School of Nursing and Human Sciences

Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing

Children's Nursing (Higher Diploma)
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The Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing will help you to qualify you as a Registered Children's Nurse (RCN) if you’re already a registered nurse or you’re involved with the provision of care to children but don’t have a children's nursing qualification. As a student, you’ll be equipped with the tools necessary to practice as a competent and professional registered children's nurse.

You’ll build on the knowledge and skills developed during your pre-registration and post-registration nurse education and through experience as a qualified practitioner. You’ll be encouraged to take responsibility for your own learning and to integrate the theory of children's nursing with practical experiences in the clinical setting.

The course aims to prepare you as nurse who is an innovative problem solver, thinks critically and creatively and has well-developed decision-making skills. With an emphasis on your personal and professional development, it also aims to foster skills for lifelong learning



This one-year, full-time course includes 12 weeks of lectures, 36 weeks of clinical experience and four weeks’ holidays. All the lectures are delivered in the School of Nursing and Human Sciences at DCU with a three-week block at the beginning of the programme followed by two-days-per-week block release over a five-week period in semester one and a 12-week period in semester two.

Students will undertake the 36-weeks clinical practice within the clinical environment in Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, attending partner services for specialist placements. The 36 weeks will be divided into two practice modules and will include four weeks holidays at a specified time.

For the course’s duration, students will be employees of Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin 1.

Upon completion of the course, students will be eligible to register with Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland) as a Registered Children’s Nurse (RCN).

View the current course structure

We have a unique and vibrant culture on our modern campus close to Dublin city centre. We provide state-of-the-art study facilities for all our courses and everything else you need for a healthy, fun and active student life.

Exceptional Facilities
DCU students enjoy exceptional teaching and learning facilities across our 3 academic campuses. These include modern learning theatres, research centres, television and sound studios, classrooms, computer suites and advanced laboratories in the areas of languages, engineering, physics, chemistry and biotechnology, as well as a sports performance centre and a virtual hospital ward.

A Vibrant, Dynamic Social Environment
Student facilities include a superb sports complex with a 25 metre pool, two libraries and The Helix, our renowned performing arts centre. In 2016 we announced plans to invest over €230m in developing new, world-class facilities across our three academic campuses. Already building has begun on an exciting, new €14m Student Centre that will be home to the more than one hundred and twenty student clubs and societies. This commitment to student facilities means that our world-class learning experiences are complemented by a vibrant, dynamic social environment.

The Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing is a challenging but hugely rewarding course. The knowledge and skills that I gained throughout the year were invaluable when caring for sick children. The mixture of fantastic lectures in DCU and the hands-on clinical experience was excellent and extremely beneficial. Doing this course in DCU has fast-tracked my qualification and has given me huge confidence in my role as a Children's Nurse.

Megan Capper, RGN, RCN, DCU Graduate

Career Areas
Healthcare Sector
Occupational Health
Private Hospital
Public Health

Qualified nurses who undertake the Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing course have greater opportunities in the vast area of public and private healthcare at home and abroad. You may also opt to continue your professional education to Master’s level. You’ll find career opportunities in:


Career Tags
Children's Nurse
Community Nurse
General Nurse


General Entry Requirements

Applicants must be:
A registered nurse or eligible to register with Bord Altranais agus Cnaimhseachais na hEireann (Nursingand MIdwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)) as a Registered General Nurse, a Registered Psychiatric Nurse, Registered Nurse Intellectual Disability;

Hold a Diploma in nursing or judged equivalent.
Students must have at least six months post-registration clinical nursing experience.
Applicants who do not have a Diploma in Nursing (or judged equivalent) will have their prior certified learning assessed through a system of APEL (Approved Prior Experiential Learning) and will be advised to complete the access modules successfully. Each individual's application will be assessed by the APEL Board for evidence of prior certified learning and deficits in prior certified learning and deficits in prior certified learning to Diploma level.

Leaving Cert

There are no additional entry requirements for this programme apart from the general entry requirements for admission to the university.

GCE A Level

There are no additional entry requirements for this programme apart from the general entry requirements for admission to the university.

FET Level 5

No Entry Path

International Applications

International candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to those outlined above. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. For further information on international applications click here.


Full time

EU Status Fee
€11,300 per annum
Non EU Fee
€11,300 per annum

Next Steps

Make an Application

Closing date of applications will be Sunday 31st January 2021.

To apply visit:  

For general enquires please contact Suzanne Cullen, Nursing Workforce Lead at CHI or