The Post Graduate Diploma Specialist Nursing (with pathways) prepares Nurses for Leadership roles in Specialist Nursing.
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.
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About this course
In this section
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.
+ 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
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.
- September 2017
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
Clinical practice development and research for Specialist Practice
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.
Holistic Practice in Specialist Mental Health Nursing
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) Portfolio
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 dependant on completion of the Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) Portfolio.
Leadership for Specialist Nursing
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
This module is available to students who are studying Specialist Nursing (District Nursing Pathway) and\or Community Public Health Nursing to facilitate development of an active role in nurse prescribing. The legislative framework and professional and ethical principles, which underpin prescribing practice, are explored. Teaching methods include, lectures, seminars, workshops and practice learning. Assessment is by written assignment, practice learning portfolio and an examination.
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.
In this section
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.
Teaching and learning 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.
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.
Careers & opportunities
In this section
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.
Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (child)
Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (adult)
Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of registration as a qualified nurse (learning disabilities).
Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (mental health)
The Post Graduate Diploma Specialist Nursing (with Pathways) is a recognised academic and professional qualification across Europe. The quality of the education is high as is the academic expectation on you as a student. You will receive the latest ideas on academic writing, research and critical analysis. The quality of learning resources at Ulster University are very high and the support of students is also good.
All of the Specialist Nursing Teaching Team at the University are established authors and researchers and provide consultancy to numerous organisations in the UK and Ireland. At the end of the programme you have automatic entry to our MSc Nursing. A further 60 credits (Research Dissertation) will get you an MSc Nursing.
Places on this programme are normally commissioned by the Department of Health (DoH) in Northern Ireland. Students wishing to apply for a DoH Commissioned place should contact the Practice Education Teamin their Health and Social Care Trust. The HSCT will manage your application.
Those who are not eligible for DoH Commissioned places, must apply via the University Web Page. This is known as the self-funded route and will involve an interview with the Course Director and\or the Pathway Leader. Entry via the self-funded route is also subject to availability of a Sign-Off Mentor and 75 Days Practice Learning.How to apply
- September 2017
Fees and funding
In this section
Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
View Ulster University’s 2017 fees policy
- Northern Ireland & EU:
Scholarships, awards and prizes
Philip Goodeve-Docker Award for District Nursing
Margaret Devlin Award for Diabetes Nursing
Additional mandatory costs
Access NI 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.
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.
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.
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.
Western Health and Social care Trust