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Public Health Nursing

Graduate Diploma Public Health Nursing
The Graduate Diploma Public Health Nursing helps you to develop valuable knowledge and skills in the areas of primary healthcare and community nursing leading to registration on the Public Health Nursing Division of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland.

What will I learn?
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.

Programme structure
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, classes 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.

Entry requirements

•Must be registered as a general nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)
•Have a minimum of 3 years post registration experience as a registered general nurse within the past 7 years, working 39 hours per week* OR its equivalent within the last 7 years if working less hours
•*From 08/04/2009 to 30/06/2013 working 37.5 hours per week. (This is required to reflect the change in working hours of a full time RGN).
•Hold a level 8 qualification (NQAI) or apply through APEL
•Must be successful in gaining sponsorship as a student public health nurse from the Health Service Executive
•Must apply through the Post-graduate application centre


1 year full-time.

Careers or further progression

Careers/where can I go?
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.

Further enquiries

General Enquiries:
Ms. Lucia Suchorova
Executive Assistant
B105, UCD Health Sciences Centre
Tel: +353 1 716 6448

Academic Enquiries:
Ms Gillian Paul
Programme Coordinator
B 212, UCD Health Sciences Centre
Tel: +353 1 716 6406

Subjects taught

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)


Please note: Applications for this course are made through the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) and not through the UCD application system. Please click on the 'How to apply' tab below for details.

Who is the programme for?
This programme is designed for nurses who are interested in expanding their knowledge base in the domain of public health nursing. An applicant must be registered on the General Division of the Nursing Register as maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).

Application date

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

Queries on the status or outcome of your application should be directed to:

Health Service Executive (HSE)
Phone: +353-(0)1-8817054.

The PAC Registration/Login page can be viewed by clicking on this link:

Course fee

If you have any queries about your fees, please contact

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 2019

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

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!