Graduate Diploma Critical Care Nursing (Children)

A Graduate Diploma Critical Care Nursing (Children) will build on your existing knowledge and skills in caring for infants, children and young people within the paediatric intensive care setting. Possessing this advanced knowledge will enable you to utilise a range of therapeutic interventions, and enhance your ability to review differing approaches and trends in the care and treatment of infants, children and young people in paediatric critical care nursing.

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 Paediatric Critical Care Nursing.  Specifically applicants should be registered as an RCN, RCN/RGN with a minimum of one year’s experience in Paediatric Intensive Care. Applicants registered as an RGN with a minimum of 2 years experience in Paediatric Nursing may be considered for the programme. Places are allocated on the programme subject to availability and place on waiting list.

Programme objectives

The Graduate Diploma Critical Care Nursing (Children) 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 paediatric intensive care nursing, in order to prepare the nurse to provide a patient-centred service within health care.

The specific aims of the programme
  • To build upon and advance the student’s repertoire of knowledge, skills, attitudes and professional values that were developed during the course of his/her basic training and arising out of his/her experiences in clinical practice
  • To provide the student with the requisite knowledge, skills, attitudes and professional values for the advancement of his/her role in the care of children and their families in critical care, including critical analysis, creative thinking, decision making and communication
  • To develop a greater understanding of the theory which underpins critical care nursing practice including nursing theory, theory in the social and behavioural sciences and theory in the biomedical sciences
  • To provide learning experiences that advance the student’s professional development and personal growth and experiences that affirm the student’s capacity to be a self-directed learner
  • To advance the student’s sense of professional awareness, and commitment and a sense of professional responsibility and accountability in paediatric critical care nursing
  • To enable the student to value learning as a continuous process and as a necessary process in the context of his/her professional role in paediatric critical care nursing
How will I benefit?

On successful completion of the programme, you will receive a Graduate Diploma in Critical Care Nursing (Children) from the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems. The programme is recognised nationally and internationally.

What will I learn?
The curriculum is designed to enhance your knowledge and skills with respect to the holistic assessment and management of the child and their family.

Programme strengths
  • Students will undertake placements in clinical sites in the PICU in either the Children’s University Hospital Temple Street, or Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, you will rotate on occasion between both hospitals to experience nursing care of a wide spectrum of specialities which includes care of neonates, care of the child with a thermal injury, cardiac care, care of child post renal transplantation, care of the child with a neurological disorder
  • Lectures are both clinical and university-based and are delivered by a wide range of specialists. These include specialist nurses, intensivists, university lecturers, radiologists, dieticians, physiotherapists, and members of pastoral care
  • There is a strong emphasis on continuous progression of clinical ability and clinical effectiveness through continuous assessment, clinical examinations, and case presentations
  • Flexible pathway – may be undertaken over 1 or 2 years
  • Extensive use of IT in supporting the teaching environment of the programme
  • Access to excellent facilities for lectures
Teaching methods

Teaching methods
A wide range of teaching methods is used, which includes large group and small group lecturing, 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. 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 tutorials, and engage in supervised practice.

Information technology
It is essential that you have access to a personal computer and an email account as communication with students is primarily undertaken by email. Lecture handouts/announcements are made available to students via Brightspace (a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that supports online learning and teaching) and/or via email. Messages from the university regarding examination policy and procedures are also sent via email. The Graduate Diploma in Critical Care Nursing (Children) enhances the development of the students’ critical thinking skills, and enhances their ability to review therapeutic care delivery and care trends in PICU.

Programme structure

Programme Structure
The course may be taken over 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time. Assessments are varied (assignments/short examination questions/MCQ/case presentation/practical examination/online discussion boards) and occur at intervals throughout and at the end of the semesters. Students will attend college on one day per week and learning experiences are also undertaken in planned block weeks of study, at local hospital sites.

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

Core Modules:
Sem 1 NMHS42230  - Leadership and Organisational Dynamics 

Sem 2 NMHS43270  - Research Methods Applied to Healthcare

Specialist Modules:

Sem 1 NMHS43700 Fundamental Concepts Children's Critical Care

Sem 2 NMHS43720 Advanced Children's Critical Care

Sem 2 NMHS43730 Specialist Considerations in Children's Critical Care

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

Careers/where can I go?

Careers/Where Can I Go?
The Graduate Diploma in Critical Care Nursing (Children) provides you with the comprehensive knowledge and extensive skills required for caring for infants and children in the critical care setting, thereby equipping you to work nationally or internationally. Academically there are opportunities to continue to Masters / PhD level, and clinically you may choose to further your expertise to facilitate critical care education, to take a position as a Clinical Nurse Manager or Clinical Nurse Specialist or to study for the role of Advanced Nurse Practitioner.

Application requirements
  • Applicants should be registered as an RCN, RCN/RGN with a minimum of one year's experience in Paediatric Intensive Care
  • Applicants registered as an RGN with a minimum of two years experience in Paediatric Intensive Care may be considered for the programme
Documents to be submitted with your 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)
  • 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)
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.

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

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