clinical Practice
Maternal and Infant Health: Clinical Practice (for students who are not registered midwives with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)

Stage 1 - Core
Maternal & Infant Health Th&PR NMHS32930
Public Health Nursing: Principles and Theory NMHS40700
Public Health Nursing: Issues in Clinical Practice NMHS42440
Public Health Nursing: A Lifespan Approach NMHS42680
Public Health Nursing: Clinical Practicum NMHS42920
ResMethodsAppliedtoHealthcare NMHS43270

Entry requirements

Be registered in the General Nursing Division of the Register of Nurses maintained by the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) or entitled to be so registered AND have a minimum of 3 years post registration general nursing experience.


Be registered in the General Nursing Division and another Division of the Register, including Registered Midwife (RM), Registered Children's Nurse (RCN), Registered Nurse Intellectual Disability (RNID) or Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) Divisions of the Register of Nurses and Midwives maintained by the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) or entitled to be so registered; AND have a minimum of 18 months post registration general nursing experience as an RGN, and 18 months post registration experience as an RM or RCN or RNID or RPN.


Meet the academic criteria set by the relevant Higher Education Institute (HEI); Applicants whose first language or primary language of expression is not English must provide evidence that their English language ability meets the required standard for admission. The minimum required score is 7.0 on the IELTS assessment test.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
RPL may be granted in respect of individual modules if applicants can demonstrate that the modules' learning outcomes have been achieved through prior credentialled or experiential learning. In some cases, where an applicant does not meet the prerequisites for entry to a programme, an RPL application may be considered.

Application dates

How to apply
The following entry routes are available:
Grad Dip Nursing (Public Health Nursing) FT (X035)
1 Years
Full Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised.

Note: Applications for this course are made through the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) and not through the UCD application system.

The campaign will be advertised on


Candidates must apply for sponsorship on-line through


1 year full-time.

Post Course Info

Careers & Employability
Following successful completion of the programme, students may register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) as RPHN and practice as public health nurses. You may wish to extend your learning and complete a Master's degree.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

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