School of Nursing and Human Sciences

Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing

Children's Nursing (Higher Diploma)
CAO Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
8 - Please see for further information
Delivery Mode:
Minimum Points
1 yr
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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.

We have three academic campuses close to Dublin City centre - they are located in Glasnevin and Drumcondra, and can be reached by public transport (Dublin Bus).

Each campus has libraries, study spaces, restaurants, and on-campus residencies. Sports facilities are located on two of the academic campuses. We also have a dedicated sports campus in the form of St Claire’s. 


Exceptional facilities

DCU students have access to exceptional teaching and learning facilities across our three academic campuses. 

These include modern learning theatres, research centres, new media and TV studio, radio/podcast studios, classrooms, computer suites and advanced labs in the areas of languages, engineering, physics, chemistry and biotechnology, as well as a sports performance centre and training hospital ward. In 2021, we opened our first virtual reality ‘Leadership Lab’, which is located in our Business School.

Construction on our FutureTech building on the Glasnevin campus will get underway in 2022. Once completed, this facility will advance DCU’s international reputation for excellence in science and health, computing and engineering disciplines. It will have the capacity to accommodate an additional 3,000 STEM students on the university’s Glasnevin campus.


Campus life

DCU student facilities boast a fully equipped sports complex with a 25-metre pool, three libraries and The Helix, our renowned performing arts centre.

Our purpose built, state-of-the-art new student centre known as 'The U' serves the needs of a rapidly growing student body of 18,500. It is home to the Student Leadership and Lifeskills Centre, performing arts and cultural spaces for students and the wider community, and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub.

DCU Students' Union and the Office of Student Life are also based in the U. The centre is a space for students where they can meet, with lots of charging points and isolation booths. Clubs and socs avail of meeting rooms here and it's also home to DCUFM. NuBar, Londis and the Venue are also located here.

There are more than 140 clubs and societies for students in DCU, with ‘Clubs & Socs’ days taking place on both the Glasnevin and Drumcondra campuses at the start of the academic year.


Student Supports

We have a number of academic, professional and social supports for students.

Student Advice Centre: Offers a wide range of supports and services to students and advice 

The Writing Centre - drop-in writing workshops for students through the academic year 

Maths Learning Centre - provides maths support for students of all ability levels with maths modules 

Student Learning: facilitate the transition from passive to active learning for students at DCU, by teaching study skills, nurturing critical thinking and building student confidence. 

Careers work with students to help them on their professional journey into graduate employment.

Our student support team offers a comprehensive support programme, helping students make that all important transition into university life and focusing on building confidence and skills which are key to success at third level.


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 (Nursing and 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

The closing date for submissions of CV’s and letter of application is Monday 31st January 2022. Applications must be completed through the advertised post on by clicking ‘Apply for Job’. Applications will not be accepted through direct email or any other method.

To apply visit:

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