Explore UCD

UCD Home >

Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing

Key Information

Major Code: X895 Sept

Duration: 12 months

Next Intake: Sept 2024

Closing Date: 7th February 2024


The Higher Diploma in Nursing (Children’s Nursing) programme is delivered in partnership with the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems, and Children’s Health Ireland. This post-registration children’s nursing programme is a one-year fixed programme, awarding an academic accreditation at the Level 8 National Qualification Authority Ireland framework.

This programme will build upon your existing nursing knowledge, skills, attitudes, and professional values, enhancing your ability to care for infants, children and young people, and their families, within a variety of paediatric healthcare settings.

How will I benefit? 

On successful completion of the programme, you will receive a level 8Higher Diploma in Nursing (Children’s Nursing)from UCD’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems. The programme is recognised nationally and internationally and is a highly regarded qualification. With it, you will be well-positioned for employment opportunities in a variety of paediatric healthcare settings both nationally and internationally. Academically there are opportunities to pursue to Masters/PhD level.

Programme Strengths

  • Strong working and collaborative relationship between UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems and Children’s Health Ireland (CHI).
  • Students on this programme will undertake clinical placements in any of the CHI Group Hospitals which include CHI at Crumlin, CHI at Temple St., CHI at Tallaght, CHI at Connolly and once it is opened, the new Children's Hospital. 
  • Lectures are both clinical and university-based, delivered by a wide range of children’s nursing specialists with national and international expertise from clinical, research and educational perspectives.
  • A variety of innovative teaching methods, including lectures, workshops, and simulations, are used to consolidate the theoretical learning into clinical practice. Assessment methods are diverse and student oriented.
  • 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


Children's Health Ireland has closed applications for 2024 for the Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing Programme. For more details please visit (opens in a new window)here.

This programme is for Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) registered nurses in the divisions of General Nurse (RGN), Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) & Intellectual Disability Nurse (RNID) with a minimum of 6 months relevant nursing experience within the last 2 years.

This post-registration children’s nursing programme will provide 12 weeks theoretical instruction and 36 weeks clinical instruction comprising of placements in children’s medical/surgical wards, children’s emergency department and high-dependency care within Children’s Health Ireland (CHI). Specialist placements such as operating theatre, maternity care, intellectual disability and community care will be provided to applicants who would not have completed these placements as part of their primary undergraduate nursing degree.

The Higher Diploma in Nursing (Children’s Nursing) Programme delivers a curriculum aligned with NMBI Standards and Requirements for Post-Registration programmes (2018) and UCD Academic Regulation (2020) underpinned by several specific philosophical assumptions concerning child and family centred care, children and their families, professional children’s nursing practice and knowledge and scholarship.

This programme aims to provide registered nursing practitioners with advanced nursing knowledge, skills, attitudes, and professional values, through deep understanding and collaborative practice with infants, children and young people, and their families, following a child and family-centred care approach.

On successful completion of all theory and clinical modules, you will be awarded a Level 8 Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing and can then proceed to register as a children's nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI). In the year following registration with NMBI, you may then work as a paediatric nurse in Ireland. 

This one-year programme is run over 3 semester, commencing in September of each year. During semester 1, students will attend college in a 7-week block (Mon-Fri) of full-time study. This is followed by two clinical placements in Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), at Crumlin. During semester 2, students will undertake a 4-week block (Mon-Fri)of full-time study. Students will then complete the remainder of their clinical placements in addition to a number of specialist clinical placements for the remainder of the programme.

Assessments are varied (assignments/short examination questions/MCQ/case presentation/practical examination/online discussion boards) and occur at intervals throughout and at the end of the semester 1 and 2.


You will complete seven theoretical modules and six clinical placement modules.

Core Modules:

Semester 1

  • NMHS33300 Principles and Practices in Children’s Nursing
  • NMHS33310 Nursing Children in the Acute setting (HDip)
  • NMHS33250 Nursing Children with Enduring Healthcare Needs
  • NMHS33260 Nursing Children with Diverse Needs
  • NMHS33330 Practice Placement 1A

Semester 2

  • NMHS20810 Growth and Development in Childhood
  • NMHS33320 Evidence Based Care of Children Across Range Settings (HDip)
  • NMHS33490 Community Care and Services for Children (HDip)      
  • NMHS33340 Practice Placement 1B

Semester 3                                  

  • NMHS33350 Practice Placement 2
  • NMHS33360 Practice Placement 3
  • NMHS33370 Practice Placement 4A
  • NMHS33380 Practice Placement 4B

Post-registered nursing students are paid employees of Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) and receive a salary plus increments. Fees are paid by the HSE for students undertaking this programme. Fees will be organised by the hospital when enrolment is complete. It is important to note, however, that the HSE will request repayment of fees, in the event that a student withdraws from the programme.

All applicants must:

  • Registered with NMBI as RGN/RPN/RNID
  • 6 months relevant nursing experience within the last 2 years (inclusive of internship)
  • Students who have English as a second language must satisfy the English language requirements of the university to be eligible to apply

Please Note: If your preference is to be a student of UCD (partnered with CHI at Crumlin) there is an essential requirement that you must have undertaken a Level 8 Research Module (either stand alone or as part of a level 8 programme)

Please Note: If English is not your native language, unless you have completed your primary degree through English in an English-speaking country, an English language qualification is required for all programmes. Please refer to here for more details.

Desirable Criteria:

·       Experience working with or caring for children and families

·       Awareness of professional and paediatric issues

·       Management of clinical risk and quality issues

·       Experience of research-based practice and audit

Documents Required

  • Copy of current Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland P.I.N.
  • Copy of Birth Certificate or Personal Page of Passport.

Children's Health Ireland has closed applications for the Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing Programme for 2024. For more information you can review the advert (opens in a new window)here.

Applicants will be required to undertake an interview (either face-to-face or via telecommunication) as part of the admission process.

Applications will not be accepted through direct email or any other method.

Following acceptance of an offer of a place on the programme by Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) with CHI at Crumlin, successful candidates should contact the programme administrator Julie Machado ((opens in a new window)julie.machadodasilva@ucd.ie) in UCD to continue their application process.

Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) applications must be submitted online through your SISWeb account.

There are two instances in which you can apply to have recognised prior learning taken into account when applying for a programme in UCD.

1. RPL for admission to a UCD programme

If you are a prospective student seeking admission to UCD and you do not meet the required admissions criteria as set down for a particular programme of study in UCD, you may apply to be admitted based on prior learning. Please click (opens in a new window)here for a link to the policy and guidance on admission based on experiential learning.

2. RPL for exemption from a module or modules on a UCD programme

If you have been accepted onto a UCD programme and wish to have credit transferred towards the requirements of the UCD programme of study, you may apply for RPL from a module or modules.

When applying for RPL, please note the following:

  • You must submit your application for RPL as early as possible and preferably before you commence the relevant module/stage/programme.
  • An application for RPL relating to a particular module should be submitted before the third week of the trimester in which it is offered. Applications made after this date will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances.
  • Your application will be reviewed by the Taught Graduate Standing Committee and Programme Board. You can expect to hear of the outcome or status of your application typically within four to six weeks of submitting it (depending on committee schedules).
  • Please note that in some cases your application may not be successful or you may not receive RPL for the amount of credit for which you applied, therefore you must register for, attend and participate in the module or modules until you have been informed of the decision of the School Programme Board.
  • If your application is not successful, you are responsible for all assessments associated with the module.

TO APPLY FOR RPL PLEASE CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK:  (opens in a new window)https://sisweb.ucd.ie/usis/W_HU_MENU.P_PUBLISH?p_tag=APPLY

Please read the UCD Policy on Recognition of Prior Learning at this link: UCD Policy on Recognition of Prior Learning

SNMHS logo

Ask a Question

If you are considering applying to the programme please contact the UCD Programme Administrator Julie Machado or Children's Health Ireland directly.

Contact the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems

Health Sciences Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4
T: +353 1 716 6488 | Location Map(opens in a new window)