University of Chester

Programme Specification
Learning Disability (2nd Registration) BN (Hons) (Single Honours)
2014 - 2015

Bachelor of Nursing (Single Honours)

Learning Disability (2nd Registration)

Learning Disability (2nd Registration)

University of Chester

University of Chester

As determined by the Faculty of Health and Social Care, including Wirral, Chester (Riverside), Leighton, Warrington and the Isle of Man campuses

Professional/ Specialist/ Community/ Advanced Practice (Nursing & Midwifery)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Biannual - March - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Standards for pre-registration nursing education (NMC, 2010)

Quality Assurance Agency (2008) The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Gloucester: QAA. (Subject benchmark standards for healthcare programmes: Nursing)

National Qualifications Framework


Skills for Health Framework (2010)

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Pre-Registration Nursing Programmes Module Assessment Board

Tuesday 1st November 2011

The programme aims to provide professional nurse education which takes account of all the relevant professional and academic benchmarks, producing nurses who must act first and foremost to care for and safeguard the public in a second field of nursing.  They must practice autonomously and be responsible and accountable for safe compassionate person-centred, evidence-based nursing that respects and maintains dignity and human rights (NMC 2010). In the spirit of the new standards, this programme promotes shared learning, with and between fields.  The programme is predominantly generic, with field specific application of both theory and practice.  The programme aims to enable students to:         

  • Undertake a dynamic and quality educational experience by providing a learning environment that promotes flexibility and creativity.
  • Become a proficient, confident, safe and accountable nurse underpinned by professional values and a rigorous evidence base. 
  • Develop and promote the skills of critical, analytical and reflective thinking.
  • Engage with the ethos of life long learning advancing their sense of personal responsibility and commitment to their ongoing education and development.
  • Become a competent professional practitioner who is fit for practice through promotion of practice-centred learning and the integration of evidence based theory and practice.
  • Provide high quality care, with an understanding of the way in which people's lifestyles, environments and the location of care delivery, influence their health and wellbeing.
  • Deliver complex care to service users in their field of practice, working in partnership with a variety of agencies and health care professionals.
  • Appreciate the distinctiveness of adult, children and young people, learning disability and mental health nursing and maternity care.  
  • Be able to understand and respond appropriately to constantly changing service delivery requirements.
  • Act with professionalism and integrity, and work within ethical and legal frameworks.
  • Develop leadership skills, including the ability to exercise initiative and decision-making in complex, enduring and unpredictable contexts.
  • Develop key transferable skills in the context of local, national, international and global health care delivery.
  • Engage in the world of work by acquiring the necessary skills valued highly by employers, and/or to establish enterprise and entrepreneurial accumen.
  • Develop an autonomous practitioner who is able to supervise and manage others in the delivery of care.

 By the end of the programme (Level 6/Honours H Level), the students are able to:

  • Critically review, consolidate and extend a systematic and coherent body of knowledge.
  • Critically evaluate new concepts and evidence from a range of sources.
  • Transfer and apply diagnostic and creative skills and exercise significant judgement in a range of situations.

Knowledge and Understanding

The ability to:

  • Critically discuss key concepts, principles, theories and policies in health and social care.
  • Critically review the uniqueness of their own role and the diversity of other inter-disciplinary roles, and how they can be utilised to empower individuals, groups and communities.
  • Demonstrate an evidence-based approach to the ongoing development of their role and the dissemination of information.
  • Critically analyse professional, legal and ethical issues.

Thinking or Cognitive Skills

The ability to:
  • Demonstrate independence of thought, and the ability to think logically and critically.
  • Recognise, evaluate and respond to policy initiatives at individual, local and national levels.
  • Access, analyse and process evidence-based information applicable to practice.
  • Utilise analytical skills when evaluating professional work from both professional and service user perspectives.
  • Demonstrate a reflective approach to continuing professional development.
  • Appraise own learning needs as a reflexive practitioner.
  • Demonstrate innovative and creative thinking strategies.

Practical Skills

The ability to:
  • Achieve a range of appropriate practice skills relevant to their role.
  • Apply safely a range of relevant assessment, intervention and evaluation strategies in their role.
  • Communicate effectively with individuals, groups and communities.
  • Demonstrate evidence-based practice.
  • Demonstrate collaborative, interdisciplinary working practices and partnerships.
  • Demonstrate effective profiling skills.
  • Demonstrate field related skills.

Key Skills

Students accessing the Bachelor of Nursing (Hons) programme will develop into autonomous learners and will acquire key skills required for successful completion of the programme and registration as a UK registered nurse. These key skills will be developed further throughout the programme with the aim to create clearly evident transferability and application to a variety of health care enviroments.
  • Communication: Effective communication skills will be inherent in all the modules.
  • Application of number: Students accessing the programme will be working at a level that requires them to be numerate and literate as indicated by the NMc (NMC, 2010). Examples in clinical practice are clinical measurements, audit and statistical analysis and work load activities. These skills will be built upon throughout the programme, particularly in the research and evidence-based modules and halth care management related subjects.
  • Information technology: The students’ IT skills should be such as to enable them to access the University intranet, bibliographical databases and the internet for academic and clinical studies, use the library effectively, and perform literature searches and reviews. Their existing skills will be enhanced in the library induction and information skill session at the beginning of the programme, which will be specific to the University resources. The facilities of the wider University will also be open to the student. Study skills sessions are held at the beginning of each academic year and the services of the Learning Support Tutor will be available at other times. The students' IT skills will normally be evidenced in the production of word-processed assignments.
  • Improving own learning and performance: The entire programme is designed to facilitate the student in their development on both a personal and professional level. This will be evidenced and assessed through written and practice-based work.
  • Working with others: The student’s ability to work with others will be demonstrated in both the classroom and clinical areas, and evidenced in the learning and achievement portfolio.
  • Problem solving: This area will be developed in all modules and will be demonstrated through the reflective analysis of practice.
The programme ensures that students are facilitated in their development of key skills in all fields of nursing.
Transferable Professional Skills
The programme fosters many transferable skills. These may be considered under Key Skills above, but also from the range of professional practice which the practitioner on the programme experiences.

This degree programme (level 6) incorporates the requirements of the NMC's Standards for pre-registration nursing education (NMC, 2010) and the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (QAA, 2008). This three year pre-registration nursing programme meets the 4,600 hours (of which at least 2,300 are practice learning hours) stipulated by the NMC (2010) and there is an equal 50:50 ratio of theory and practice hours. The student must complete the programme within 5 years full time or 7 years part time (NMC 2010), (please note the part time route is pending NMC approval). The programme has been designed to take account of the essential physical and mental health of all people; including babies, children and young people, pregnant and post natal women, adults and older people. The students are required to register at the first level on the nurses' part of the register in either the adult, child, learning disability or mental health nursing field. The programme has a common framework with specific field application for all of the fields. The programme has been designed to offer one programme with four field pathways. This programme is innovative as there are no distinct theory field modules; instead, each module is constructed with a balance of both generic (core) and field application content. The percentage of generic or field application varies across each year. The aim is to have an increased percentage of field application in the skills and nursing modules, so that by the 3rd year some modules will have mostly field application. The programme has been designed in this way so that all students undertaking this programme have an understanding of all the nursing fields of practice. The practice modules in each year are a mixture of hub and spoke learning with both generic and field specific opportunities. Hub placements are the main placement opportunities with shorter spoke learning opportunities. Each field meets all of the standards for competence that are generic and field specific for their own field of practice. The yearlong practice modules will total 20 weeks, with two learning episodes of 10 weeks. The first 10 weeks will be a formative assessment opportunity and the second 10 week a summative assessment opportunity. There is a formal theory opportunity for inter-professional (IPL) learning through an online programme of study. This is a mandatory part of the course and integrated into the course modules, but is not credit bearing. This is shared with all nursing fields, and with midwifery, dietetics and social work students. In addition there is opportunity for IPL through the hub and spoke placement learning opportunities which will have mapped learning pathways. The programme comprises three distinct and equal parts with two specific progression points, which occur at the end of year 1 and the end of year 2. All students must complete the academic requirements for each year to be able to progress to the subsequent year. The programme has been granted derogation from the University regulations, and so students will have two attempts only at each practice assessment record.  All students must pass every component and module, with a minimum mark of 40%. The programme is linked to a Higher Education accreditation system, with existing mechanisms for the award of credit for appropriate learning and prior experiential learning. Modules are designed to enable students to take more responsibility for their own learning as the course progresses. This is reflected in the reduced student contact hours and increased student led activities as the course progresses. In addition, the modules have an increasing academic demand that has a normal sequencing, progressing from level 4 to 5 to 6 to form a coherent programme of learning. There are 15 modules within the programme. Each year has a mixture of single and double credit rated modules. Single theoretical modules are rated at 20 credits with 200 hours of associated teaching and learning. Double modules are within practice only and are rated at 40 credits with 400 hours of associated teaching and learning. The modular structure facilitates the application of theory to practice. Modules are designed and delivered in accordance with the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) using their stated level descriptors as a reference point. Year 1, level 4 modules consist of three 20 credit theory, one 20 credit skills module and one 40 credit practice module that are delivered over the academic year. The emphasis in year 1 is the instillation of professional values and attitudes, and the development of fundamental nursing skills that ensure safety, safeguarding and protection of service users of all ages, their carers and their families. There is an exit point of 120 level 4 credits with an award of Certificate in Higher Education in Health Care Studies upon successful completion (without nurse registration). Year 2, level 5, consists of three 20 credit theory, one 20 credit skills module and one 40 credit practice module that are delivered over the academic year. The emphasis in year 2 is ‘going deeper’; it builds on year 1 and enables the student to develop confidence and the ability to work more independently. There is an exit point of 240 credits (120 at level 4 and 120 at level 5) with an award of Diploma in Higher Education in Health Care Studies upon successful completion (without nurse registration). Year 3, level 6, consists of three 20 credit theory, one 20 credit skills module and one double 40 credit practice module that are delivered over the academic year. This year is designed to enable the student to work independently, preparing them to be leaders and fit for practice to enter the professional register. At the beginning of year 3, students may take advantage of the opportunity to experience practice learning throughout the UK and abroad. On successful completion of all components of the course, the exit award is Bachelor of Nursing (Hons) in a field of adult, children’s, learning disability or mental health nursing.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM4200 4 Practice Learning 1 40 Comp
NM4203 4 Understanding Health of Individuals Across the Lifespan 20 Comp
NM4204 4 The Determinants of Health and Wellbeing 20 Comp
NM5200 5 Practice Learning 2 40 Comp
NM5201 5 Enhancing Skills for Practice 20 Comp
NM5202 5 Research, Teaching and Leadership for Professional Practice 20 Comp
NM5204 5 Enhancing Health and Wellbeing Across Populations 20 Comp
NM5207 5 Field Specific Nursing Practice (Learning Disability) 20 Comp
NM6400 6 Practice Learning 3 40 Comp
NM6401 6 Skills for Registration 20 Comp
NM6402 6 Preparing for Future Practice 20 Comp
NM6404 6 Critical Perspectives in Health and Social Care 20 Comp
NM6407 6 Managing Complexities in Care Delivery (Learning Disability) 20 Comp

Year 1 comprises of 5 modules: 1 x 40 creditmodule and 4 x 20 credit modules accumulating in 120 level 4 credits; total 120 credits.Upon successful completion of 120level 4 credits, the exitaward of Certificate in Higher Education in Health Care Studies (without nurse registration).
Year 2 comprises of 5 modules: 1 x 40 creditmodule and 4 x 20 credit modules accumulating in 120 level5 credits; total 240 credits. Upon successful completion of 120 level 4 credits, plus 120 level 5 credits (total credits = 240), the exit award of Diplomain Higher Education in Health Care Studies (without nurse registration).
Year 3 comprises of 5 modules: 1 x 40 creditmodule and 4 x 20 credit modules accumulating in 120 level 6 credits; total 360 credits. Accumlation of120 level 4 credits, plus 120 level 5 credits, plus 120 level 6 credits(a total of 360 credits). Upon successful completionthe studentwill achieve an exit award of degree in Bachelor of Nursing (Hons) with nurseregistration in the field of adult, mental health, childrens or learning disabilities with NMC.

The admission criteria for student entry to the Second Registration Programme will be:

  • Registered as a level 1 nurse on sub-part 1 of the NMC Register (registration must be live).
  • Registered on sub-part 1 of the NMC Register in a field of practice other than the one chosen for the programme
  • Selection interview.
  • Evidence of appropriate knowledge and understanding of the chosen field.
  • Evidence of appropriate continuing professional development within the last three years.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requires that where candidates are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as evidence of literacy are accepted. The scores must be at least 7.0 in the listening and reading sections and at least 7.0 in the writing and speaking sections, and where the overall average scores is at least 7.0.

Nursing is both mentally and physically demanding and the good character and health of all successful applicants will be assessed to establish fitness to undertake nurse education. A Criminal Records Bureau Enhanced Disclosure is carried out on all successful candidates. The Occupational Health department examines and assesses the health of all candidates to ensure that they are physically fit to commence nurse education. In addition, each candidate must be declared 'fit' in accordance with the Clothier report recommendations. This is normally done via a letter from the candidates' GP.

Employed applicants must obtain prior agreement from their managers to the increased practice experience requirements needed to engage in and achieve NMC practice learning outcomes.

The following benchmarks have been mapped into modules to ensure that national and professional regulatory quality frameworks have been met.        

  • Standards for Pre-registration Nursing Education (NMC 2010) ( that incorporates the European Directive 2005/36/EC.        
  • Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (QAA, 2008) (

These benchmark standards represent the general expectations of standards for the award of qualifications at a given academic level, and articulate the attributes and capabilities that should be demonstrated by a registered nurse with the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The level of the module outcomes demonstrate an appropriate levels of taxonomy for the level of study, as do the contact and study hours. The national initiative with regard to Key Skills is taken into account.

Coherence and quality monitoring was managed by members of the University of Chester planning group through the composition of the planning team that ensured that there were members of staff from academic and clinical practice backgrounds with experience in external consultancy and external examining.

The planning team included;

  1. Independent service user group were also involved in the development of the programme. This addressed the needs of the client, carers and their families.
  2. Students were part of the validation team which ensured the programme was relevant to student’s needs and expectations.
  3. Practice partners, employers and stakeholders who ensured that the workforce needs were addressed.

The internal quality monitoring and validation process of the University of Chester also ensures that experts from other Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) were fully involved in the scrutiny and validation process, further assuring the comparability of the programme with other HEIs. All of this scrutiny was invaluable in quality assuring the programme against national benchmarks and expectations

The teaching and learning strategy is used for learning and teaching within the programme through the use of real scenarios from the healthcare settings, which facilitates integration of theory and practice, promotion of decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Students will be placed at the centre of the learning experience and are expected to assume responsibility for their own educational development through reflection and management of their learning Skills Inventory. The Skills Inventory is mapped to the Essential Skills Clusters (ESC). Methods of learning and teaching will emphasise student-centred techniques. This will facilitate the student to become an increasingly autonomous learner, able to identify their own learning needs and goals within the parameters of the programme aims and outcomes. This will require the student to actively identify and negotiate specific personal learning outcomes within the parameters of the module learning outcomes. The student will also be expected to complete a professional portfolio. The portfolio will contain all of the PAR documents, assessed work, reflections and evidence of achievement of the learning outcomes. The portfolio contains some assessed work but it is not assessed as a complete document. The student is required to submit the professional portfolio during the course to ensure all elements are included for the student to progress.

This programme is innovative as it will take every opportunity to share learning, where appropriate, so that all fields of nursing can learn with, and about all aspects of nursing. This will reduce the possibility of students focussing on their own field to the exclusion of the other fields. The aim is to enable a competent practitioner who will feel confident in caring for clients across a range of ages and a spectrum of physical and mental health issues. We are also cognisant not to lose a clear sense of field identity so the programme also applies the generic content to bespoke field application sessions led by the field specialists’.

Students will experience a variety of teaching and learning methods designed to facilitate the achievement of all learning outcomes at level 4, 5 and 6 within a student-centred approach, and to foster personal and professional development. Each module will utilise a mix of teaching methods, which take account of the subject matter, the student group size, the students’ previous experience and the resources available. Methods of learning and teaching will include formal lectures, scenario-based learning sessions,  tutorials, seminars, action learning sets, presentations and debates, reflection, and case discussions, practice-based workshops, directed study, private study sessions, and e-learning packages.

Practice learning will be facilitated through clinical learning opportunities both in practice settings and through simulation.  Simulation will be provided as a study day in the first 10 week placement of every academic year. This accounts for 40 hours per year. So each student will have as minimum of 100 hours of simulated practice. Simulation will provide opportunities for practice and ESC skills acquisitions appropriate to the students learning needs which will include some of the following; communications workshops; role plays around escalating concerns; and health assessment scenarios. The simulation hours will form part of practice hours and will be monitored using an attendance record reviewed and collated by the Placement Office.

The practice-based modules are assessed using a PAR document which is not graded. The student experience will be enhanced by the use of reflection which is assessed and is also part of the professional portfolio. The PAR document and reflections form part of the professional is portfolio. 

Inter-professional learning is addressed within the programme both in theory and practice. IPL in theory is through the e-learning and in practice through formalised learning pathways. Visiting lecturers and expert professionals and scenario-based learning are drawn from a range of professional areas will be utilised to enhance the students learning (SBL). SBL is part of the teaching and learning strategy within the Bachelor of Nursing (Hons) programme. 


The programme aims to integrate theory and practice through teaching methods and assessment strategies. The assessment strategies expose students to a variety of methods designed to integrate theory with practice such as; assignments; skills assessments; individual case studies, unseen written examination; oral examinations; portfolio development; e learning, critique; and practice assessment. This tests knowledge and understanding of practice. Students will be asked to demonstrate critical thinking and cognitive ability by drawing on practice experience to explore clinical themes and contemporary issues. 

There is a skills assessment in in every year. To ensure the student develops skills and confidence in sheltered environment assessment will be practiced and simulated in the skills laboratory, with the final assessment conducted within practice. The assessment reflects the focus of the year, the progression criteria and the essential skills clusters (NMC 2010). Service users' views are incorporated into the assessment process. The main vehicle for assessing practice learning and achievement is the Practice Assessment Record (PAR) that has been developed in collaboration across all the local HEI's. The documents have a common framework but there is a specific document for each field that takes account of the generic and field components of nursing and each field. The PAR is supported by the assessment of skills through the skills module's, supportive evidence including the Skills Inventory and written reflections on practice experiences.  All aspects of the assessment strategy will be used to evaluate transferable/key skills and, where relevant, mapped against national benchmarks.


The programme offers students the opportunity to achieve the characteristics of a graduate, and it is assessment criteria based upon QAA and University of Chester documents which define these characteristics at level 6 (see below).

Demonstrate reasoning with regard to complex issues, which shows an ability to explore and develop alternative solutions.

Acquisition of knowledge that is at the forefront of at least some aspects of the subject, and which is informed substantially by current research or other advanced scholarship. Apply the methods, techniques and modes of practice that they have learned and review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding.

Conceptual understanding that enables the student to describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research, or equivalent advanced scholarship, in the subject. This provides an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge.

Theory/practice link
Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge and applicable techniques enabling them to take initiatives and accept significant responsibility within organisations.

Demonstrate critical analysis and be able to deal with complex issues.

Consider abstract data, concepts and/or raw materials and frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions to a problem.

Evaluating evidence and argument
The ability to deploy accurately, established techniques of analysis and enquiry.

Reaching sound judgements
The ability to critically evaluate the current research, methodology and scholarship.

The ability to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions, in a variety of formats, appropriate to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

The graduate will have developed skills associated with professional practice within their chosen professional role. Knowledge and skills learnt through the core modules will be enhanced throughout the programme and underpins the application of theory to practice. They will be able to demonstrate appropriate levels of decision making, and to monitor and improve standards of service delivery.

On completion, these graduates will be equipped to deliver the highest quality evidence-based practice appropriate to their work-based setting.


  This programme fully embraces the University's commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. The University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students. The ultimate objectives of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society, and that all students can participate in programme activities to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for, and has been developed and will be delivered with this in mind.Students on this programme will receive support and guidance from academic staff of the Faculty, clinical staff in practice and the support mechanisms of the wider University:

  1. Academic support and assessment guidance from the module leader.
  2. Support throughout from the pathway leader.
  3. Support from a personal tutor throughout the programme
  4. Support and guidance from a nominated person within the supporting organisation.
  5. Student Support and Guidance, available to all University of Chester students.
  6. The Programme Page. Available on SharePoint
  7. The programme handbook, available on SharePoint (the University intranet).
  8. Module handbooks that give more specific details of each module than are contained in the module descriptor e.g. specific breakdown of content including timetabled sessions, and an updated illustrative reading list to ensure that recommended reading remains relevant and current.
  9. Module descriptors, timetables and associated learning materials, e.g. learning packs, accessible via SharePoint.
  10. Induction programme.
  11. Guidance on APL/AP(E)L is available through the AP(E)L team.

The Skills Inventory is mapped against the Essential Skills Clusters Annexe 3, Guidance G7.1.5b (  as part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (2010) Standards for pre-registration nursing education [Online at]

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