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Palliative Care

The Graduate Diploma Palliative Care is an interdisciplinary programme designed to enhance your existing knowledge and skills in caring for patients with life limiting illness. Possessing this enhanced level of expertise will enable you to become a valuable member of the multidisciplinary team providing palliative care and further enhance the care provided to patients in your current area of practice who have a range of complex symptoms that need impeccable assessment and management.

Programme aims
The Graduate Diploma Palliative Care aims to build upon and advance the repertoire of knowledge, skills, attitudes and professional values, in order to promote competence and confidence in the practitioner’s work. The course aims to prepare individuals to enhance the care provided to patients and their families facing physical, psychosocial and spiritual problems associated with life limiting illness.

What will I learn?
The Graduate Diploma Palliative Care is aimed at advancing the health professionals' repertoire of knowledge and skills for palliative care practice of people who have life limiting illness within a variety of care settings and contexts.

On successful completion of the programme, you will receive a Graduate Diploma Palliative Care from the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems. The programme is recognised nationally (since its inception in 1997) and is a highly regarded qualification for health care professionals caring for patients with life limiting illness who require palliative care.

Programme structure
This is a one (academic) year programme, broken down into two semesters or a two (academic) year programme, broken down into four semesters . Assessments are varied (assignments/ MCQ/case studies) and occur at intervals throughout and at the end of the semesters.

Entry requirements

General requirements:
• Applicants must have a primary degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline
• Nurse applicants must be registered on the live register maintained by An Bord Altranais
• Other health care professionals must be registered with a recognised professional body

Specific requirements:
• All applicants must have a minimum of two year’s post-registration experience
• Applicants must have exposure to either Level 2 or Level 3 Palliative Care, as indicated in the Report of the National Advisory Committee on Palliative Care (2001), for the duration of the course for a minimum of 75 hours per month
• Non-clinicians need to demonstrate the application of their discipline to palliative care practice
• IT Skills are essential
• Evidence of recent study is desirable


• Academic Transcripts including date and grading of Degree award (non UCD only)
• Current photocopy of NMBI registration and pin
• Copy of Birth Certificate or Personal Pages of Passport (non UCD only)
• Professional Reference Form
• Nurse applicants: Completed Clinical Competence Assessor Nomination Form signed by the nominee
• Evidence of proficiency in English language (applicants whose first language is not English)


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time.

Careers or further progression

Careers/where can I go?
The Graduate Diploma Palliative Care will provide you with the comprehensive knowledge and skills required for caring for patients with life limiting illness who require palliative care. Possessing a broad and deep understanding of the theory and skills required for Palliative Care, you will be well positioned to work in a variety of care settings both nationally and internationally. Many graduates have assumed varying roles in the palliative care services CNM/Educational/Clinical Facilitator roles.

Further enquiries

General Enquiries:
Nicola Berry
Senior Executive Assistant
B105, UCD Health Sciences Centre
Tel: +353 1 716 6409

Academic Enquiries:
Dr Michael Connolly
B322, UCD Health Sciences Centre
Tel: +353 1 716 6404

Subjects taught

Core Modules
• NMHS42230 Leadership and Organisational Dynamics
• NMHS43270 Research Methods Applied to Healthcare

Specialist Modules
• NMHS42370 Palliative Care Philosophy Concepts and Debates (Semester 1)
• NMHS42540 Palliative Approaches to Symptom Management (Semester 2)
• NMHS42820 Psychosocial, Spiritual and Therapeutic Issues in Palliative Care (Semester 2)
• NMHS42350 Clinical Practicum (Semester 1&2)


Who is the programme for?
This programme is aimed at advancing the health care professionals' repertoire of knowledge and skills for professional practice in the care of persons with life limiting illness.

Teaching methods
The programme is offered using a Blended Learning Approach utilising a range of teaching methods including lectures, workshops and seminars are used.

Learning is facilitated by a multidisciplinary teaching team with particular emphasis on assisting students in applying theory to practice. Clinical Placements provide students with excellent opportunities to learn from experts in differing palliative care settings.

Application date

How to apply
Applications are made online through UCD Applications. ​Applicants may be required to undertake an interview (either face-to-face or via telecommunication) as part of the admission process.

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: September 2017.

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

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