Specialist Nursing Practice with Integrated Independent and Supplementary Prescribing (V300) - PgDip

2025/26 Full-time Postgraduate course

Award:

Postgraduate Diploma

Faculty:

Faculty of Life and Health Sciences

School:

School of Nursing and Paramedic Science

Campus:

Belfast campus

Start date:

September 2025

Overview

This course will deliver innovative academic excellence in research, leadership and person-centred assessment in specialist practice nursing care.

Summary

The PG Dip Specialist Nursing Practice with Integrated Independent and Supplementary Prescribing (V300) is aligned to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Standards for prescribing programmes standards (NMC 2023b) and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Competency Framework for all Prescribers (2021). The course will have two strands:-
Community Specialist Practice Qualification (strand 1)
• Specialist Nurse (non-community) (strand 2)
.

This programme aims to provide students with the knowledge, critical understanding,
skills, values and resilience to manage clinical complexity and risk, be autonomous
practitioners and work across organisational boundaries. The programme embodies a
person-centred approach to meet and lead the care needs of individuals, families and
communities with a range of needs and from varying backgrounds and ethnicities. The
integration of Independent and Supplementary prescribing into these community
nursing specialist practice/ specialist nursing courses is forward thinking as it enables
this group of healthcare professionals not only to prescribe, but also assess and use
a wide variety of higher-level skills and reflects the effectiveness of this role in the
context of a growing demand for specialist nurses and independent and
supplementary prescribers in response to changes in workforce and people who use
service representative demographics.

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course

About

Students can choose between two strands; Community and Non-Community.
Within those strands, students have the following pathway options:
Strand 1 Community pathways:
• Community Children’s
• Community Learning Disabilities
• Community Mental Health
• District Nursing
• General Practice
Strand 2 Non-community pathways:
• Adult
• Diabetes
• Emergency Care
• Mental Health
• Palliative Care
• Stroke
All students will take the following modules:-

  • Practice Learning for specialist nurses
  • Person-centred prescribing
  • The assessment and planning of person-centred care
  • Critical appraisal and application of research evidence to improve (community) health
  • Providing and evaluating evidence based (community) nursing specialist practice
  • (Community) specialist nursing leadership and management

These modules run alongside seminars specific to the student's chosen strand/pathway. The full-time course is one year in duration.

Practice learning
All students are required to undertake, in their intended field of practice, a minimum of 90 days clinical practice, related to achieving their clinical competencies for RPS and achieve their NMC specialist proficiencies. Throughout the practice learning component of this
programme, student’s supervision and assessment will be facilitated by a Practice Supervisor, Practice Assessor and Academic Assessor who will be suitably prepared
and supported to undertake this role (NMC, 2023). This support will allow students to learn
and safely achieve the proficiencies and competencies for each part of the programme.
Students will have the opportunity to learn from a variety of people in practice settings including people who use services, registered and non-registered individuals as well as other students as appropriate. Students have protected time for learning during all practice experiences to maximise learning opportunities, as confirmed through the
educational audit for practice learning. The specialist practice nursing student will undertake their practice learning in individual days and in blocks.

Assessment

Each module will have 2 items of assessment. The pass mark for all modules is 50%, except when there is an NMC stipulated pass mark. All modules must be passed to successfully complete the programme and be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma in Community Nursing Specialist Practice with integrated Independent and Supplementary Prescribing. Practice Assessment Document (PAD) must be passed at the summative assessment point. The PAD is awarded a Pass or Fail.

Attendance

All studentsare expected to adhere to the timetable provided at Induction. Students will 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 2025

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Methods of teaching and learning approaches will include: -

  • Formal lectures (in person, synchronous or asynchronous)
  • Seminars (in person)
  • Practical classes
  • Case studies/Problem-based learning
  • Group working
  • Blackboard Learn Ultra

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 are designed not only to extend the lecture topics but also equip students with the skills to seek out relevant research material and to present and defend the material within a given timeframe.

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 nurses each student brings 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, Written examinations, Reflective and Academic Essays, Case Studies and PAD assessments are used.

Attendance and Independent Study

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:

  • 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, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses 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. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. 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 assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    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, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. 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. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) 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 and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - 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.

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 from the academic year 2022-2023.

Belfast campus

Accommodation

High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.

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Student Wellbeing

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

Find out more - information about student wellbeing (Opens in a new window)  

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

Providing and Evaluating Evidence-Based Community Nursing Strand 1

Year: 1

This module embraces the principles of community nursing specialist practice being able to implement and evaluate a range of evidence-based interventions, to inform prescribing decisions that impact positively on a person's health and well-being. The aim is to enable students to plan and deliver community nursing specialist practice through critically interpreting and applying evidence-based person-centred approaches to their nursing care decisions including prescribing. Students will be required to review a variety of different forms of evidence to develop continually improving, high quality, compassionate cultures.

The module will endorse shared decision making, working in partnership with people, peers and interdisciplinary teams to manage and support the transition of care between services. Students will learn the importance of co-producing care in line with the person's preferences, potential for self-management and risk mitigation by evaluating planned interventions and care outcomes taking cognisance of changes over time.

Community Specialist Nursing Leadership and Management Strand 1

Year: 1

This module is focused on leadership and management in community specialist nursing practice advancing the student's knowledge and skills to excel in leadership roles within their intended field of practice. Leadership in specialist community nursing demands the use of professional judgement to drive excellence, innovation and person-centred models of service. Collaboration and effective communication skills emphasised within this module are essential to lead and manage a team, make decisions, and influence service models in an interdisciplinary, interagency landscape.

Person-Centred Prescribing Strand 1 and 2

Year: 1

This module equips the community specialist nurse with the requisite knowledge of underpinning pharmacology and clinical application of the evidence base enabling autonomous and competent prescribing decisions within their intended field of practice. The scaffolded learning throughout the programme will equip students to systematically interpret and apply the evidence base to make autonomous clinical decisions for safe and therapeutic person-centred prescribing.

The Assessment and Planning of Person Centred Care Strand 1 and 2

Year: 1

In this Level 7 module the student will be able to develop in depth theoretical skills and evidence -based knowledge in health assessment which is fundamental to specialist nursing practice. Students will be challenged to expand their skills as critical and competent specialist practitioners. The successful student will become a capable, evidence- based practitioner in the area of health assessment, clinical reasoning, and care planning.

Critical Appraisal and Application of Research Evidence to Improve Community Health Strand 1

Year: 1

In this Level 7 module the student will be able to develop in depth theoretical and evidence-based knowledge in public health which is fundamental to the practices of community specialist nursing practice. Students will be challenged to deepen their skills as critical, skilled and collaborative specialist practitioners. The successful student will be become a competent, evidence-based practitioner, applying research methodologies to lead and improve service provision across a range of community specialist fields. They will become a more effective and collaborative professional, realising their personal and professional potential. Leading through example the successful student will be increasingly capable of providing high quality leadership within diverse community settings in a demonstrably safe and effective manner alone and as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Practice learning for Specialist Nurses Strand 1 and 2

Year: 1

This module aims to prepare students to graduate with a post registration specialist nursing qualification and a non-medical prescribing qualification. Through completion on this module and associated academic modules, the student will become a specialist nurse who will play a vital role in providing, leading and coordinating care that is compassionate, evidence-based, and person-centred.

Critical Appraisal and Application of Research Evidence to Improve Health Strand 2

Year: 1

In this Level 7 module the student will be able to develop in depth theoretical and evidence based knowledge in public health which is fundamental to the practices of specialist nursing practice. Students will be challenged to deepen their skills as critical, skilled and collaborative specialist practitioners. The successful student will be become a competent, evidence based practitioner, applying research methodologies to lead and improve service provision across a range of intended fields of practice. They will become a more effective and collaborative professional, realising their personal and professional potential. Leading through example the successful student will be increasingly capable of providing high quality leadership within a range of settings in a demonstrably safe and effective manner alone and as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Providing and Evaluating Evidence-based Specialist Nursing Practice Strand 2

Year: 1

This module embraces the principles of specialist nursing practice to implement and evaluate evidence-based interventions informing prescribing decisions that impact positively on a person's health and well-being. The module endorses shared decision making and partnership working to manage and support the transition of care between services.

Students will learn the importance of co-producing care in line with the person's preferences, potential for self-management and risk mitigation taking cognisance of changes over time.

Specialist Nursing Leadership and Management Strand 2

Year: 1

This module is focused on leadership and management in specialist nursing practice advancing the student's knowledge and skills to excel in leadership roles within their intended field of practice. Leadership in specialist nursing demands the use of professional judgement to drive excellence, innovation and person-centred models of service.
Collaboration and effective communication skills emphasised within this module are essential to lead and manage a team, make decisions, and influence service models in an interdisciplinary, interagency landscape.

Standard 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

APPLICANTS TO POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA IN SPECIALIST NURSING PRACTICE WITH INTEGRATED INDEPENDENT AND SUPPLEMENTARY PRESCRIBING (V300) MUST PROVIDE EVIDENCE OF THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

  • Registered nurse (level 1) on the live NMC Register
  • BSc Hons/ BSc degree or successful completion of academic study at level 6
  • Registered with the NMC for a minimum of one year prior to application for entry on to the programme
  • In the application form the applicant must confirm that they are;
    • of Good Health and Character
    • not undergoing any live formal professional, criminal or internal investigation, disciplinary hearings or serving a live disciplinary warning or formal underperformance procedure (as at date of application)
  • Have a current Access NI Enhanced Disclosure Certificate with a date of issue within the previous 2 years prior to commencing this course (as it must extend to the end of the course covering a 3-year period in total). You will not be permitted to commence your course at the University unless this is received. To apply for an Access NI Enhanced Disclosure log in to www.nidirect.gov.uk/accessni-applications with the details provided by your HSC Trust.
  • Applicants to this programme are required to provide TWO references

Your employer must confirm they will allow attenance and completion of all elements of the programme, the necessary period of supervised prescribing following qualification as a prescriber and continuing professional development.

If you do not have a degree or other evidence of
completion of level 6 study you can complete a
level 6 module or portfolio to evidence achievement
of level 6 study before applying to the course.

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

In line with the NMC (2022) requirement to ‘consider recognition of prior learning that is
capable of being mapped to the RPS Competency Framework for all Prescribers for
applicants’ (1.7; NMC 2022, Part 3) Students who have previously completed the NMC
approved independent / supplementary prescribing programme (V300), may gain
exemption from the module Person-Centred Prescribing following the completion and
submission of a portfolio. It is important to note that the exemption will only be granted
once the student’s evidence for meeting all proficiencies and competencies in the
module has been accepted as meeting the required standard. There is no automatic
exemption for having previously completed the Independent and Supplementary
prescribing course. The applicant’s portfolio should demonstrate and evidence their
learning and experience to date, mapped against all the Learning outcomes for the
Person-Centred Prescribing module. Exemption will not be given against the 90 days
Practice Learning Experience.

Careers & opportunities

Career options

Specialist nurse students from Ulster University are all predominantly already in employment within the NHS and Social Services, independent GP practices, and other employment such as the voluntary sector (hospice) and prisons. The approach to employability in this programme is explicit insofar as the entitlement to use the qualification is directlylinked to career progression.

The qualification enables students to develop their practice in a stimulating and fulfilling manner, working in an expanded way to provide a more holistic care experience to benefit both the service and the person. It allows the nurse to advance within an existing role or be eligible to apply for new roles that would not otherwise be possible. In recent years students have used the specialist nurse and NMP qualification as a platform to progress their academic studies to BSc or MSc award. Entitlement to practice as a specialist with the V300 qualification makes the student an attractive prospect for any health service provider and employer.

Work placement / study abroad

All students must complete 90 days Practice Learning in an aproved setting. Dedicated blocks of practice learning will be incorporated into each Academic Year. Students must have direct interaction with patients and families during this period. Supervision and Assessment by Practice Assessors will occur during Practice Learning. A Practice Assessment Document (PAD) is required to evidence achievement of professional outcomes, specialist practice and prescribing competencies.

Professional recognition

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Recorded by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of registration for Independent and Supplementary Nurse Prescribing (V300)

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (Community Mental Health) with Integrated Independent and Supplementary Prescribing (V300)

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (Community Learning Disability) with Integrated Independent and Supplementary Prescribing (V300)

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (Community Children’s Nursing) with Integrated Independent and Supplementary Prescribing (V300)

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (General Practice Nursing) with Integrated Independent and Supplementary Prescribing (V3000)

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (District Nursing) with Integrated Independent and Supplementary Prescribing (V300)

Apply

Start dates

  • September 2025

Fees and funding

2025/26 Fees

Postgraduate fees are subject to annual review, 2025/26 fees will be announced in due course.

See our tuition fees page for the current fees for 2024/25 entry.

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.

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

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

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.

Contact

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.


For more information visit

Disclaimer

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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

Testimonials will be provided at the end of AY 24/25 once the first year of the programme has been completed