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Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Community Mental Health) Level 9
Course Code: INT08

Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing Studies (Community Mental Health) Level 9

Entry Requirements:



  • Be a Registered Psychiatric Nurse on the Psychiatric Division of the active register maintained by NMBI.
  • Be currently practising as a psychiatric nurse.
  • Have at least 18 months post-registration experience in psychiatric nursing (exclusive of post-registration courses).
  • Hold a primary degree in nursing. If applicants do not have a primary degree in nursing, they will be invited to complete an access course (1 day attendance in college - Tuesday, 19th May 2020). Upon successful completion of this access course, students can then be enrolled onto the Post Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Community Mental Health) Level 9.


International students will require a degree of fluency in the English language. A score of 6.5 in the IELTS exam ( for information on IELTS tests) is required. This equates to a score of 570 in TOEFL.


For those who meet the entry requirements, initial selection will be made on the basis of a completed application form.


Part Time

Fees (euro):
  • €8,000 (Programme)
  • €800 (Standalone Module)
Special Entry:

Access Date- Tuesday, 19th May 2020

Next Intake:

September 2020

Closing Date: 2020-04-24

Programme Overview

Course structure and content

There are 5 core modules and then students can choose one optional module from a list of 4 below.

The five core modules are:

  • Recovery Orientated Mental Health Care
  • Therapeutic Communication
  • Advanced Research Methods
  • Primary and Community Mental Health Care
  • Professional Practice (Clinical)

The student can also choose one module from the following four modules:

  • Introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy*
  • Assessing and Managing Individuals following Deliberate Self-harm*
  • Early Intervention for people developing First Episode Psychosis*
  • Eating Disorders in Adolescents and Adults*

See Modules tab for full details

These four optional modules are also available to Registered General Nurses, Registered Intellectual Disability Nurses and other members of the multidisciplinary Community Mental Health teams, e.g. Occupational Therapists, Social Workers. They can complete these modules on a standalone basis or choose to do some of these modules as part of another postgraduate diploma, (Health Sciences) over a five year period here at St. Angela's College.


Induction Day for this programme is Thursday, 3rd September 2020 (compulsory).

PROVISIONAL Dates for attendance 2020/2021 are:

 1.  8th September   2020  Recovery Orientated Mental Health Care
 2.  22nd   September   2020  Recovery Orientated Mental Health Care
 3.  6th October   2020  Recovery Orientated Mental Health Care
 4.  20th October   2020  Therapeutic Communication
 5.  3rd November   2020  Therapeutic Communication
 6.  17th November   2020  Therapeutic Communication
 7.  12th January   2021  Option 1: Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
 7.  13th January   2021  Option 2: Early Intervention for People Developing First Episode Psychosis 
 7.  14th January   2021  Option 3:  Eating Disorders in Adolescents and Adults
 7.  15th January   2021  Option 4: Assessing and Managing Individuals following Deliberate Self-harm
 8.  19th January   2021  Advanced Research Skills
 9.  22nd January   2021  Option 1: Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
 9.  26th January   2021  Option 2: Early Intervention for People Developing First Episode Psychosis 
9  28th January   2021 Option 3: Eating Disorders in Adolescents and Adults
 9.  29th January   2021  Option 4:  Assessing and Managing Individuals following Deliberate Self-harm
10.  2nd February   2021  Option 1: Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
10.  9th February   2021  Option 2: Early Intervention for people  developing First Episode Psychosis 
10.  16th February   2021  Option 3:  Eating Disorders in  Adolescents  and Adults
10.  17th February   2021  Option 4: Assessing and Managing  Individuals following Deliberate Self-harm
11.  23rd February   2021  Advanced Research Skills
12.  23rd March   2021  Advanced Research Skills
13.  30th March   2021  Primary and Community Mental Health Care
14.  13th April 2021  Primary and Community Mental Health Care
15.  27th April 2021  Primary and Community Mental Health Care


There are a variety of assessment strategies used in this programme.  These include the following:

  • Assignments
  • Examination
  • E-tivities
  • Discussion Forums


Module Title Marks Coursework Exams ECTS
Recovery Orientated Mental Health Care 100 100%   10
Therapeutic Communication in Mental Health Care 100 20% 80% 10
Advanced Research Skills 100 100%   10
Primary and Community Mental Health Care 100 20% 80% 10
Professional Practice 100 100%   10
Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy 100 100%   10
Assessing and Managing Individuals following Deliberate Self-harm 100 100%   10
Early Intervention for people  developing First Episode Psychosis  100 100%   10
Eating Disorders in Adolescents  and Adults 100 100%   10
Total 600     60



Recovery Orientated Mental Health Care
In the past 35 years since the publication of 'Planning for the Future, (1984)' and the follow-up policy statements made in Shaping a Healthier Future, (1994), and Vision for Change (2006), considerable progress has been made towards an integrated model of community care in mental health. The mental health workforce, in progressing this transition further, now need to continue to make this conceptual shift from a symptom and illness based paradigm to one that is person centred and recovery focused and inclusive of primary care. A Vision for Change (2006) put forward that services need to develop that places service users at the centre and facilitates active partnerships of inclusion and involvement. According to Higgins and McDaid (2014) and Davidson et al. (2016), while acknowledging the importance of medication in the care of many people with mental illness, the ability of services to support people in other ways have to be developed and used to its full potential. This module examines some of these complementary ways that are underpinned by a recovery philosophy in order to ensure a quality service for people with mental illness.

Therapeutic Communication
The aim of this module is to enhance knowledge and understanding of the essentials of therapeutic communication. The module will further enhance therapeutic skills and help the student to develop the therapeutic relationship which serves to underpin the basis of all psychological therapies. Critical exploration of attitudes, feelings and behaviour will take place. This module will help students to identify, explore and manage issues that may arise in the therapeutic alliance e.g. therapeutic ruptures.

Advanced Research Skills
This module focuses on developing further students understanding of the theoretical foundations of research, research methodologies and methods of data collection. The module has two major goals. Firstly, to provide students with the required knowledge and skills to interpret and implement research findings in their practice and secondly, to prepare students to undertake a piece of research. Students will be given an opportunity to recap on methodological approaches to quantitative and qualitative research. A key skill in promoting students independence is preparing students to complete their own research project under the supervision of a supervisor. Therefore, this module has a specific focus on providing students with the knowledge and skills of "doing" research.

Primary and Community Mental Health Care
This module will critically consider the concepts and definitions of community and primary mental health care. The many facets that have preceded and influenced the professional development of community mental health nursing are analysed, including recent legislation, health strategies and policies. Key concepts of the community mental health nursing role are examined as well as the fundamental dimensions of primary mental health care, collaborative working within this team as well as the role of voluntary agencies. This module also acknowledges the importance of the rights of service users in the care that they receive.

Professional Practice
This module aims to expose the student to contemporary mental health care in the community for a minimum of 300 hours. As well as exposure to as many aspects as possible of community mental health care, the student will take on a caseload which offers him/her the diversity of conditions and challenges to facilitate completion of the clinical competency document as well as the associated clinical portfolio. The student will have a preceptor will help to facilitate the placement as well as assess the student's competence towards the end of the placement. This module will build upon the practitioner's previous nursing experience and expertise. The focus of this module is on the development of the professional role of the student as a community mental health nurse (CMHN)

Essentials of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy*
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is integral to the design and delivery of recovery orientated evidence based mental health services for people with mental health problems (HSE, 2014). CBT is one of a broad range of psychotherapies and is an effective treatment option for many mental health problems. The aim of this module is outline and critically discuss the essence of the cognitive-behaviour therapy approach in supporting people with a wide range of mental health difficulties. Also, consideration is given to the relevance of this approach in the overall delivery of contemporary mental health care.

Assessing and Managing clients presenting following self-harm*
The aim of this module is to enhance knowledge and understanding of deliberate self-harm (DSH) and relevance of all other types of suicidal behaviour and thoughts. It is well recognised that it is difficult for people who engage in DSH, but it is also vital to note that those who engage in DSH are considered at higher risk of eventual completed suicide. Therefore, this module considers how best to support these individuals and their family members, from the perspectives of clinical care, guideline developments, protocol and policy developments.

Early Intervention for People developing first episode psychosis*
The aim of this module is to enhance knowledge and understanding of the relevance of early intervention in the area of psychosis. It is imperative that the 1000 people who develops a condition that features psychosis in Ireland each year receive standardised, effective treatment without delay. The logic of early intervention is best exemplified by consideration of the consequences of a long duration of untreated psychosis. A holistic, multi-disciplinary approach is most appropriate with absolute inclusion of the individual with the psychosis as well as his/her family. The resources required to achieve this are substantial but will be recouped through the better outcomes affected people will attain and decreased service use in the years following the period of initial treatment.

Eating Disorders in Adults and Adolescents*
The aim of this module is to enhance knowledge and understanding of the various eating disorders encountered by young adolescents and adults. Consideration is given to how best to support individuals through a comprehensive assessment and an early intervention to ensure that a seamless model of care is delivered.

Career Opportunities

Upon successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Community Mental Health) (60 ECTS), students may opt to progress further on to the Master of Health Sciences programme at St. Angela\'s College. Entry to the Master of Health Sciences programme is subject to the student achieving 60% on the aggregate of the Postgraduate Diploma modules. Students who are eligible for the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Community Mental Health) may progress to undertake the Master of Health Sciences within five years of first entering the programme.

Downloads & Other Information

Application Form
Download Application Form for a Standalone Module on this Programme: Download Document

Postgraduate / Adult and Continuing Education Prospectus

Contact Details

Tom O Grady
T:   071 91 35624.
M: 087-121-0602

To receive an Application Form please contact the Postgraduate Administrator below.
Kelly Baker
Department of Nursing, Health Sciences, and Disability Studies
St Angela's College
Lough Gill, Sligo
T: 071 9135612 E:
Alternatively, you may download an Application Form from the Downloads & Other Info tab.

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