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Postgradaute Nursing Studies

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  • Objectives
    This course focuses on higher academic study into the management, leadership and organisational issues identified as the key pillars of current nursing management practice, and will be particularly relevant for nurses working within, or hoping to work within, a management role, including modern matrons. The academic aims are: • To provide a course of study which offers intellectual challenge, both academic and professional, by promoting skills of critical analysis, evaluation and problem-solving • To promote and enhance skills of critical reflection, criticism and synthesis to inform best practice • To prepare students to provide coherent leadership in exploring, evaluating and establishing excellence in nursing
  • Entry requirements
    Applicants for the course will need to hold current first level Professional Nurse Registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) Register, and be working in clinical practice. In addition, applicants should normally hold a first degree 2.2 or higher. For applicants who do not hold a first degree, successful completion of an undergraduate diploma in a related subject, a minimum of 5 years’ professional experience and evidence of recent study will be considered on an individual basis.
  • Academic Title
    MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate Nursing Studies
  • Course description

    The philosophy of this course recognises the dynamic nature of nursing practice and the need for nurse education to be responsive to health and social policy. Indeed, the fostering of an intellectually challenging environment, from which skills of critical evaluation and synthesis are developed, is viewed as fundamental to postgraduate nurse education.

    As nursing moves towards an all-graduate status, the continuing need to ensure effective preparation of nurses working at a higher level of practice, albeit in clinical practice, management, education or leadership is evident. Whilst opportunities to enhance/advance clinical nursing skills are afforded during the course, equally advanced knowledge and understanding acquired through critical appraisal and debate facilitates a broader awareness of the policy and practice of nursing leadership.

    The specific focus on nursing values the roles of experienced nurses irrespective of specialism and explores the context of nursing studies at a local, national and international level.

    Course Structure and Content

    This three-year modular programme consists of 120 credits of taught modules and 60 credits dissertation to give a total of 180 level credits for the award. Successful completion is required within a maximum of 5 years and it is recommended that at least one module is taken per academic year. The taught modules will consist of 5 core modules and 1 or 2 elective modules. Students undertaking this Masters programme would be expected to successfully complete all taught modules and the dissertation.

    Students completing only the 120 credits of taught modules may be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma. Students completing only 60 credits of taught modules (Research Methods, Health and Social Policy, plus 0 credits of option modules) may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate. Due to the modular design, students from other postgraduate courses may access modules as elective or stand alone modules, thus enhancing inter-professional and multi-professional education opportunities.

    Significantly, the modular design is also sympathetic to the needs of students who may wish to ‘step off/step on’ to the programme, thus
    affording accreditation of prior achievement.

    Course Modules

    Core Modules (total 90 credits)

    • Research Methods (15 credits) – This module will cover philosophical and epistemological issues, relating these to the different research methods associated with positivist (quantitative) and qualitative research approaches. Multi-method research will also be explored. Sampling and sample size considerations, as well as concepts of reliability and validity, will be addressed in the context of appropriate research designs related to different research methods. Quantitative methods of data analysis will be covered, including the identification and use of various statistical analyses. Qualitative data analysis will include, for example, content analysis and category formation.

    • Health and Social Policy (15 credits) – This module provides an opportunity to critically evaluate contextual and professional
    influences in health and social policy on current healthcare delivery and provides a political foundation for other modules. It will examine and evaluate the influence of health and social policy upon healthcare planning and delivery. A considered understanding of such political influences aims to locate professional practice within the broader political context and facilitates evidence-based healthcare.

    • Evidence-Based Practice (15 credits) – This module extends critical application of research activities at postgraduate level into healthcare practice. This module continues the opportunities to embrace inter-professional learning across multiple disciplines, and develops the students’ understanding of the role of evidence-based practice. The module enables the student to select and implement strategies for gathering and evaluating evidence, and encourages the student to analyse the practical and political ramifications of evidence-based healthcare in the contemporary healthcare arena.

    • Contemporary Issues in Nursing Practice (15 credits) – As a compulsory module for Masters in Nursing Studies, this module
    intends to provide an opportunity to critically debate contemporary issues in nursing practice from a national and international
    perspective. It will examine and debate national and international agendas for health, whilst evaluating the impact upon contemporary
    nursing practice. A considered understanding of global health and social influences is promoted to explore professional practice within a broader political context in facilitating evidence-based nursing.

    • Clinical Management (30 credits) – To provide students with the opportunity to pursue a core module in exploring broad spectrum of NHS managerial strategies both at national and local levels. To critically evaluate local and national healthcare strategies in the delivery and management of safe and ethical care for the patient.

    Option Modules (must select 30 credits)

    • Health assessment in clinical practice (30 credits)
    • Physiological responses to critical injury and illness (30 credits)
    • Developing work process knowledge for workplace learning (15 credits)
    • Diversity in healthcare (15 credits)

    Dissertation (60 credits)

    The MSc includes the opportunity to undertake a research dissertation on a topic associated with the course which will be agreed with the
    student’s personal tutor. Pre-dissertation tutorials will be provided to prepare students for undertaking research and the student’s personal tutor will undertake the role of research supervisor during the course of the dissertation.


    Assessment will be based on a variety of methods, principally written assignments. Students must obtain a minimum of 50% in each module to pass.


    Students will normally be funded by their employer. Where this is not possible students may need to seek alternative funding opportunities including self-funding.

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