GradDip Critical Care - Cardiovascular

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 60)

The programme is designed to expand the knowledge, skills and attitudes of nurses engaged in the care of people within the critical care environment. The associated complications and special needs are explored in detail. Students are encouraged to apply their theoretical knowledge in the clinical setting. Therefore, the role of the nurse as educator, innovator, researcher, advocate and clinician will be enhanced to meet the multiple and complex needs of the person with critical illness and its complications. Critical care nursing requires an advanced knowledge base, skilled assessment, prompt intervention and ongoing evaluation.  The critical care nurse maintains the balance between the science of nursing and the art of caring. The Graduate Diploma Critical Care Nursing: Cardiovascular will provide the nurse with an opportunity to develop, enhance and maintain these specialist skills that are required to care for the critically ill.

This Graduate Diploma in Nursing Studies Programme will enhance your career prospects and give you the building blocks for lifelong self-directed learning.  It will provide you with the key knowledge and skills to innovate and lead in your area of practice in Critical Care Cardiovascular Nursing.

Highly focused on enhancing clinical practice
The programme is focused on developing practical, usable cardiovascular critical care nursing skill to enable graduates to be even more effective clinicians, change agents and clinical leaders in the Critical Care Cardiovascular workplace.

Innovative modules
Each of the modules in the programme is designed for experienced nurses and midwives and in combination, provides 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 cardiovascular critical care contexts. By incorporating clinical based scenarios and simulation, the specialty modules within this programme demonstrate the collaborative care provided to cardiovascular patients while also enhancing the nurse’s ability to think critically.

The student body is drawn from a number of the organizations, enabling the sharing of learning and experience between you and your class members, as well as from the academic and clinical staff.

Additional features
The programme partners for this Graduate Diploma, St. Vincent’s University Hospital Group and the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, are critical care centers of excellence.  The Programme employs a variety of innovative assessment strategies with a strong clinical focus.

Careers & Employability

The key knowledge and skills gained on this Programme should enable you to innovate and lead in the area of practice in Critical Care Cardiovascular Nursing.

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

This programme is for nurses who have a primary degree (or equivalent) in nursing or a related discipline with at least one year’s post registration experience, and who are engaged in cardiovascular nursing. Candidates who undertake the cardiovascular pathway must be employed in a Coronary Care Unit (CCU)/Catheterisation Laboratory/Cardiac Ward or Combined Unit at the commencement of and for the duration of the programme.  Ideally the Critical Care Nursing-Cardiovascular Pathway is for those nurses with cardiology experience.

The purpose of the Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Critical Care: Cardiovascular) is to build upon and advance the repertoire of knowledge, skills, attitudes and professional values of registered nurses who work in a specialised cardiovascular nursing setting, and to prepare these nurses as leaders in their field.  The programme is designed to prepare students to promote and optimise cardiovascular health, wellbeing and dignity, to prevent and alleviate suffering and ill-health; and to provide comfort. They do so through skilled, ethical, safe and careful practice based on best evidence, critical thinking and professional judgement.  This, we believe, is achieved through the development of lifelong learning skills for the personal and professional development of knowledge, skills, competencies, and attitudes over the duration of the programme.   This programme. which leads to a level nine (UCD level four) award..facilitates the learner to be active, reflexive, autonomous, and motivated through engaging in innovative teaching and learning activities throughout the duration of the student experience. This graduate programme fosters a questioning approach to both knowledge development and professional issues pertinent to contemporary practice in cardiovascular nursing.    The curriculum is student-focused, research-led and research informed. It has a scholarly approach to programme design aimed at inspiring passion and excellence in cardiovascular nursing by fostering identity, integrity, curiosity and a commitment to the provision of holistic, safe, ethical, and compassionate evidence based nursing care. The curriculum was developed with stakeholder involvement to ensure it meets the needs of learners who engage in practice in a complex and evolving healthcare system.  The Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Critical Care: Cardiovascular) programme is person centred and student focused.  Learning is facilitated by the use of a variety of pedagogical approaches to teaching, learning and assessment, which aim to enhance the student experience by encouraging incremental development of learning. Learning takes place in a variety of environments across the university, nurse education centres and clinical practice settings. The partnership with our clinical partners in programme design and delivery is a major strength. This commitment to curricular innovation ensures that there is alignment of programme learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities, and assessment, in addition to enhancing the learner experience. This programme is delivered by experts in the fields of education and clinical practice, ensuring that learners experience a coherent, cumulative, research-based educational programme that meets contemporary academic, clinical and professional regulations, standards and requirements

  • Develop a greater understanding of the principles which underpin the various aspects of critical care nursing particularly in relation to cardiovascular care
  • Augment students' knowledge and appreciation of nursing theory and biopsychosocial sciences which underpin critical care nursing practice in a cardiovascular care setting
  • Provide students with an opportunity for personal growth and professional development
  • Develop skills to enhance their professional practice, including critical analysis, creative thinking, decision making and communication

View All Modules Here

The Graduate Diploma Critical Care Nursing: Cardiovascular consists of a total of 6 modules of study as follows:

Core modules
NMHS43260 Nursing Knowledge: Phil & Prac (Autumn Trimester, 10 ECTS)
NMHS43270 ResMethodsAppliedtoHealthcare (Spring Trimester, 10 ECTS)

Specialist modules
NMHS42500 Nursing: Cardiovascular Dx (Autumn Trimester, 10 ECTS)
NMHS42760 CardiacRehab&HeartFailureNurs (Spring Trimester, 10 ECTS)
NMHS42510 Clinical Practicum (CV) (Year Long module, 10 ECTS)
NMHS42750 Nursing: AlteredCardiacFunct (Year Long module, 10 ECTS)

The two core modules are common to all Graduate Diplomas in Nursing Studies. In the three specialist modules and the one clinical Module of the Graduate Diploma in Nursing Studies (Critical Care) Cardiovascular Pathway you will learn the following:

Cardiovascular Disease
The module aims to focus on the role of the critical care nurse in relation to the person with cardiovascular disease and to determine the characteristics and severity of the major symptoms of the acutely ill person with ischaemic heart disease in the coronary care unit.

Altered Cardiac Function
This module aims to expand the student's understanding, knowledge and practice of care for persons during cardiac investigations, rhythm disturbances and treatments including cardiac pacemakers and ICD. It also aims to examine holistic management of persons with altered fluid and electrolyte management.  The student will develop competence in cardiovascular and respiratory assessment, haemodynamic monitoring, arrhythmia interpretation of laboratory values and in his/her role as patient educator.

Cardiac Rehabilitation & Heart Failure
This module focuses on Heart Failure and its impact on the person’s life.  Rehabilitation for persons with cardiovascular disease will also be incorporated within this module.  The module aims to create awareness for the student of the importance of cardiac rehabilitation and promoting optimum quality of life for persons with cardiovascular disease, heart failure and their families.

Clinical Practicum (CV) Module
The clinical learning outcomes of this module have been designed to reflect the skills and knowledge necessary for competent cardiovascular nursing practice. Each specialist module has distinct learning outcomes, which will facilitate the student to consolidate the theory of cardiovascular nursing practice.

GradDip Critical Care - Cardiovascular (X552) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 10150
nonEU    fee per year - € 19400

GradDip Critical Care - Cardiovascular (X744) Part Time
EU          Year 1 - € 5240
nonEU    Year 1 - € 9850
EU          Year 2 - € 5060 aa
nonEU    Year 2 - € 9540 aa

aaSecond Year Fee applies to Students in 2nd Year in 2024 and who were a 1st Year Student on the programme in 2023/24
***Fees are subject to change


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 €60 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:


  • All applicants must hold a primary degree in Nursing and be working in a coronary care setting for the duration of the course. RPL applications are considered for this programme.

  • All applicants must be entered onto the appropriate division of the Nurses Register maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) (be registered as an RGN).

  • All applicants must have at least one year’s post-registration experience at time of application

  • All applicants must be employed in coronary care nursing for the duration of the programme and work a minimum of 75 hours per month

  • In addition, each student must provide documented evidence from the Director of Nursing in the clinical practice area, which guarantees a coronary care nursing placement for the duration of the programme

Documents Required

  • Academic 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
  • Other health care professionals: A current photocopy of registration with professional registration body
  • 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)


Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

RPL may be granted in respect of individual modules if applicants can demonstrate that the modules' learning outcomes have been achieved through prior credentialled or experiential learning. In some cases, where an applicant does not meet the prerequisites for entry to a programme, an RPL application may be considered. Further information can be found in respect of this here.


The following entry routes are available:

Grad Dip Nursing (Critical Care - Cardiovascular) FT (X552)
1 Years
Full Time
Grad Dip Nursing (Critical Care - Cardiovascular) PT (X744)
2 Years
Part Time