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Graduate Diploma Childrens Cardiac Care

GradDip (NFQ Level 9)

This course is available through the following application route(s)

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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.


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.

About This Course

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.

  • 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.

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.

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

See Provisional 2024/2025 Timetable here.

Assessments are varied (assignments/ case presentation/practical examination/online discussion boards/student debate) and occur at intervals throughout and at the end of the trimesters. For part time students, 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.

Programme Strengths

  • 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

Below is a list of all modules offered for this degree in the current academic year. Click on the module to discover what you will learn in the module, how you will learn and assessment feedback profile amongst other information.

Incoming Stage 1 undergraduates can usually select an Elective in the Spring Trimester. Most continuing undergraduate students can select up to two Elective modules (10 Credits) per stage. There is also the possibility to take up to 10 extra Elective credits.

Module Type Module   Trimester Credits
Stage 1 Core Modules
NMHS43720 Adv Children's Crit Care 2 Trimester duration (Aut-Spr)  10
Stage 1 Core Modules
NMHS43270 ResMethodsAppliedtoHealthcare Autumn  10
Stage 1 Core Modules
NMHS44180 Fundamental Concepts in Children’s Cardiac Care Autumn  10
Stage 1 Core Modules
NMHS43140 Developing Leadership Competency Spring  10
Stage 1 Core Modules
NMHS44170 Specialist Considerations in Children’s Cardiac Care Spring  10
Stage 1 Core Modules
NMHS44240 Clin Practicum Cardiac Child Year-long (12 months)  10

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  • Hold a minimum of a BSc degree or equivalent in Nursing (Note: Applicants not holding a 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 hseland.ie and certification submitted.
  • Reference from Clinical Nurse Manager/ Clinical Nurse Education Facilitator.

Documents Required

  • 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)
  • Complete UCD Garda Vetting 
  • Evidence of completion of ‘Introduction to Children’s First’ online learning module www.hseland.ie 

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 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 12 months experience in Children’s Cardiac Nursing in consultation with the Clinical Course Coordinator. 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 CHI at 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.

General application route(s) for Irish/UK/EU applicants* for International (non-EU) applicants* to Graduate Diploma Childrens Cardiac Care:

ROWCLASS Apply to   Application Type  
showAudience-audienceEU showAudience-audienceInt XA16
Graduate Diploma Children's Cardiac Care
Graduate Diploma
Commencing 2024/2025 September
Graduate Taught Apply
showAudience-audienceEU showAudience-audienceInt X962
Graduate Diploma Children's Cardiac Care
Graduate Diploma
Commencing 2024/2025 September
Graduate Taught Apply
* you can change options at the top of the page