Course Overview

This programme's development is in response to a need for nurses and midwives to prescribe, in order to support high quality person-centred care. This follows from two key reports which mooted the extension of prescriptive authority for nurses and midwives; i.e. The Commission on Nursing in 1998, followed by the Review of the Scope and Practice for Nursing and Midwifery Final report in 2000. This recommendation was comprehensively evaluated in a 3½ year joint project by An Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann and the National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery in 2005. The review concluded that prescriptive authority should be extended to nurses and midwives. A further implementation project in 2008 put in place the regulatory, professional and support requirements which enabled nurses and midwives to take on this role. Prescriptive authority was extended to nurses and midwives by the Minister for Health and Children in 2007.

Nurses and midwives prescribe within the confines of robust legislation and professional regulation and their scope of practice.  Improving client care is core to this extended role.

The programme is delivered over a six-month period. Students will attend college for an induction day and three-days of workshop for each module (10 days in total). In addition, students will be mentored in their practice setting for the duration of the programme which will include 12 days of direct supervision of the prescriptive process by a designated medical practitioner.

The programme is comprised of  three theory/practice modules a clinical competency assessment in prescribing.    

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Who Teaches this Course

Programme Director: Catherine Meagher

  • Yvonne Conway 
  • Dr Maura Dowling
  • Frances Farrelly 
  • Dr Fionnuala Jordan 
  • Bernard McCarthy
  • Professor Peter Cantillon (General Practice)
  • Dr Ingrid Cunningham (Law)
  • Dr John Kelly (Pharmacology and Therapeutics)
  • Dr Heike Schmidt-Felzman (Philosophy)

Requirements and Assessment

Modules are assessed using a combination of coursework and examinations.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

All applicants must meet the following entry requirements:

1. Be registered as a nurse or midwife on the register of An Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann;

2. Be currently employed as a nurse or midwife;

3. Have a minimum of three years’ recent post registration clinical experience in nursing or midwifery (within the last five years), with the equivalent of one-year full-time experience in the specific area of practice in which prescribing is proposed;

4. Possess the competencies recognised at level 8 of the National Framework of Qualifications;

5. Have evidence of undertaken continuing professional education;

6. Have support from an employer to undertake the programme as evidenced by a completed Site Declaration Form;

7. Confirmation of a designated nurse/midwife/medical mentor as evidenced by a completed Site Declaration Form.

Note: The form must be competed on behalf of the Health Service Provider by the Director of Nursing/Midwifery/Public Health Nursing or relevant nurse or midwife manager (and the form should be returned to PACas part of the online application process; more information on this aspect will be given when you make your online application). Further guidance on these requirements have been made available by the Office of the Nursing Services Director (2009); visit their website here.

Additional Requirements


6 months, full-time

Next start date

Two intakes: September 2018 & January 2019

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

6 (minimum) Please note that the programme offered is subject to sufficient student numbers.

Closing Date

 Please view the offer rounds website.

NFQ level

Mode of study

Blended learning

ECTS weighting




Course code


Course Outline


  • Physical Assessment Skills
  • Professional, Ethical & Legal Issues of Nurse and Midwife Prescribing Drugs
  • Drugs, Patients and Illness.
  • Clinical Competency—Prescribing  

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
A module you may choose to study.
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (30 Credits)

Required NU631.II: Physical Assessment Skills

Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module aims to provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills to obtain a comprehensive health history and complete a physical assessment on a patient in the clinical setting. This module will include clinical laboratory experience whereby students will have an opportunity to build on their existing knowledge and develop skills pertinent to physical assessment. Case presentation, the ability to prioritise patient’s problems, and plan intervention(s) will be a focus of this module.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate the ability to review a patient’s health history
  2. Demonstrate clinical competence in physical assessment skills
  3. Critically analyse patient data and prioritise patient problems
  4. Explicate nursing interventions that meet the individual patient’s needs
  5. Integrate appropriate consultation skills with the patient and the multidisciplinary team for effective case management.
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module NU631.II: "Physical Assessment Skills" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required NU011.II: Drugs, Patients and Illness

Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Welcome to this module entitled “Drugs, Patients and Illnesses”. As the title suggests, this module will focus on the pharmacological treatment of patients. It will take you from the basic principles of how drugs work and how the body deals with drugs, through to the application of these principles to commonly encountered drugs used in a range of clinical applications. Moreover, the challenges of patient variability in drug response, polypharmacy and risk and cost benefit assessments will be explored. The module provides opportunities for you to be able to apply knowledge to your own clinical setting.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Possess a firm understanding of the fundamental concepts of Pharmacology.
  2. Use the autonomic nervous system to illustrate the mechanisms of drug action.
  3. Identify the composite features of the “pharmacology” of a drug, and apply these in their work setting.
  4. Describe the pharmacological approach to a range of diseases and conditions.
  5. Be aware of the issues surrounding the pharmacological treatment of individual patients and their illness.
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module NU011.II: "Drugs, Patients and Illness" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required NU010.II: Professional, Ethical & Legal Issues of Nurse and Midwife Prescribing)

Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module aims to provide nurses and midwives with the knowledge and skills to be competent, safe and effective prescribers within their own area of competence. This module addresses professional, ethical and legal issues associated with prescribing and provides the foundation for the other modules in this programme.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Understand and comply with the regulatory framework associated with medicinal product prescribing.
  2. Use evidence based knowledge to support their prescribing practice.
  3. Apply ethical principles and concepts in their prescribing practice.
  4. Analyse and form judgements on how to respond to ethical issues that may arise in practice.
  5. Undertake effective consultation with clients including appropriate history taking and assessment to inform diagnosis and prescribing practice.
  6. Demonstrate a client centred approach in their practice, emphasising personal choice and responsibility in line with best practice.
  7. Analyse and respond effectively to the factors that influence clients’ decision-making in respect to treatment regimes.
  8. Establish a support network, for example pharmacists, consultants or others, to support their prescribing practice.
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module NU010.II: "Professional, Ethical & Legal Issues of Nurse and Midwife Prescribing)" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required NU012.II: Competency Assessment

Semester 2 | Credits: 0

‘Practice’ is considered central to learning on this programme because it is only in practice that the ‘real’ curriculum will be experienced and operationalised. All modules will emphasise the application of what is learnt in class in practice and students will be challenged to critically examine the relevance and applicability of the content explored in class in their practice. Students are required to work for the duration of the programme in the specific area of practice in which prescribing is proposed. This allows students to ‘test’ out their learning in the reality of their practice. Students will be supported and mentored by a designated nurse/midwife/medical practitioner for the duration of the programme. During the timespan of the programme (26 weeks) the designated nurse/midwife/medical practitioner (the student’s mentor) will provide 12-days of formal direct supervision. It is anticipated that students will spend the majority of their placement in their own work setting. However, discretionary placement experience may be selected on the basis of identified learning needs of the student and the competence to be achieved.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Clinical learning outcomes will be individualised to the student and developed in consultation with the student, the mentor and programme director. Clinical learning outcomes will focus on enabling students to achieve competency and will focus on the principles of good prescribing and the prescribing pyramid (An Bord Altranais, 2003; National Prescribing Centre 1999).
  2. To be deemed competent, and thus eligible for entry on the Register, students must reach the level specified in each of the five Domains of Competence identified by An Bord Altranais (2007). The five domains of competencies are: Professional/Ethical Nursing Practice Holistic Nursing Care Interpersonal Relationships Organisation and Co-Ordination of Nursing Care Personal and Professional Development.
  3. Professional/Ethical Nursing Practice
  4. Holistic Nursing Care
  5. Interpersonal Relationships
  6. Organisation and Co-Ordination of Nursing Care
  7. Personal and Professional Development
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module NU012.II: "Competency Assessment" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

This programme will equip students with the competencies and skills needed to take on the extended role of prescribing medicines.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€3,000 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€2,776 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

Find out More

Catherine Meagher
Lecturer | Programme Director
School of Nursing and Midwifery
T +353 91 492 829