Catherine McAuley School of Nursing & Midwifery

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Catherine McAuley School of Nursing & Midwifery

University College Cork

In collaboration with

Cork University Hospital

Kerry General Hospital




Course Booklet

Catherine McAuley School of Nursing & Midwifery

Brookfield Health Sciences Complex

University College Cork

College Road


Tel: 021- 4901560/1555 (Administration Office)

Fax: 021-4901493


Page No

Course Philosophy 3

Curriculum Design 3

Course Aim & Objectives 4

Course Outline 5

Course Content 6

Course Dates 7

Course Structure 8

Venue & Educational Facilities 8

Core Modules

NU6005 Research Methods 10

NU6053 Ethics for Specialist Practice 13

NU6070 Practice Enhancement for Nursing 15

Specialist modules

NU6084 Clinical Examination Skills 17

NU6087 Applied Emergency Nursing 19

NU6029 Clinical Practicum in Emergency Nursing 22

Assessment Map 23

Note: While every effort has been made to ensure that the contents of this Booklet are accurate, the Booklet is issued as a guide only, and should be read in conjunction with the official publications of the University. No guarantee is given that programme details will not be amended.



The core philosophy of this programme asserts that each individual is a unique integrated biological, psychological, socio-cultural and spiritual being who interacts freely with their environment. All individuals have a right to freedom of choice, and to be treated equitably and fairly with dignity and respect (Buckley et al., 1996).

Emergency nursing in Ireland is set to face tremendous challenges and changes in this new millennium. These include many opportunities for growth and enrichment of emergency nurses themselves, and for emergency nursing as a specialty (ENA, 2000). These challenges include the provision of outstanding quality emergency care in a cost effective and evidence-based manner, and the development of new roles for emergency nurses at both clinical nurse specialist and advanced nurse practitioner levels (Commission on Nursing, 1998). To these ends, the emergency nurse of today needs to be a dynamic individual who practices from a holistic, evidence-based approach, who is up to date with modern technologies in healthcare yet at the same time is in touch with the basic human needs of the individual patient and his significant others.

The curriculum design is based on the work of Carper (1978) and Benner (1984) and is also informed by the core concepts underpinning clinical nurse specialism as outlined by the National Council (2002). Carpers’ work on the Fundamental Patterns of Knowing in Nursing is used to develop both the theoretical and clinical components of the course and in this regard is seen as the essential unifying factor between theory and practice. The four patterns of knowing give rise to the “content” of the course both in clinical and theoretical modules, and a fifth pattern of knowing, Socio-political Knowing” as developed by White in 1995 serves as the context (See Figure 1). Hence, the various modules of study are presented as components of Carper’s four patterns namely; Empirical, Esthetic, Personal and Ethical, and the teaching and learning of this content occurs in the context of the socio-political milieu that influences emergency nursing practice in Ireland today. The content of any individual module transcends most if not all patterns of knowing and the curriculum planners endeavoured to ensure that all 5 patterns of knowing were strongly represented in both the theoretical and clinical components of the course.

Benner’s (1984) work From Novice to Expert is used to represent clinical skills progression in emergency nursing practice. Nurses who enter this programme must have at least 6 months experience in emergency nursing at the commencement of the course. As a result, it is expected that each student is at least at the level of Competent at the point of entry to the course and that during the course of their year’s study, each will progress towards expert practice. Benner’s (1984) Seven Nursing Role Dimensions are also seen as influencing factors in that they provide guidance to the totality of the roles that the emergency nurse needs to be prepared for.


The overall aim of the Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing is to enable the student to become a knowledgeable and skilled practitioner in the field of Emergency Nursing. The specific objectives are:

  • To foster a holistic nursing perspective in Emergency Nursing.

  • To promote excellence in assessment and in the implementation of evidence-based practice in the Emergency Care environment.

  • To critically examine nursing research as it pertains to Emergency Nursing practice.

  • To foster personal and professional development.



Part A

Core Modules - 25 Credits:

The following core modules comprising of 25 credits will be taken with students taking other Postgraduate Diplomas in the School of Nursing & Midwifery, UCC

Code Title Credits Marks

NU6005 Research Methods 10 200

NU6053 Ethics for Specialist practice 5 100

NU6070 Practice Enhancement for Nursing 10 200

Specialist Modules – 25 Credits:

NU6084 Clinical Examination Skills 10 200

NU6087 Applied Emergency Nursing 15 300

Part B

NU6029 Clinical Practicum in Emergency Nursing 10 Pass/Fail



Core Modules:

NU6005 Research Methods

Development of nursing research – nationally and internationally; Research Process: questions, concepts, variables and dimensions. Literature Reviewing – approaches and designs; Data collection and analysis; Ethical considerations.

NU6053 Ethics for Specialist Practice

Ethical issues in Emergency, Perioperative and Critical Care Nursing. Autonomy (Truth telling, Confidentiality, consent, substitute decision making, advance directives); End of life issues (Quality of life, DNR orders); Scarce Resources (Life prolonging treatment, Organ Donation); Cultural diversity and disagreement. Professional Relationships

NU6070 Practice Enhancement for Nursing

Quality enhancement in nursing and midwifery, continuous quality improvement, political, organisational and professional domains, health and social gain, methods, models, standard setting, performance monitoring, patient/client satisfaction with health services, consumerism, service user demand, waiting times, quality and equity of provision, clinical quality, audit, fitness to practice: evidence. Linking theory and practice. Learning experiences planned on individual interests, with emphases on gaining in-depth skills and knowledge of the clinical role in nursing or midwifery, the process of developing excellence and scholarship in nursing and midwifery practice, description, analysis and synthesis of the practice domain of nursing or midwifery, the process of enhancing the contribution of nursing to the delivery of care, action, strategies to improve nursing or midwifery practice, practice innovation.

Specialist Modules

NU6084 Clinical Examination Skills

Principles of clinical examination and clinical reasoning; interpretation of findings. Systematic history taking; assessment of the gastro-intestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, and musculo-skeletal systems relevant to practitioners' specialist area. Underlying anatomy and physiology.

NU6087 Applied Emergency Nursing

Contemporary emergency nursing practice: Epidemiology of trauma and mechanisms of injury. Nursing care of the patient who has suffered trauma (for example: head injuries; ocular trauma; maxillo-facial trauma; neck injuries; orthopaedic injuries; thermal injuries; chest trauma; abdominal trauma; soft tissue trauma; minor injury care). Mental health emergencies. Environmental emergencies. Nursing care of patients with medical and surgical emergencies, Paediatric emergencies, obstetric emergencies, those who have experienced sexual violence or abuse. Considerations in the care of the older adult in the emergency department.

NU6029 Clinical Practicum in Emergency Nursing

Practice of fundamental skills in specialist nursing. Participation in the clinical environment with the supervision and guidance of the course coordinator, lecturers, clinical facilitator, preceptors and registered nurses in the specialist area. Clinical placement hours will be approximately 1365 hours.
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