Skip to navigation Skip to content

Course search

Specialist Nursing (with pathways)
PgDip

2019/20 Full-time Postgraduate course

Award:

Postgraduate Diploma

Faculty:

Faculty of Life and Health Sciences

School:

School of Nursing

Campus:

Jordanstown campus

Start date:

September 2019

Overview

The Post Graduate Diploma Specialist Nursing (with pathways) prepares Nurses for Leadership roles in Specialist Nursing.

Summary

The Post Graduate Diploma Specialist Nursing (with pathways) is aimed at preparing Nurses for Leadership roles in a field of Nursing of their choice. There are a range of Pathways to suit all Nurses including District Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, Learning Disability Nursing, and Community Children’s Nursing. The full range of Adult Nursing Specialisms include, Palliative Care, Stroke Care, Diabetes Care and Emergency Care.

The programme leads to more than one qualification. You will obtain a degree from Ulster University and a professional qualification from the United Kingdom Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Students of District Nursing also obtain a further professional qualification in Nurse Prescribing.


Sign up for course updates

Sign up to register an interest in the course.

About this course

About

The term, ‘Specialist Nursing’ refers to, the exercising of higher levels of judgment and decision-making in relation to the nursing care of individuals, families and communities. As a future Leader you must display this higher level of decision-making across four areas; clinical practice, care and programme management, clinical practice development and clinical practice leadership.

At Ulster we focus on developing you as a Leader and help you achieve academic and professional competence in all these areas. This programme is a 50-50 programme, meaning that 50% of the programme is university-based and 50% based in the practice learning setting. In the Practice Learning setting you will be allocated to a Sign-Off Mentor. This Sign-Off Mentor who is an established Specialist Nurse and Leader in Clinical Care will supervise you throughout the Programme. He/she will assess you and sign off your competencies prior to recording the professional qualification with the NMC. You will also be allocated to a Pathway Leader who will supervise your academic development and provide support throughout.

The academic component of the programme consists of a four 30-credit modules.

Research Module

Leadership Module

+ Two Specialist Focus Modules, depending on your selected pathway.

District Nursing students have an additional 20 credits to complete in order to evidence outcomes related to Nurse Prescribing.

See Overall Course Structure: http://bit.ly/1WdsSir

Attendance

Full-time students are expected to attend the University for at least 2 days per week, with the remaining time allocated to Practice Learning. Full-time students are normally time-tabled for Mondays and Fridays.

Part-time studentsattend the University for 1 day per week during Term-Time. In Semester One this is normally a Monday and in Semester Two a Wednesday. Some Pathways have additional days ( i.e Emergency Care) but you will be informed of this at Induction. Practice Learning is organised on days that suit you and your Sign-off Mentor.

All studentsare expected to attend all classes associated with the programme and be punctual and regular in attendance. Attendance will be monitored both at the University and in the Practice Learning setting and Employers are informed of all absences.

Start dates

  • September 2019

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching methods on the programmes are innovative and intearctive. Clinical experts and Users of Health Services and\or Independent Sector are invited to teach students about current practice, developments in the field and personal experiences of specialist nursing services.

Seminars enable students to take responsibility for leading discussions on practice based issues and reviewing the current literature in their field. Tutorial sessions enable small group work to be carried out that facilitates a specific focus for particular specialisms. Skills classes, role plays, use of table-top scenario simulation (including computerised manikin) and video play back are used where appropriate to develop skills in a range of professional interventions.

All of the above methods encourage active student participation and empower individual students to recognise that as experienced nurses each have a wealth of experience that can be utilised to illustrate the points being made in classes.

Assessment is seen as crucial part of the learning process. A range of assessment methods including OSCEs, Reflective and Academic Essays, Case Studies and Portfolio are used. Patients and families are involved in the assessment process.

  • Read more

    Content

    The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

    Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

    • the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
    • the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
    • the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

    Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Assessment

    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

    Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

  • Read more

    The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

    Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

    Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Jordanstown campus

The largest of Ulster's campuses.


Accommodation

Jordanstown is our biggest campus in an idyllic setting surrounded by lush lawns and trees. It's just a few hundred metres from Loughshore Park and promenade, and just seven miles from Belfast city centre.

Find out more  


Sports Facilities

At our Jordanstown Campus we have world class facilities that are open all year round to our students and members of the public.

Find out more  


Student support

At Student Support we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more  


Jordanstown campus location info

  Find out more about our Jordanstown campus

Address

Ulster University
Shore Road
Newtownabbey
Co. Antrim
BT37 0QB

T: 028 7012 3456

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Clinical practice development and research for Specialist Practice

Year: 1

This module provides the critical skills necessary for the specialist nurses to use research, in order to make informed decisions about clinical practice and therefore enhance nursing and improve the quality of care. Students will gain a greater understanding and confidence in their engagement with the research process and its application to inform evidence-based practice. Assessment is by 100% coursework.

Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) Portfolio

Year: 1

All Specialist Nursing Practice Programmes at Ulster require students to complete a 75-day practice learning period where they work under the supervision of a Nursing Midwifery Council approved Sign-Off Mentor and a University Lecturer known as a Pathway Leader. This period of Practice Learning constitutes 50% of the programme at both undergraduate and post graduate level. Furthermore this practice learning period runs alongside the theoretical part of the programme, one year for full time students and two years for part-time students. Course regulations state that the academic award is wholly dependent on completion of the Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) Portfolio.

Leadership for Specialist Nursing

Year: 1

As confirmed by recent major inquiries, there is a need for more effective leadership in healthcare settings. This module aims to facilitate specialist nursing students develop knowledge and skills in leadership, enabling them gain a wider strategic understanding in order to become effective leaders within an interdisciplinary team. Learning and teaching methods include lectures, seminars and an opportunity to explore personal leadership in a practice learning setting. Assessment is by 100% examination.

Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing V100

Year: 1

This module is optional

This programme will help to prepare Specialist Practitioner students to undertake an active role in Community Nurse Prescribing within their area of practice. The legislative framework and professional and ethical principles which underpin prescribing practice are explored. Assessment is by a combination of coursework, examination and practice assessment document.

Holistic Practice in Specialist Mental Health Nursing

Year: 1

This module is optional

This 30 credit core module introduces postgraduate specialist nursing students to the principles, theory, practice, standards and application of assessment and formulation of care, safety and therapeutic interventions used in mental health practice. Students are introduced to models, key concepts and research evidence of assessment and formulation of care, safety and therapeutic interventions in mental health practice and are encouraged to engage in class lectures, workshops, discussions, simulated learning from case studies and directed/independent study. Assessment is by coursework.

Contemporary Practice Specialist Nursing (Mental Health)

Year: 1

This module is optional

This 30 credit core module prepares postgraduate specialist nursing students to explore critically key challenges in contemporary mental health practice with specific reference to meeting the needs of people with debilitating mental health problems. The emphasis is on exploring current models of care and service delivery and evidence based clinical practice in mental health settings. Assessment is by coursework.

Principles of Care in District Nursing

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides District Nursing Students with the special knowledge and skills required to deliver effective care to those people with long term conditions, acute, palliative and end of life illnesses, their families and informal carers. The module content reflects the specialist role of the District Nurse and is underpinned by research, clinical guidelines, policies and strategies in the delivery of person-centred care. The students increasing knowledge base and clinical placement experience will facilitate critical thinking through reflection. This module will relate to other modules within the programme. Assessment is by 100% coursework.

The District Nurse as Manager

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides District Nursing students with the theory and evidence underpinning the professional role of the District Nurse in the context of management and organisation of care and service improvement to effectively manage patient care and contribute to the development of the district nursing service. The module is assessed by 100% examination.

Contemporary Issues In Specialist Community Children's Nursing

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module will examine the knowledge, clinical and therapeutic skills required by children's nurses to enable them to deliver care to the child and family. It will consider those issues involved in and influencing care delivery for families whose child is affected by an illness, including various modes of assessment and delivery of care. Respecting the variety of phases of illness that may impact upon family integrity and well-being, this module facilitates critical thinking through reflection and integration of theoretical perspectives with practice experiences. Teaching and learning strategies will include formal lectures and student centred participative approaches. The module is assessed by 100% course work.

Safeguarding children for specialist community children's nurses

Year: 1

This module is optional

Safeguarding Children is a key issue for all CCN's coming into contact with children and families. This module explores their role in the recognition, assessment and referral of children in need and at risk of abuse. There is strong emphasis on collaborative working to safeguard children, ethical and legal issues and professional responsibilities in relation to record keeping and report writing.

Demonstrating impact in nursing care for people with learning disability

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module is designed to enable students to develop critical thinking abilities in order to enhance previously acquired knowledge and skills required to deliver specialist nursing care to people with learning disabilities, their families and other carers and to apply these as competent community health care nurse specialists in a range of community based settings. Assessment involves coursework, and assessment of practice in clinical placement.

Delivering new perspectives in Specialist Nursing Learning Disability Practice

Year: 1

This module is optional

This specialist module will provide students opportunities to explore a range of important professional, legal, political and ethical issues in relation to nursing care of people with learning disabilities and their families in interdisciplinary working within community and hospital settings. Students will be expected to demonstrate self awareness and proficiency in decision-making and leadership through their ability to integrate theory with practice in a changing context of care. The module is assessed by course work.

Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing V100

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module will help to prepare the Specialist Practitioner student to critically develop an active role in Community Nurse Prescribing within their area of practice. The legislative framework and professional and ethical principles which underpin prescribing practice are explored. Assessment is by a combination of coursework, examination and practice assessment document.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

Entry Requirements

Satisfy the University’s general entry requirements; and

  • Hold a degree in Nursing or equivalent
  • or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL).
  • Hold current registration with the NMC and have completed a period of experience as a registered nurse to have consolidated pre-registration outcomes.
  • Have the support of an employer for 75 days Practice Learning and the name of an appropriately qualified Sign-Off Mentor in the Practice Learning setting.
  • Have competency in written and spoken English (IELTS 7.0).
  • Applicants for the District Nursing Pathway(+ Self -funded students) are required to complete Access NI Checks.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 7.0 with no element below 7.0.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Due to the professional requirements of this programme, normally no exemptions are permitted. In saying this, District Nursing students who have recently completed the V100 Nurse Prescribing and are active prescribers are permitted to apply for exemption.

United States of America flagAdditional information for students from United States of America

Postgraduate

Typically we require applicant for taught programmes to hold the equivalent of a UK first degree (usually in a relevant subject area). Please refer to the specific entry requirements for your chosen course of study as outlined in the online prospectus. We consider students who have good grades in the following:

Qualification
Bachelor degree

English Language


Financial Information

In addition to the scholarships and bursaries open to all international students, US students may apply for Federal and Private US loans

Qualification
Level 12 English Lang in HSD

View more information for students from United States of America  

Careers & opportunities

Career options

Graduates of this programme take up posts as Specialist Nurses. Most are in Team Leadershippositions. There is 100% Employability associated with this programme.

Work placement / study abroad

All students must complete 75 days Practice Learning in an aproved setting. Students must have direct interaction with patients and families during this period. Supervision by an expert Specialist Nurse (Sign-Off Mentor) will occur during Practice Learning. A Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) Portfolio is required to evidence achievement of professional outcomes.

Professional recognition

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (child)

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (adult)

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of registration as a qualified nurse (learning disabilities).

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (mental health)

Apply

Start dates

  • September 2019

Fees and funding

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information

The tuition fees stated are for Academic Year 2020/21 for NI/ EU excluding GB*

*GB applies to a student who normally lives in England, Wales, Scotland and the Islands (Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).

Academic Year 2020/21 International and GB fees are not currently available. Further fees will be published when approved.

Correct at the time of publishing. All fees are subject to an annual increase. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.

Northern Ireland & EU: £4,395

Scholarships, awards and prizes

Philip Goodeve-Docker Award for District Nursing

Margaret Devlin Award for Diabetes Nursing

Additional mandatory costs

Access NI (enhanced disclosure) is an additional cost for Self-Funded students.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.

Contact

Course Director: Pat Deeny

T: +44 (0)28 7167 5708

M: +44 (0)75 9718 8034

E: pg.deeny@ulster.ac.uk

Admissions queries regarding self-funding applications:

Karen McCarroll

E: kl.mccarroll@ulster.ac.uk

T: +44(0)28 90368983

For more information visit

Faculty of Life and Health Sciences

School of Nursing

Disclaimer

  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.

Testimonials

I have been a registered nurse for 28 years and I wanted to develop knowledge and skills in District Nursing. The Postgrad Diploma in Specialist Practice will enable me to develop the professional attributes needed to learn and prepare for practice.

Deirdre McCrory

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

____________________________________________________________

I have been registered nurse for 7 years and I have recently undertaken a Post Grad Specialist Practice in Emergency Care. I feel that this helps me to develop my knowledge and skills within my practice setting by providing continuity of care via assessing, diagnosing, implementing and evaluating the care for my patients. I also feel that it helps me ensure that the holistic care model is used in providing care to all patients within Emergency Care.

Donal Murray,

Charge Nurse,

Belfast Health Social Care Trust.

I qualified as an RMN in 2004 and maintained links with the University through postgraduate study which, to date, has included a PG Diploma in Specialist Practice and currently, I am undertaking an MSc in Specialist Nursing Practice. My studies have certainly enhanced my professional development and have also had a positive impact on colleagues, through the continued fostering of a positive learning culture within mental health nursing practice.

Martina Doherty

Western Health and Social care Trust