Graduate Diploma in Childrens Cardiac Nursing

Our Graduate Diploma Children’s Cardiac Nursing will build on your existing knowledge and skills in caring for children with a cardiac condition and their families, supporting you to practice at specialist level.

The Graduate Taught Orientation will take place online on Monday 5th September 2022. The schedule and links will be available in the coming weeks.


Who is the programme for

This programme is designed to meet the professional development needs of Registered Nurses who wish to specialise in Children’s Cardiac Nursing. 

Applicants should be registered as an RCN, RCN/RGN with a minimum of one year’s experience in Children’s Cardiac Nursing. Applicants registered as an RGN with a minimum of 2 years’ experience in Children’s Nursing may be considered for registration to the programme.

Applicants should be employed in either cardiac services in Children’s Health Ireland at Our Lady's Childrens Hospital Crumlin, or Clark Clinic in The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

Outside of these centres applicants may be working in a specialist role caring for children with a heart condition.

Places are allocated on the programme subject to successful interview, and availability of places.

Programme Objectives

The Graduate Diploma in Children’s Cardiac Nursing programme aims to build upon and advance the registered nurse’s repertoire of knowledge, skills, attitudes and professional values, in order to prepare the nurse to assume the role of a nurse specialist in this area of care. The programme aims to develop the practitioner’s capacities for caring and competent practice in children’s cardiac nursing, in order to prepare the nurse to provide a child and family centred service within the health service.

The Specific Aims of the Programme

Advance nursing knowledge, skills, attitudes and values in the area of children’s cardiology including the voice of children, parents/ guardians and carers through deep understanding, and collaborative practice and an appreciation of the public/patient engagement processes.


Synthesise and integrate knowledge from a broad range of interprofessional disciplines in response to complex health related problems in Children’s Cardiac Nursing.


Acquire advanced knowledge of motivational theory, managing conflict and  performance improvement systems and ability to utilise this knowledge and understanding in a leadership and management role.


Engage in systematic and comprehensive assessment processes, based on the integration of theory, evidence, research and interprofessional perspectives as a foundation for advanced reasoning/ or decision making.


Advocate for and communicate the needs of infants, children, young people, their parents/guardians and fellow nurses within the context of Children’s Cardiac Nursing and evidence-based practice.

Appreciation of team building and the ability to lead diverse teams to improve outcomes through an understanding of organisational change and how to implement change successfully.


Promote personal and professional growth in a children’s nursing role, through life-long learning and continuous professional development.

Contribute to children’s nursing knowledge through systematic inquiry, knowledge development, translation and scholarship.

How will I benefit

On successful completion of the programme, you will receive a 60 credit level 9 Graduate Diploma in Children’s Cardiac Nursing from the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems. The programme is recognised Nationally and Internationally.

Programme Strengths
  • Students on this programme will undertake clinical placements in CHI at Crumlin and Clark Clinic at RBHSC. The placement locations will allow you to experience the care of a wide spectrum of presenting cardiac conditions including congenital heart disease, acquired cardiac defects in settings including the cardiac catheterisation laboratory, the hybrid lab, cardiac MRI and Cardiac theatre.
  • Lectures are both clinical and university-based and are delivered by a wide range of specialists. These include Specialist Nurses, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, Cardiologists and Cardiothoracic Surgeons, Pharmacists, Radiologists, Dieticians, Physiotherapists and Psychologists.
  • There is a strong emphasis on continuous progression of clinical ability and clinical effectiveness through continuous assessment, clinical examinations, and case presentations
  • The delivery of specialist modules on care of the child with a cardiac condition.
  • Flexible pathway – recognition of prior learning where applicable
  • Extensive use of IT in supporting the teaching environment of the programme
  • Access to student support services including a dedicated student advisor, librarian and access to the UCD Writing Centre
Teaching Methods

A wide range of teaching methods are used, which includes large and small group lectures, seminars and tutorials. Clinical teaching is undertaken by specialists in the clinical area who work with the students to assist them in applying theory to practice. The UCD Virtual Learning platform ‘Brightspace’ supports online teaching and learning, facilitating synchronous and asynchronous online content delivery. Clinical placements provide students with excellent opportunities to learn from experts in other hospitals and/or within their own hospitals; students attend multi-disciplinary team meetings and engage in supervised practice.


Information technology
It is essential that you have access to a personal computer and reliable WiFi. Communication with students is primarily by UCD email account and announcements posted on Brightspace. Lecture recordings are made available to students. Assessments are submitted online via Brightspace, and grading and feedback is uploaded for students to access promptly.  

Programme Structure

This programme will commence in Sept 2021 as a 2 year part-time programme.

Assessments are varied (assignments/ case presentation/practical examination/online discussion boards/student debate) and occur at intervals throughout and at the end of the semesters. During the first year students will attend college online for a short period one day per week. During year 2, learning experiences are undertaken in planned blocks of study, at the hospital site.

You will complete six modules in total, to include two core modules taken in year 1, and four specialist modules taken in year 2.

Core Modules:
Semester 1 NMHS42230  - Leadership and Organisational Dynamics 

Semester 2 NMHS43270  - Research Methods Applied to Healthcare

Specialist Modules:

Semester 1  -  NMHS44180 Fundamental Concepts of Children's Cardiac Nursing

Semester 2 - NMHS43720 Advanced Children's Critical Care

Semester 2 -  NMHS44170 Specialist Considerations in Children's Cardiac Nursing

Semester 1 and Sem 2 - NMHS42460  Clinical Practicum: Paediatric Critical Care Nursing


Careers/Where can I go

The Graduate Diploma in Children’s Cardiac Critical Care Nursing (Children) provides you with the comprehensive knowledge and extensive skills required for caring for children with cardiac defects and their families, equipping you to work in this specialist area Nationally or Internationally. Academically there are opportunities to continue to Masters / PhD level, and clinically you may choose to further your expertise to pursue a role in clinical education, or a position as a Clinical Nurse Manager or Clinical Nurse Specialist or indeed to pursue a role in Advanced Nursing Practice.


Application Requirements
  • Hold a minimum of a BSc degree or equivalent in Nursing

(Note: Applicants not holding an bachelor’s degree may apply for Recognition of Prior Learning)

  • Given the cross-border nature of the programme; Nurses must be registered with the NMBI.
  • PSNI as well as Garda clearance will be required. Clinical placements in both Belfast and CHI at Crumlin are programme requisites.
  • Must be currently employed in a Children’s Cardiology setting, in a 0.5 FTE capacity at a minimum, and provide written evidence that they will be supported in completing the minimum required hours of practice, including throughout the clinical practicum.
  • RGN without RCN qualification will have a minimum of 2 years’ experience working in Children’s Cardiology.
  • RCNs with relevant prior experience must have a minimum of 18 months working in Children’s Cardiology.
  • Completion of ‘Introduction to Children First’ E-learning module on and certification submitted.
  • Reference from Clinical Nurse Manager/ Clinical Nurse Education Facilitator.
Documents to be submitted with Application
  • Original transcript(s) including date and grading of degree award (non UCD Graduates only) & notarised English translations where relevant
  • Nurse applicants: A current photocopy of NMBI registration
  • Copy of Birth Certificate or Personal Page of Passport
  • Signed Declaration Form from Employer (original form)
  • Completed Professional Reference Form (original form)
  • Completed Clinical Competence Assessor Nomination Form signed by the nominee
  • Evidence of proficiency in English language (applicants whose first language is not English)
  • Certification of Garda/PSNI clearance as applicable.
  • Evidence of completion of ‘Introduction to Children’s First’ online learning module

How to

How to Apply

The programme code is X962, the part-time, 2 year is being offered in Sept 2021.

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.

Please note that all applicants are required to pay a €50 application fee. Your application cannot be processed fully unless the application fee has been paid.

Apply online


The fees for your programme can be found at the links below. Search using your major code (the four-digit code beginning with 'X' which can be found in the key information box on this page).

· EU fees information

· Non-EU fees information

Please note that UCD fees are subject to change annually. The fees shown include the student centre levy which must be paid by all students. 


If the fees for your programme are being paid by a third party (full or partial), please ensure your funding organisation/sponsor/hospital contacts Please note this is not a student facing email address.

Student Queries:

If you have any queries about your fees, please contact the Student Desk:

Application Fee:

Please note that all applicants are required to pay the €50 application fee. Your application cannot be processed fully unless the application fee has been paid.

More information about fees is available on the UCD website at the link below:

General information about UCD Fees

Recognised Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) applications must be submitted online through your SISWeb account.

There are two instances in which you can apply to have recognised prior learning taken into account when applying for a programme in UCD.

1. RPL for admission to a UCD programme

If you are a prospective student seeking admission to UCD and you do not meet the required admissions criteria as set down for a particular programme of study in UCD, you may apply to be admitted based on prior learning.

2. RPL for exemption from a module or modules on a UCD programme

If you have been accepted onto a UCD programme and wish to have credit transferred towards the requirements of the UCD programme of study, you may apply for RPL from a module or modules.

When applying for RPL, please note the following:

  • You must submit your application for RPL as early as possible and preferably before you commence the relevant module/stage/programme.
  • An application for RPL relating to a particular module should be submitted before the third week of the trimester in which it is offered. Applications made after this date will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances.
  • Your application will be reviewed by the Taught Graduate Standing Committee and Programme Board. You can expect to hear of the outcome or status of your application typically within four to six weeks of submitting it (depending on committee schedules).
  • Please note that in some cases your application may not be successful or you may not receive RPL for the amount of credit for which you applied, therefore you must register for, attend and participate in the module or modules until you have been informed of the decision of the School Programme Board.
  • If your application is not successful, you are responsible for all assessments associated with the module.


Please read the UCD Policy on Recognition of Prior Learning at this link: UCD Policy on Recognition of Prior Learning