Higher Diploma in Nursing (Children's Nursing)

The Higher Diploma in Nursing (Children’s Nursing) programme is offered in partnership with The School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin 12. This children’s nursing post-registration education programme extends over 52 weeks and awards academic accreditation at Level 8 National Qualification Authority Ireland framework.

Who is the programme for?

The Higher Diploma in Nursing (Children’s Nursing) programme is offered in partnership with The School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. This children’s nursing post-registration education programme extends over 52 weeks and awards academic accreditation at Level 8 National Qualification Authority Ireland framework.

Programme aims

The aim of this programme is to educate the post registered nurse for the award of Higher Diploma in Nursing (Children’s Nursing). On successful completion of this programme nurses are eligible to register as a Children’s Nurse with Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland. The focus of Children’s nursing is caring for the child within a child and family-centered careapproach taking into account their physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual needs. This involves the care of children from newborn to age 18 years.

What will I learn?

The Higher Diploma in Nursing (Children’s Nursing) programme aims to educate and prepare nursing students to be knowledgeable and competent professional practitioners - capable of acting independently while providing nursing care for children and their families. Clinical placements are designed to facilitate the learning of essential clinical skills and provide the nursing student with opportunities to develop her knowledge and gain experience in the care of children that is child centred and family focused.

How will I benefit? 
On successful completion of the programme, nursing students will be awarded a Higher Diploma in Nursing (Children’s Nursing) from the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems. This is a highly regarded qualification in Children’s Nursing and increases the employment prospects of nurses who hold this qualification.

Programme Strengths

  • Particular strengths of the programme include:
  • Strong working relationship between UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems and the clinical partner in Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), at Crumlin;
  • A long history of producing high quality graduates many of whom are now working in CNS/Clinical/Educational Facilitator and CNM roles
  • Clinical and university-based lecturers (specialist nursing with national and international expertise from clinical, research and educational perspectives)
  • Clinical placements in a variety of settings which enable nursing students to learn from leading experts in children’s nursing
  • Extensive use of IT in supporting teaching, learning and assessment on the programme
Programme Outcomes

At end of the Higher Diploma in Nursing (Children’s Nursing) programme students will:

  • Apply professional, disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge, skills and competencies and attitudes to deliver safe, high quality, and compassionate practice using the nursing process across the lifespan in diverse health care settings.
  • Employ critical, creative, reflective, independent thinking and problem solving to ensure clinical decision making and care is safe, effective, evidence based and child centred and family focused/person centred.
  • Be independent learners who value lifelong learning and will engage in continuing professional development throughout their career thus enabling them to be adaptive to the dynamically altering environment within society and health system environment
  • Critically analyse, evaluate and apply research findings in order to advance nursing/midwifery practice and health care delivery.
  • Communicate with relevant stakeholders in a manner that is respectful, effective and professional. This skilled communication is distinguished by timely, just and comprehensive engagement.
  • Collaborate effectively in partnership with service users, their families, the public, peers and other members of the interdisciplinary team in a competent,
  • compassionate and professional manner that respects autonomy, dignity and privacy.
  • Lead and effect change in their practice area, promoting innovation by managing and delivering evidence based care. The extent of their learning and how it impacts on healthcare delivery and outcomes is reflected upon and systematically evaluated.
  • Demonstrates professional behaviour and a critical awareness of the parameters for professional nursing practice within the relevant ethical, legal and regulatory frameworks.
  • Use technology effectively to facilitate adaptation to a dynamic societal and health systems environment.
  • Engage in the development of the profession to act as an advocate and demonstrate a social conscience and social responsibility.
Programme structure

This programme enables nursing students gain a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge in caring for sick children. Emphasis is placed on supporting families to care for their children through a child centred and family focused approach to nursing care.

Programme structure 
This one year programme is run over 3 trimesters. It comprises seven theoretical modules and six clinical placement modules incorporating specialist clinical modules.
In the Autumn Trimester, students commence the Higher Diploma in Nursing (Children’s  Nursing) programme in UCD undertaking the first four theoretical modules in a 7 week block of full time study.

The four theoretical modules cover a range of subjects on:      

Principles and Practices in Children’s NursingNursing Children in the Acute setting (HDip)Nursing Children with Enduring Healthcare NeedsNursing Children with Diverse Needs

This is followed by two clinical placements in Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), at Crumlin. In the Spring Trimester, students undertake a second 4 week block of full time study in UCD focusing on the second three theoretical modules of                                                                                     


  • Growth and Development in Childhood
  • Evidence Based Care of Children Across Range Settings (HDip)
  • Community Care and Services for Children (H Dip)                                             

In the Spring and Summer Trimesters, students complete the remainder of their clinical placements in addition to a number of specialist clinical placements. A range of assessment strategies are in place to assess knowledge of the six theoretical modules. These assessments include continuous and end of trimester assessments including written examinations. In addition addition, all clinical placements are assessed and a pass grade is required to successfully complete the programme..

Careers/where can I go?

Our graduates have opportunities to work with children and their families in the clinical and community settings both in Ireland and abroad. In addition, nurses with this diploma can avail of further study in a number of paediatric specialist areas such as Oncology, ICU, Neonatal care etc.

Entry requirements

This programme is advertised in the National Newspapers as well as www.irishjobs.ie in January/February each year. Interested applicants should apply to the Director of Nursing, Children’s Health Ireland, (CHI) for an application form. Interviews are usually held in March/April in Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), Herberton, St James’s Walk, Rialto, Dublin 8 or another designated venue.

All applicants must:
• Hold a primary degree in Nursing or equivalent.
• Be currently registered as an RGN, RNID or RPN with the NMBI.
• Have at least six month’s post registered clinical nursing experience.
• Be successful in the hospital interviewing process.

 Applicants should have undertaken a level 8 research module as either a standalone research module or as part of an undergraduate degree nursing programme or as part of access to a degree programme


Post-registered nursing students are paid employees of Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), at Crumlin, and receive a salary plus increments. Fees are paid by the HSE for students undertaking this programme. Fees will be organised by the hospital when enrolment is complete. It is important to note, however, that the HSE will request repayment of fees, in the event that a student withdraws from the programme. Application is on line with an accompanying administration fee.

There is a nominal sum charged for the provision of UCD workbooks and National Clinical Assessment Documentation. Students are advised to make allowance for the cost of books, photocopying and traveling expenses. The Programme Administrator will initiate the Registration procedure.

If English is not your native language, unless you have completed your primary degree through English in an English speaking country, an English language qualification is required for all programmes.

How to apply

Applications should now be made through Children's Health Ireland (CHI) by clicking on the following link


Following acceptance of an offer of a place by Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), at Crumlin, successful candidates should contact the programme administrator in UCD and go online to apply.


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).

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 you are being funded to do your programme, please make sure your organisation gets in contact with student.payments@ucd.ie. 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:

If you have any queries about your fees, please contact student.payments@ucd.ie

Programme Outline 2020-2021 and Brochure

Click here to access the 2020-2021 Higher Diploma Nursing (Childrens Nursing) Brochure


Click here to access the programme outline.